Bottom   :  Norwich Area Pubs

Licensed Premises :

The Basic Definitions

(Paras. 1 to 8)
 Essential Reading Matter 

2. Taverns etc. :  3. Pretensions
4. Stores :  5. Minimalism?
  6. Modernism :  7. Exclusions :  8. Merchants

1. : Coaching Houses

These formed the Premier League of pubs,
when they were known as  Inns.
In later times, often described as  Hotels.
Invariably, there was a large marshalling yard
beside or behind the Inn, for the vehicles
and  the horses.

We should remember that, in the coaching era,
accommodation and food were more important
than alcoholic refreshment !!.

Coaching Inns had the ground cut from under
their feet in the mid-19th C. - by the  railways -
but they have shown remarkable resilience.

A surprisingly high proportion made it well into
the 20th Century. A few, such as   The Bell  and
Maid's Head,  are still focal-points
for the whole community.

In the earliest extant printed records
(directories)  of 1783 and 1802, the authors
only dealt with the comparatively tiny list of
such Inns - which is a very great shame
for the researcher.

In 1783, what we would now call pubs
(see below) were listed, along with shops
and other trades, merely in the form :
"Joe Bloggs, victualler, Anystreet".
Sometimes, for  victualler,  read  innkeeper.

2. : Taverns etc.

Taverns and Ale-houses were older names for
simple  pubs  : those not keen to get into the
market for accommodating travellers.
It is not clear [to me] when or why
the term 'tavern' fell into disuse.

Later published lists  directories  tended to lump
Inns and Taverns together; sometimes under the
omnibus heading : "Hotels, Inns, Taverns etc.".

Beer-houses,  specifically  Beer Retailers,
form a more esoteric category. Lists of these
appear alongside the lists of taverns, but
usually without any  pub-name  ("inn-sign");
indicating an inferior status, similar to a shop.

The heyday of (unregulated) beer-houses [1]
was between 1828 and 1840; although they
(apparently) reached a peak of over 100 around
1859, and some persisted well into the second
half of the 20th Century.
[1] See the   Licensing Section.

However,  many  a famous pub began life as a
mere, anonymous beer-house; and the status of
others seemed, unhelpfully, to vary from one
Directory List to another.

3. : Pretensions

Over a very long period, some run-of-the-mill
pubs (taverns) have tried to enhance their
"image" by styling pubs as  "Inns".
Perhaps one spare bedroom, and a sandwich
was considered enough to qualify!.

Unless these "inns" survived until recent times,
it is difficult to validate their claims to having a
higher status than that of a mere "boozer".
Clearly, this is an early example of marketing
techniques; of which we now have far too many.

Another example of  'one-upmanship' relates to
"stores" (para. 4) : where a   grocer's shop,   or
General Store, wanted to upgrade by
selling alcohol; but not necessarily in
vastly impressive quantities.

4. : Stores

So our next odd category is the "store"; almost
invariably taking its name from the location (i.e. street-name).
In many cases, e.g.   West Pottergate Stores,
it became indistinguishable from any other pub.

We must presume, however, that the  older
premises with this title  originally  had more of
a bulk-supply function - than just serving
individual pints of ale.

If so, the analogy with modern "off-licences"
would seem even stronger than for beer-houses
(see 2 above). This point is confirmed by the
number of  ". . . Wine and Spirits Stores";
there being little doubt that they would sell
bottled  beers as well.

However, around the turn of the 20th C.,
the word 'Stores' was sometimes added to
the pub name as a fashion-statement.

Para. 8 below notes the subtle difference
between an  individual store  and the operations
of  merchants - i.e. importers; who may
possess their own retail outlet(s).

5. : Minimalism ?

Older readers will be familiar with the way
in which most 20th C. pubs underwent a marked
decline (from the days of "real" inns), regarding
the provision of  food;  or indeed anything
comestible other than beer or spirits and crisps
(or pickled eggs??).

Roger Cawdron, landlord of the  Ribs of Beef,
celebrated 40 years in the trade in 2010.
When he began :-
food in pubs was virtually unheard of and
you were lucky to get a packet of crisps

  5. (contd.)

It is little wonder that the term  'victualler'
gradually went out of fashion too; at least
among drinkers and the general public !!.

The licensees' professional body was, until quite
recently, the  L.V.A.  This subject is pursued at
the  Trade  heading in   DemiseSection D.

The exact opposite of 'minimal' describes
our final category of  traditional  pubs :
The "tap".
This is where a larger concern, not necessarily
fully open to the public, maximises its income by
"attaching" a smaller premises and using it as
a pseudo-regular public house.

The two possibilities are : A  brewery  or  hotel
The latter is essentially private
- as far as the residents are concerned.

The names are generally  "The X Brewery Tap"
or  "The X Hotel Tap"  or perhaps  "....Stores".
At one time the  Maid's Head Hotel   had
two  such ancillary outlets !.

6. : Modernism

Allied to the rampant marketing notion of
changing the pub  name  (see  Re-Namings
is the fashionable creation of  "Theme Pubs";
often with an Irish slant.
(Why? - are stouts at last back in fashion??).

The demarcation-lines are being further blurred,
not just by night-clubs[2], but by  specialist bars  :
majoring in space-age decor and alcoholic
offerings far removed from common ale
(e.g.  Bacardi Breezers  and cocktails).

These establishments invariably cater for the
younger and more "trendy" customers.
In this City, most are being set-up
in brand-new buildings.

Older, or smaller, buildings are also being
used as plain  "bars"  (or  'café-bars' ) : with an
equal emphasis on coffee and other drinks,
plus various types of food.

This is, of course, a throwback to  much  earlier
times; when coffee-houses and pubs were
regarded as two sides of the same coin.
Sadly, today's cafés usually only have
Real Ale (if any) in bottled form.

[2] These have been around for ages and are,
       of course, still proliferating.
Also see notes re  newly-opened  premises.

7. : Exclusions

There have to be some limits to this part of the
website; or I might need to use more than one
Internet Service Provider, for a spillover-site !.

Despite recent relaxations in opening hours,
I have excluded all 'genuine'   Night-clubs,
except those taking over former pub premises.

Clearly,  hotels   which are either self-declared
"Temperance" or  Private  do not qualify as pubs.

Off-licences  : now more numerous than ever.
Almost every supermarket/general store is -
in effect - such an outlet. Therefore "offies"
launched in recent times can be excluded.

However, bearing in mind remarks in para. 4,
we may need to refer to any  stores  which
(over time) transformed themselves into pubs;
and, for completeness, refer to a few which
were likewise "down-graded".

Licensed restaurants  are another class of
business currently proliferating. It would be
futile to try to include all past or present ones;
despite (or because of) the fact that most
contemporary pubs seem to have ambitions to
"overlap" into the  FOOD Sector.

But also see notes re  newly-opened
licensed restaurants.

Some pubs have long since deserted the
Mere Drinker and gone up-market as plain
Restaurants, or - to use a much older term -
"Eating Houses".

8. : Merchants

The select ranks of  Wine & Spirits Merchants,
also mentioned in 4. above, were a perennial
and very important part of the local scene.
Usually they also imported  bottled beers
from other parts of the country.

Although their premises might have looked
very different from a standard pub, they often
seemed to cater for drinking  on  the premises -
in as much as there was an "inn-sign".

The chosen sign was commonly associated
with the  trade  itself : e.g.  The Tunns
The Grapes  or  The Vine.

Some well-known firms have had a significant
impact on the Licensed Trade of the City.
Therefore  separate lists   have been devoted
to them, including many of the smaller fish.