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Pub sign to be restored to former glory as local legend’s face is returned

PUBLISHED: 17:23 06 July 2017

Louis Marchesi pub will have a new sign. (L) Sign as it is now. Picture : Antony Kelly. (R) The image of Louis Marchesi that will be used on the new sign. Picture: Des Fulcher

Louis Marchesi pub will have a new sign. (L) Sign as it is now. Picture : Antony Kelly. (R) The image of Louis Marchesi that will be used on the new sign. Picture: Des Fulcher

Antony Kelly/Des Fulcher

When construction workers at Cinema City stumbled across a mysterious signed photograph, they would have been stunned to realise it was an image of Norwich legend, Louis Marchesi.

The signed photograph found by Mr Fulcher in Suckling Hall, now Cinema City. Photo: Des Fulcher The signed photograph found by Mr Fulcher in Suckling Hall, now Cinema City. Photo: Des Fulcher

Marchesi was the founder of Norwich’s Round Table, a charitable organisation that dates from 1927.

And after the city centre pub originally named after the famous local has returned to its former name, the lucky find means that Louis Marchesi’s face will once again adorn the sign above the door.

Des Fulcher, a district councillor for Stratton Ward, is helping the new owner to restore the sign to its former glory.

Mr Fulcher, an ex-national councillor for the 41 Club, the network for alumni of the Round Table, helped with the creation of the John Hurt Centre at Norwich’s Cinema City. The project included naming a room in honour of Louis Marchesi, where the first Table meetings were held, formerly known as Suckling Hall.

Louis Marchesi pub. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Louis Marchesi pub. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

While the project was going on, a 1960s signed photograph of Mr Marchesi was unearthed in the old meeting room at Cinema City.

Print copies of the photograph were made available for purchase to raise funds for the Round Table.

After reading about the reopening of the Louis Marchesi pub in this newspaper, Mr Fulcher visited the pub to offer new owner Lisa Atkins one of the limited edition prints.

However, his offer turned out better than expected, as Miss Atkins was in search of an image to use for the pub’s sign. The pub originally had an artist’s impression of the signed photograph decorating the sign, but now the original image will hang in pride of place on the sign.

Louis Marchesi pub. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Louis Marchesi pub. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

There will also be a copy of the photograph on display inside the pub, and, upstairs, a large wooden piece of Round Table memorabilia, dating from 1947. Mr Fulcher described it as a “unique piece of history from a key Round Table group from London - somewhere which has strong links within our organisation”.

Miss Atkins and Mr Fulcher are currently working with the Norwich design agency, GGS, to have a new sign made for the pub featuring the image. Until recently, the firm was directed by a member of the Norwich 41 Club.

The Louis Marchesi, in Tombland, reopened on Friday, June 23. Owner Miss Atkins said that the opening weekend had been “busy”.

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