Music memories from Norwich come to light at auction

It used to be the place to listen and dance to the latest hip tunes and try and find a potential wife or husband at the same time.

On Saturday photographs, programmes and bills from the Samson and Hercules club in Norwich's Tombland in the 1950s and 1960s district are going under the hammer at auctioneers Horners in Acle.

The lots belonged to the club's booking agent, Norman Guest, who died earlier this year.

Mr Guest was the founder of the Norwich Jazz Cellar Club, which began in the basement of the Samson and Hercules and moved to the Orford Cellar.

The lots include items featuring musicians Jack Parnell, Gracie Cole, Beryl Brydon, Mick Mulligan, Humphrey Lyttelton and George Melly.


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Local bands the Falcons and Ultimate are also featured.

The auction also features a rare RAF log book from Mr Guest's time as a Lancaster bomber pilot in the second world war.

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Valued at between �1,000 and �1,500, the log book details the pilot's training in Canada and how he took part in daring food supply raids over Holland in 1945.

As a bomber pilot Mr Guest never took part in any actual bombing raids- something he was grateful for.

A memoir says: 'I have never been involved in killing anybody for which I am eternally grateful.'

Robert Wright, from Horners, said: 'For two decades Mr Guest was heavily involved in Norwich's music scene and promoted many local groups.'

Mr Guest had also been a member of the Norwich Petanque club for 30 years. He previously sang in a few local bands and managed others.

Also included in Saturday's auction are items belonging to 1930s ace pilot and notorious playboy Jim Mollison who was famous for his long distance exploits flying to North America, Australia and South Africa.

Mollison had been married to female ace pilot Amy Johnson and the pair were labelled the Flying Sweethearts by the press.

The lots include Mollison's passport and pilot licence and press cuttings, including his death in 1959 aged 54.

After his funeral Norfolk woman Mollie Jermey, who had been his companion for the last 12 years of his life, said: 'He was foolish about many things. Especially women. But he always seemed to drift back to me.'

For information on the auction at Horners visit www.horners.co.uk or call 01493 750225.

Do you have any memories of Norman Guest? Write to Derek James at the Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email derek.james@archant.co.uk

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