Pub back in business after blaze

It has been a long nine months but a popular Norfolk pub has finally reopened after a devastating fire.

The Marsham Arms at Hevingham, near Aylsham, was gutted by fire last July.

The roof was completely destroyed, the first-floor ceilings collapsed and the water tank in the loft melted, shedding its water downstairs, which left the old part of the pub badly damaged by water and smoke.

Despite the damage, landlord and owner Nigel Bradley initially hoped to reopen the pub within weeks of the blaze, but it has taken nine months for the work to be completed.

But in that time the pub has undergone a complete refurbishment with new furniture, new d�cor and a new bar.

Mr Bradley, who runs the pub with partner Jean Smith, said: 'The insurance company has spent about �0.5m on the pub and I have spent about �200,000. It's been a long time but we are finally back and we have been incredibly busy since we reopened.

'In fact, we have been turning people away.

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'We have a great new menu, some new faces and some old ones, and a bright and cosy new pub.

'Although we are still doing food, and have got a new head chef, we've also got a very small tap room where we serve beer straight from the barrel.'

Carly Large, the front of house manager, said the pub also had a new open fireplace.

She added: 'We have made it more of a drinkers' pub, where people can come in and feel comfortable. We have got a new lounge area in what was the old restaurant.' As reported, the community rallied around to bring the fire-damaged pub back to life, after it was forced to close following the blaze, and Mr Bradley has praised the 'amazing' community support.

As reported, the fire had set light to an outside shed at the side of the pub, which was evacuated, but none of the dozen customers in the premises at the time were hurt. Mr Bradley has been at the pub, previously run by his mother, Pauline, since 1963. He took over from her as licensee in 1976.

The Evening News has been urging customers to return to pubs or risk losing them for good in our Love your Local campaign.

To see more stories from the campaign visit

Do you know of any pubs opening or closing in the Norwich area? Call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email