This week’s Norwich Evening News Pub of the Week is the Silver Fox in Taverham
06:30 27 July 2012
Archant © 2012
It’s not hard to guess which country landlord John Veale will be supporting in the Olympics, starting today.
There’s a huge Irish flag hanging from the ceiling at the Silver Fox pub in Fakenham Road, Taverham, and a signed shirt that once belonged to Dubliner and former Canary Keith O’Neill on the wall.
Mr Veale hails from Cork in southern Ireland and his thick brogue is hard to decipher for customers and your reporter, alike.
He and wife Bex have been landlords at the Enterprise Inns-owned pub for nine years. Running a pub with two children Harrison, five today, and Darcey, three in a couple of weeks’ time, is tough work, especially with so many supermarkets nearby.
He said: “Nine years ago it was easier running a pub.
History of the Silver Fox
The current building was erected by Bullards in the 1960s.
It replaced a ‘prefab’-type temporary building that had stood on the site for several years.
One of the former landlords was known as Tony ‘Bing’ Crosby
The patron saint of Taverham is St Walstan who according to legend lived and worked in the village in the 11th century. While the first recorded mention of Taverham is thought to have been made in the time of Edward the Confessor, in the 11th century, and a school existed in Taverham from at least the 13th century, the population in 1851 was just 201.
In the 19th century Taverham was a major producer of paper. Some of the paper which was produced at Taverham Mill was used in producing The Times, Bank of England banknotes and the Oxford English Dictionary. The mill closed in 1899.
In October 1944, a V-2 rocket exploded in woods near Taverham.
In 2001, Taverham had a population of 10,233. It has seen recent population growth with the building of Thorpe Marriott, a new residential development that straddles the boundary with the neighbouring village of Drayton.
“It seems to get harder all the time.
“All the prices seem to be going up. It’s also hard to juggle a family with running a pub.
“Looking back the smoking ban hit us hard and there’s a Tesco next door, selling drinks much cheaper than we can.”
The landlords however, are proud of the loyal crowd that calls their pub a home from home, including Alfie the dog.
Mr Veale added: “Our clientele are mainly local, but we have a good mix.
“Since we came here we have tried to improve the pub in some way every year, but we are open to suggestions from our customers.
“We don’t do food any more but we still have the kitchen and restaurant so that could change. But it’s very hard to compete with the likes of the Cock and Red Lion, both in Drayton, that are cheaper food-wise.”
He would like to see minimum pricing brought in to give publicans a level playing field with supermarkets, and also cannot understand why a British Beer and Pub Association campaign to get 100,000 signatures on an e-petition calling for the beer duty escalator to be scrapped, is struggling.
He added: “I also cannot understand why the government has to keep putting 2pc on beer every year at the budget.”
His wife added: “We are more like a community. People who come in do look after each other. In our opinion it’s a properly run pub.”
Before coming to the Silver Fox, Mr Veale ran the Garden House in Pembroke Road and the Cock in Drayton, so he’s been in the business about 20 years.