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Thorpe Island couple behind return of missing historic plaque

PUBLISHED: 13:19 03 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:19 03 September 2018

Jane and Peter Collins, who live on Thorpe Island, found the plaque three years ago in the river. Photo: Jane Collins.

Jane and Peter Collins, who live on Thorpe Island, found the plaque three years ago in the river. Photo: Jane Collins.

Archant

A couple from Thorpe St Andrew say they are behind the return of a historic stone plaque that went missing from a pub wall three years ago.

Former town mayor John Ward at the site where a stone plaque was stolen in 2015.  Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Former town mayor John Ward at the site where a stone plaque was stolen in 2015. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

The plaque, located on a boundary wall between the Rushcutters pub car park and River Green at Yarmouth Road, suddenly disappeared in 2015.

But earlier this summer it was returned to builders who were working on the wall.

Now, Jane and Peter Collins, who live on Thorpe Island, have come forward to say how they found the plaque three years ago.

Mrs Collins, 59, said: “We used to moor our boat there [near the wall at River Green] every day.

The plaque, located on a boundary wall between the Rushcutters pub car park and River Green at Yarmouth road, has now been returned. Photo: Luke PowellThe plaque, located on a boundary wall between the Rushcutters pub car park and River Green at Yarmouth road, has now been returned. Photo: Luke Powell

“The plaque was there when we had gone out that day, although it was hanging out the wall.

“But when we returned it had gone and we found it in the river.

“Someone must have had a go at it because there is no way it would have fallen in.”

It is believed the stone, which reads “4ft from the face of this wall belongs to S & P”, was chiselled off.

Mrs Collins said her husband, who is aged 62, managed to retrieve the plaque from the river during low tide.

They then contacted the manager of the Rushcutters to tell them they had it.

She said: “We knew there were talks about the wall being redone so we kept it safe. We didn’t want to leave it in the river.

“The pub manager said to keep hold of it.”

Mrs Collins said the stone was kept on the island and then returned to the pub once work on the wall started this year.

The manager of the Rushcutters confirmed he knew Mr and Mrs Collins had been in possession of the plaque.

Dale Wiseman, a Thorpe History Group committee member, said the stone would have belonged to the brewery Steward and Patteson.

The company, based at Barrack Street, owned multiple pubs in Norwich, including what is now known as the Rushcutters in Thorpe St Andrew.

By 1964 it was said to be in control of 1,200 properties across an area spanning from the Essex border to Lincoln.

It traded as an independent brewer until 1963 when another company launched a take-over bid. The brewery was finally sold in 1967.

• Do you have an interesting heritage story? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772684

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