Today’s Norwich Pub of the Week is the Berstrete Gates, which is the last of the 39 pubs that were once dotted along Ber Street

PUBLISHED: 16:27 28 September 2012

Berstrete Gates free house.  Photo: Bill Smith

Berstrete Gates free house. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

Before I visited the Berstrete Gates, I did not know much about it, other than there always seemed to be buggies parked outside.

There used to be 39 pubs in Ber Street, but this is the only one now left.

Located at the southern end of the street near the junction with Bracondale, it’s famed for having a 1937 mural by city artist John Moray-Smith on the outside wall, which depicts the former city gate that formed part of Norwich’s medieval walls.

Without knowing, I visited on the same day that the pub had been burgled. The back door had been forced and an unknown amount of cash had been taken from the fruit machine.

It came just a few weeks after Lynn and Bill Loader took over as landlords. Previously, they were at The Maid’s Head in Old Catton, which Mrs Loader’s brothers still run.

The Berstrete Gates is still owned by the same Vietnamese lady who ran it for about nine years. But she has gone back to Vietnam for about five years and rented it out.

During her tenure at the pub it became more of a takeaway than a pub, and it was not wholly successful.

Mrs Loader said: “It won’t be a takeaway anymore, but we will probably still do snacks. We won’t change the pub too much. The pub is what it is. People like the cheap drinks and put up with the decor. We could spend a lot of money doing it up, but I don’t think people want it at this time.

“It will go back to what it used to be, an old-fashioned local pub.”

Mr Loader once drank at the pub, but Mrs Loader said she did not know much about it before they took it on. She added: “We took it on because the Maid’s Head is owned by Enterprise Inns and this is a freehouse, so we thought we would enjoy it more.

“Most of our customers are local and they include a lot of people who come to the pub in their buggies, from the disabled old people’s home nearby.”

In the future, Mrs Loader plans to pave the outside seating area and introduce new tables to tidy it up.

The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign.

To see more stories from the campaign visit

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