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More than 10,000 sign petition to save the Brickmakers

PUBLISHED: 08:45 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 08:45 24 September 2018

The Brickmakers, on Sprowston Road. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Brickmakers, on Sprowston Road. Picture: Denise Bradley

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An outpouring of support for a closure-threatened Norwich pub and venue – described as the “last bastion of good live music” – has seen more than 10,000 people sign a petition to save it.

The Brickmakers team. Photo: SubmittedThe Brickmakers team. Photo: Submitted

A petition has been launched to save the popular Brickmakers, after its team, Emma Teasdale, Charley South and Pam South, announced on Friday they would be stepping down in January after 15 years.

It came after lease negotiations faltered with owner Ei Publican Partnerships, with the team saying it was “not financially viable” to continue.

The Sprowston Road pub has played host to musicians including Ed Sheeran and You Me at Six. And a petition set up to save it had been signed by more than 10,000 people by Sunday evening.

On Saturday night the small pub was packed wall to wall with music fans out for local band Pout at the Devil’s last gig, 10 years after their debut at The Brickmakers. ­Mike Colman, the band’s drummer, said he feared for the future of live music once The Brickmakers closed. He said: “This place shutting down is devastating. Every band I’ve ever been in had its first gig at this place. It’s becoming harder and harder for new music to find that place to perform in order to build an audience, to connect with people.”

Charley South and Emma Teasdale at the Brickmakers. Photo by Simon FinlayCharley South and Emma Teasdale at the Brickmakers. Photo by Simon Finlay

Joining the night’s line-up was alternative rock band Kaves, featuring first time front woman Caitlin Mapes. The blue haired 18-year-old used her stage debut to echo the sadness expressed by the community. Addressing the packed room, she said: “It’s venues like this that allow musicians to be musicians and its places like this that allow the music industry to grow.”

Off stage her band mate, Mia Webster, added: “Without the Brickmakers I don’t know
where else local musicians will learn their craft. Losing it would be an absolute travesty, it’s horrible.”

In its 15-year history the pub has built an army of regulars. Emma Morgan, a “Brickies regular”, said it was impossible to express what the venue meant to its customers.

She added: “This place means everything. We call it our little rock family because that’s what we are, family.”

Ed Sheeran performing in the Next Big Thing semi-finals at The Brickmakers pub in Norwich, 2008. 
Photo: Angela SharpeEd Sheeran performing in the Next Big Thing semi-finals at The Brickmakers pub in Norwich, 2008. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Mick Marshall proposed to wife Tracey Marshall at the pub on New Year’s Eve 1996.

He said: “I’ve got very, very fond memories of this place. This is the last bastion of good live music if you love good old fashioned rock’n’roll.”

An Ei spokesman said on Friday they were hopeful they could reach a “mutually agreeable solution to resolve the current situation”.

To show your support and sign the petition, visit www.change.org/p/ei-publican-partnerships-save-the-brickmakers-norwich

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