The day Jude met Chris

PUBLISHED: 15:29 14 December 2011

Walnut Gudgin feature

Walnut Gudgin feature


He was working as a waiter in a cocktail bar - then he bumped into the love of his life

Do you remember the old Skid Row Cocktail bar on top of Captain America’s Hamburger Heaven back in Norwich of the 1970s?

The star attraction was the scruffy and rude young bartender who was brilliant at creating and making exotic cocktails with a kick.

His name was Chris Gudgin and he matured into the “grumpy old git” at the Walnut Tree Shades across the way.

The story of how Chris met his wife Jude and how they went on to become one of the best-loved double acts to run a pub in Norwich is revealed in the adults-only new book by Jude – Last Orders at The Walnut Tree Shades.

She looks back on their first romantic meeting when she was working as a waitress at Captain America’s and Chris was a customer.

“Every time I walked down the restaurant to serve customers and had to walk passed him, he would grab my bum. I was not impressed, and thought: ‘Whoever is that creep?’”

He gave her his phone number when he left.

Eventually she rang him – and that was the start of a love affair still going strong. A few years after getting married this Norwich couple took up a challenge by their old friend Harvey “The Continentals” Platt to open an American theme bar – the first in the city.

They finally moved into the Walnut on June 12 1984 – and that’s where they stayed until May of 2008. The book is the tale of what happened in between.

A rollercoaster ride of life behind, in front of, above and below the bar and Jude has a wonderful way with words.

It’s a must for anyone who loves Norwich and its pubs. It’s all in there, booze, birds, punch-ups, laughs and tears.

Jude will be signing copies of her book back at the Walnut on Thursday December 8 from 7pm – with live music from The Honeydrippers.
It is in the shops – Jarrold , Waterstones and Book Hive at £12.95 or £10.95 at the signing.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Norwich Evening News. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Norwich Evening News