A Brief History of the Trafford Arms
It all began with…
The Nursery Tavern
Licensee 1867 Robert Allen until 10th June 1885.
In the 1858 directory, Robert Allen was a florist and market gardener at “Grove Place”. In Harrod’s 1872 directory, R Allen was the publican of the Bowling Green, Southwell Road (the Nursery Tavern is not listed in this directory).
The Nursery Tavern is named in Kelly’s directories from 1865 onwards to 1875, with Robert Allen as the publican. An 1830 map shows a building set back from Southwell Road and Grove Road surrounded by planted rather than built-up land, this could have been the Nursery with Robert Allen continuing his horticultural activities as well as being a publican. Trafford Road, at the junction of which the present Trafford Arms stands, is not shown on the 1873 map.
On 16th June 1885 by Probate of the will of Robert Allen deceased produced and dated 10th June 1885 Mary Ann Allen sole executor.
16th June 1885 grant under section 14 to Robert Allen.
1886 provisional removal to new premises on adjoining land to be erected new building to be called Trafford Arms, owners being Steward & Patteson.
Taken from Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette August 28th 1886:
The Norwich Brewster Sessions.
The first heard application was that of Mr Robert Allen for the provisional removal of a full licence from the Nursery Tavern, Grove Road, Lakenham, to a new house to be called the Trafford Arms, about to be erected on adjoining land. Mr Chittock, who appeared in support of the application, said that Mr Trafford of Brundall, who owns property in Lakenham, proposed to widen and build upon the Grove Road, and the contemplated new house was to be erected near the thoroughfare. The road would be increased to a width of 12 feet, and the entire work of alteration and building would be carried out to the satisfaction of the corporation.
The old house, the Nursery Tavern, a one storied building, would be pulled down and the Trafford Arms would be erected about 200 feet from it near the bend of the road leading to the drinking fountain at the end of the Newmarket and Ipswich roads.
Mr Chittock having proved the service of the necessary notices, called Mr Williams, architect who produced the plans of the new house, and explained to the Bench. He stated that the annual rateable value of the property was about £50.00 The Rev. Dr. Geikie, who spoke very indistinctly, was understood to say that the did not oppose this particular application, but presented a memorial from clergymen of the Church of England in Norwich asking the magistrates not to increase the number of existing licenses in the city, as those at present in existence “choked their efforts to Christianise the masses”.
The memorial was signed by the Rev. Dr Geikie, Davies, Temple Brown, Dickson, Floyd, Evans, Pierpoint, Cooke, Rivers, Oakley, and Baggallay. He added that a dozen more clergymen would have signed it had they been asked to do so, and then on to mention the large number of Public Houses in his parish, which was detrimental to his work, and neutralises his Christian efforts. Mr Reeve requested Dr Geikie not to mention the name of the brewers. One of the most difficult things the committee had to do was to keep their minds free from prejudice, and, with this view in end, they did not wish to know the name of the owners. Dr Geikie enumerated eighteen houses in his parish.
The chairman said he dare say the intentions of Dr Geikie were very excellent, but the committee had business to perform and they must go on with it. Dr Geikie disclaimecd any intentions of being rude to the Bench, but he appealed to them on behalf of his ruined parish, and said that instead of being called a Licensing Committee they ought to be called a Committee for the Suppression of Christianity.
The Trafford Arms
16th June 1885 until 5th April 1909 Robert Allen.
The pub had a Music and Singing Licence.
c1895 image – Thanks to Elaine Fenton & NorfolkPubs.co.uk.
A “100 years ago” snippet in the Evening News recorded that in March 1895, when Robert Allen was still publican of the Trafford Arms, a three-hour cyclone blew two large chimney stacks through the roof of the pub. Being a tall building (three stories under a sort of Dutch gable and standing on high ground) the Trafford would have been exposed to a vicious wind. The red brick building, owned then by Lacons Brewery, was built in a style in keeping with the newly-erected or just planned houses on Trafford Road and Grove Road, on the Trafford Estate.
5th April 1909 until 11th May 1909 Mary Allen
11th May 1909 until 12th October 1909 Thomas Lockwood
12th October 1909 until 28th August 1923 William Curl
William curl subsequently went bankrupt.
28th August 1923 until 20th November 1934 Sam John Folkes
Samuel Folkes was convicted in May 1927 for selling out of hours. Fined £1 or 13 days detention.
