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Student to pen history of Norwich's Ferry Boat Inn

PUBLISHED: 15:00 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:26 02 July 2010

Toni Spencer, who is penning a history of the Ferry Boat pub in Norwich.

Toni Spencer, who is penning a history of the Ferry Boat pub in Norwich.

David Bale

A student writing a history of the former Ferry Boat Inn in Norwich is looking for people to contact her with their memories.

Toni Spencer, 28, is a final year student at the University of Huddersfield, studying music journalism and media, and wants ex-bar staff, landlords and bands that played there to get in touch.

Toni Spencer, who is penning a history of the Ferry Boat pub in Norwich.

A student writing a history of the former Ferry Boat Inn in Norwich is looking for people to contact her with their memories.

Toni Spencer, 28, is a final year student at the University of Huddersfield, studying music journalism and media, and wants ex-bar staff, landlords and bands that played there to get in touch.

The pub was a popular live music venue before it shut in May 2006 and is now being turned into Norwich's first backpackers' hostel by owners, father and son Alister and Jason Borthwick, with an opening date scheduled for 2011.

The Borthwicks already run Deepdale Farm at Burnham Deepdale, an award-winning eco-friendly tourism facility on the north Norfolk coast.

Miss Spencer, who went to Stalham High School, said: “I chose it as my project because I was born and grew up in Norfolk and spent many years in the pub seeing bands.

“I knew the pub and venue had an interesting history that I wanted to explore in a final year project.

“Although the emphasis of the study will be on the music venue, I am interested in the pub's history too.

“I'd like to hear from ex-bar staff, ex-landlords/ladies and bands that have played there.

“I also would like to hear from people who saw bands there or just went for a pint, and people who know about the history of the place and its role in the city.”

The former City College Norwich student is also looking for help funding the project, after she claimed she was turned down by Norwich City Council, because she didn't live in the catchment area. The council was unable to confirm or deny her claim.

The Ferry Boat fell into disrepair and was boarded-up after it closed in 2006 due to a lack of regular custom and a catalogue of complaints about noise forced then landlord Alan Thorpe to call time.

Pub group Greene King, which owned it, considered developing the site into a pub restaurant but it wasn't a viable investment, and sold it.

In December 2006 the pub hit the headlines again after it was revealed Suffolk serial killer Steve Wright was once landlord. Wright is now serving a life sentence in prison for killing five prostitutes in Ipswich.

The Evening News has, through our Love Your Local campaign, been highlighting the need for people to support their local pubs or risk them closing for good.

Memories of the Ferry Boat Inn can be sent to Toni's email address U0750015@hud.ac.uk - also contact her there if you can help with funding.

To see previous stories from our campaign log on to www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

Do you know of a pub that is either opening or closing in Norwich? Call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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