'Happy, carefree' memories of Samson and Hercules flood in
- Credit: Archant library
Fond memories of dancing the night away when Norwich's Samson and Hercules House was a ballroom and club have come in.
Readers were asked to send in their recollections of the building, which has just reopened as the Mortgage Advice Bureau.
New information from the Hidden History Tours of Tombland has emerged that shows the 1657 building is on the foundations of one built by Sir John Falstoff (whose name William Shakespeare borrowed for his tragi-comic figure, Falstaff.)
It later became an opulent ballroom with chandeliers and housed a swimming pool in its basement.
Heather Mabey recalls her time at the Samson and Hercules when it was a ballroom. "I was a teenager just as war ended, not sure if the Americans were still around.
"I lived with my family in Mount Pleasant, and thought nothing of walking to Samson and Hercules and home again, alone, 'after the dance'.
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"In the ballroom, I remember standing like wallflowers hoping to be asked to dance by an attractive young man. A year or so later I joined an Old Time dance group waltzing quite happily around the ballroom floor, mostly dancing with other girls.
"They were happy, carefree days, with no fear of walking home."
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Julia Preston's memories date to 1958. "My memory of the Samson and Hercules is of having my ballet class there and appearing on the stage as Little Miss Muffet (one of about 20!). I was about three."
Ian Read's parents met there, like many couples. He said: "My parents first met there in 1970/1 when it was a nightclub. I believe it was simply called The Samson and Hercules - but that’s from my parent’s recollection.
"My dad had just come back from working in Australia and my mum was illustrating Quality Street boxes at Rowntree Mackintosh at the time. She would mention that they met there most times we passed the building."