'Happy, carefree' memories of Samson and Hercules flood in

Events - Dance HallsSamson and Hercules Tea Dance.Dated 24 December 1981Photograph C

Happy memories: A tea dance at the Samson and Hercules. - 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.

Oliver Dack of the Mortgage Advice Bureau who have moved into the old Samson and Hercules building o

The Mortgage Advice Bureau which has moved into the old Samson and Hercules building on Tombland. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Samson and Hercules Norwich

Oliver Dack, Mortgage Advice Bureau, which now owns the building. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Readers were asked to send in their recollections of the building, which has just reopened as the Mortgage Advice Bureau.

The building in Tombland dates to the 17th century, built for mayor Christopher Jay and comes with an illustrious history.

IMAGES OF NORWICH BOOKChapter That"s Entertainment, Page 117.THE SAMSON AND HERCULES.DATE

The Samson and Hercules building in the 1930s. - Credit: Archant library

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.)

Old Samson & Hercules, Norwich, advert. Dated: 1935.

A poster advertising the swimming pool at the Samson and Hercules building in 1935. - Credit: Leslie Sayer courtesy of Ian Say

An elaborately carved 16th century fireplace together with oak panelling from Flixton Hall are being

An elaborately carved 16th century fireplace together with oak panelling from Flixton Hall being installed into the new banqueting hall at Samson and Hercules House. - Credit: Archant

Drawing by Leslie Sayer of the Samson and Hercules swimming pool. Date: 1935.

Drawing by Leslie Sayer of the Samson and Hercules swimming pool, dated 1935. - Credit: Archant library

It later became an opulent ballroom with chandeliers and housed a swimming pool in its basement.

PeopleThe "Teen Beat Night" at the Samson and Hercules, Norwich. The dances that evening include

The "Teen Beat Night" at the Samson and Hercules, Norwich. The dances that evening included the Limbo Rock, Locomotion, Popeye, Hully Gully and The Twist. The fashion of the day included the distinctive beehive hairstyles and winklepicker shoes. Dated January 1963 - Credit: Archant library

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'.


You may also want to watch:


"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."

Norwich - BuildingsSamson and Hercules ballroom.Dated late 1960's ?Photograph C7164

The Samson and Hercules as a ballroom in the 1960s. Posters visible advertise 'over 21' nights every Thursday and 'early' dances on Mondays. - Credit: Archant library

Most Read

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."

Norwich - BuildingsA picture of the main dance floor in the Samson and Hercules which had just

The main dance floor in the Samson and Hercules when it had just had a major facelift including new scenery of palm trees and clusters of lights. Dated September 1970. - Credit: Archant library

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."


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus