Norwich pub’s past can finally be seen

Derek James takes a look at one of Norwich's oldest pubs

There they were – the three wise men who made sure they got in on the act when this photograph of a famous Norwich pub and its landlord and landlady was snapped almost a century ago.

It's taken a while but the cap brigade peeping over the window advertising dear old Bullards, a fine drop of city beer, have finally made it into the paper.

There have been so many changes in the city centre over the decades, various planners, demolition teams and the Luftwaffe, all have done their bit to change the way we were and shape the way we are now.

And there is one area of the city which is looking especially good and that is historic Timberhill, a tough old place centuries ago when it was packed with houses.

This was once home to one of the world's greatest boxers, Jem Mace.

Today most of the homes have gone but many of the fine buildings have survived and at the heart of Timberhill is The Gardeners Arms, which became known as The Murderers following a notorious killing at the pub in 1895.

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The landlord today, Philip Cutter, is very interested in the long and colourful history of the pub, but up until the other week the oldest picture he had of the place was taken in 1971.

Then one of his customers, Greg Crisp, made Philip's day by popping into the pub with this photograph of his grandparents, Ernest William and Sarah Crisp.

Ernest was landlord of the Gardeners from August of 1915 until October in the followingyear when he went off to fight in the bloody First World War, leaving his wife Sarah to man the pumps.

Ernest was wounded in action, but was one of the lucky ones. So many of his comrades never made it back but Ernest was behind the bar again by May of 1919 and he remained as the landlord until February of 1926.

It is thought this picture would have been taken during the early years of his time at the pub.

And as mine host stands proudly outside his pub he is puffing on a cigarette – so some things never change.

People are still standing outside the Murderers...having a fag and passing the time of day. Probably discussing the same topics and putting the world to rights.