20th November 1934 until 31st December 1935 Barrington Ernest Thorpe
31st December 1935 until 1st September 1936 Arthur Scott
1st September 1936 until 24th August 1940 Tom Beckingham
24th August 1940 until 28th August 1943 Samuel Horace Beales
27th May 1942 severely damaged by bombing.
Licences of pubs which had been closed because of bomb damage were surrendered back to their respective breweries.
15th October 1942 Licence suspended as a result of War Circumstances.
13th July 1943 Letter from Steward & Patteson to the Clerk of Justices at the Guildhall. “We have to inform you we are opening temporary premises known as “The Trafford Arms” Grove Road for the sale of intoxicating drinks on Thursday 15th July 1943.
14th July 1943 Letter from Justice Rooms Guildhall. “I write to inform you that today I received notice of re-opening of the Trafford Arms, the licence of which was suspended as a result of enemy action”.
The justice has approved of the plans.
Signed H A Sharman, Clerk to the Licensing Justices.
Trading recommenced 15th July 1943 from a temporary wooden hut.
28th August 1943 until 17th November 1959 Cecil Herbert Clarke
‘Nobby’ Clarke reopened the Trafford in a temporary wooden building converted from a large broiler house (new!). Hence it was always known as “The Chicken House”. This was in use until the first half of the present building was completed in the autumn of 1955. The pub closed one evening in the Chicken House and reopened next morning in the new wing, with the same landlord and landlady. This wing later became the Bar. Ted Smith (who lived opposite the pub and was a regular until his death in 2000) went over at 10.30 am and bought the first pint from Doris.
Later the Chicken House was pulled down and the wing fronting on Trafford Road, which became the lounge was built. Finally the two halves were joined with an ornamental doorway and the resulting little passage room became the Snug. The two halves were not perfectly matched, and it is still possible to see where the join had to be fudged, if you look at the roof.
The decor was 1950’s style, described as Neo-Georgian, with elegant tropical wood paneling on the walls and bar. The pub was bought by Watney Mann (soon to become part of Grand Met) in 1967.
17th November 1959 until 3rd January 1961 Doris Hilda Clarke
3rd January 1961 until 3rd September 1963 Sam Townsend
3rd September 1963 until 16th March 1965 Robert Vincent Bunn
16th March 1965 until 25th April 1967 Charles Frederick Albert Bane
25th April 1967 until 2nd September 1969 Percy Edgar Rush (Watneys Rep)
2nd September 1969 until 8th September 1970 Frank Frederick William Knight
8th September 1970 until 13th March 1973 Percy Edgar Rush (Watneys Rep)
13th March 1973 until 14th February 1989 William Forman
In 1982 the pub was rather brutally refurbished by the owners. Partition walls between the bars were removed and one long bar was installed. The wood paneling was removed and burned, fireplaces and shoulder high alcoves of rough brickwork were built with wooden railing above and the bar was embellished with wrought iron.
14th February 1989 until 8th August 1989 William Foreman and Ian McDonald
8th August 1989 until 19th March 1991 Malcolm George Trevor Ewing & James Allen
In 1989 the pub was leased by Careglades Ltd (another refurbishment) and then Woodbridge Inns. It was again refurbished in a pleasanter imitation Victorian style in 1990.
19th March 1991 until 12th November 1991 Ann Maria Whitehead and Malcolm Ewing
12th November 1991 until 4th February 1992 Stuart Hoyle
4th February 1992 until 2nd February 1993 Stuart Francis Hoyle and Christopher Lewis Higgins
2nd February 1993 until 14th February 1995 Christopher Lewis Higgins
14th February 1995 until August 2015 Christopher Lewis Higgins and Glynis Ann Higgins
A Newspaper report of 29/10/1996 states that “Landlords Chris & Glynis Higgins took over November 1992 … Transformed it into a Free House cask beer oasis’.
After over twenty years, much-loved custodians of the Trafford Arms, Chris and Glynis took retirement. Read about their handover to new landlord, Nick De’Ath here.
August 2015 – Present Nick De’Ath
Nick is part of The Unthank Partnership – visit their other establishments: The Unthank Arms The William & Florence, Chambers Cocktail Company and, the newest member of the family Red Lion Bishopgate (opening for the first time on Monday 17th May 2021!)
(With very many thanks to Mary Muir, Ken Chapman and Derek McDonald and NorfolkPubs.co.uk who helped compile this page).