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Plans are lodged to turn historic Market Place pub into homes

PUBLISHED: 08:13 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:13 07 March 2018

A century ago it was one of many watering holes embracing Great Yarmouth’s historic Market Place at the busy, bawdy, boozy centre of town.

Famous for its unique ‘river water’ served in a jug on the bar (in fact, the dregs of the day before’s bottles) The Two Necked Swan continued to draw regulars until just over a decade ago.

Now the listed building looks set to go the same way as many others in the town which have already been turned into housing, their names fading into history.

An application is looking to convert part of the ground floor and the rest of the building into five residential flats, ending any hopes it could serve thirsty locals again.

According to historian Colin Tooke the pub is one of the town’s oldest.

Originally it was known as the Three Flower De Luces, a corruption of the heraldic term Fleur de Lys.

In the eighteenth century it was owned by William Cosh, a wealthy brewer.

It became known as the Swan with Two Necks in the nineteenth century and was a Lacon’s pub by 1819.

Records show it was the meeting place for some of the town’s benevolent and sometimes bizarre societies.

Among them was the exclusive Mussel Club or Winkle Club which involved men meeting to feast on shellfish while wearing a polished mussel shell to signal their membership.

Lacons sold the house to Steward & Patteson who in turn sold it in 1898 to Whitbread & Co.

About 1930 the name was changed to the Two Necked Swan.

For thirty years the house was referred to as Smedley’s, after the well-known landlord, Bert Smedley, who died in 1952.

The pub closed in December 2007. There were plans to convert it into a restaurant with two flats above but it has remained undeveloped.

The Two Necked Swan’s name comes from the practice, ordered by Elizabeth 1, of swan upping.

To distinguish royal swans from those belonging to wine merchants she said the latter had be marked with two nicks on the beak.

As the vintners controlled much of the wine trade and were associated with inns and taverns it became common to see a sign of a swan advertising their wine.

People have until March 13 to comment on the plan.

To have your say visit the borough council’s website by clicking here.

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