Book will lift lid on Norwich’s pub past

Norwich was once famed for having a pub for every day of the year and while many of those watering holes may long since gone, one group is trying to bring the city's brewing heritage back to life in a new book.

The Norwich Heritage Project Group is looking to revive Norwich's rich pub past by publishing a book which delves into the history of brewing in the city. The voluntary, non-profit-making group is made up of a small group of enthusiasts who combine local historical resource and expertise with modern technology to take a fresh look at the rich and varied heritage of Norwich.

Each year they attempt to complete a major new project on part of Norwich's heritage –culminating in a new book, DVD and a website – and are currently working on the 2011 title Norwich Pubs and Breweries.

Frances Holmes and her husband Michael, who live in Cringleford, are two members of the group which has already completed similar projects on Norwich Yards and Norwich Market.

Mrs Holmes said: 'What we're doing is looking to promote the city of Norwich. We've done a series of projects and this time we've moved on to pubs and breweries to show how important they have been and still are in Norwich's heritage. We're looking at the history of pubs and breweries and bringing it up to date as to what they do now and how they have evolved.'

Mrs Holmes said they will be bringing the past to life by interviewing people who worked and still work in the licensing trade – whether in terms of the breweries or pubs themselves.

The book will cover a number of different aspects of Norwich's pub past, including coaching inns, pub art and signs, links with Norwich City FC, the significance of pub names and some of the famous people they represent and old entertainment in pubs. Mrs Holmes said the book, which is being produced in conjunction with the Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) will also look at the importance of Norfolk barley in terms of the brewing process as well as the pub and its role at the 'heart' of the community.

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The group have urged anyone with any memories or pictures of pubs in Norwich, particularly from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, to get in touch with them.

The book, which is due to be completed next October in time for next year's Norwich Beer Festival, fits in with the Evening News's Love Your Local Campaign which urges people to support their local pub.

Mike Loveday, chief executive of Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART), which produced a book on city churches this year, said he thought it was a fantastic idea.

He said: 'We've been thinking for ages that the fabulous pub heritage of Norwich is not as well reported as it should be so what the Norwich Heritage Project Group is doing is excellent. We did the churches book this year and Norwich is famous for its pubs and churches so its great that there's a pubs book coming out too.'

Anyone with pictures or memories of Norwich's pub past should email

To find out more about the Evening News's Love Your Local Campaign log onto and click on campaigns.

Have you got a story for the campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email