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First look at £3,000 revamp at popular Norwich pub

PUBLISHED: 16:35 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:31 21 August 2018

The Wildman pub in Norwich reopens after refurbishment. Daniel Pratt, left, and Henry Shingler. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Wildman pub in Norwich reopens after refurbishment. Daniel Pratt, left, and Henry Shingler. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A Norwich city centre pub known for its live music has been given a new lease of life after a £3,000 revamp.

Changes to The Wildman, on Bedford Street, include a new café serving cold food, cakes and coffee during the day, and new ales, cocktails, local spirits and DJ nights.

Daniel Pratt, 33 from the company behind The Wildman, said: “We’ve tried to bring a concept that fits with the changing environment of Norwich.

“The city has become more cosmopolitan and brings a younger crowd, so we did the refresh to secure its future.”

The team have secured new furniture through the British Heart Foundation, as well as other knickknacks to give the pub a new feel.

The Wildman pub in Norwich reopens after refurbishment.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Wildman pub in Norwich reopens after refurbishment. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mr Pratt said: “We’re trying to prove that if you shop smartly you can change the whole feel of a place.”

The venue will be bringing in an ‘open stage’ concept, giving local musicians, poets and comedians a stage to perform.

General manager Henry Shingler, 36, said: “We’re only a small venue so we’re trying to keep it quite relaxed for people who want to come in to have a cocktail and a chat.

“On weekends after midnight we do have a local Norwich DJ, who will be here every Friday playing funky and classic house.”

The Wildman pub in Norwich reopens after refurbishment.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Wildman pub in Norwich reopens after refurbishment. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The pub has held a licence to trade since around 1760 and it was named during the 18th century after a particular ‘wild boy’ captured the mind of the nation, including King George I.

The mysterious child, who was around 12 years old, was found in Hanover in 1724 before settling in Hertfordshire. At the age of 39, he disappeared from his home and didn’t return.

Later that year a man was arrested in Norwich for ‘strolling the streets’ and was locked away in the Bridewell. A few years later, the prisoner, Peter, was recognised as the wild boy of Hertfordshire and was returned to his home.

A commemorative plaque to Peter can be found near the pub.

The Wildman pub in Norwich reopens after refurbishment.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Wildman pub in Norwich reopens after refurbishment. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The building used to house prisoners when cells at the castle became too full and there have long been rumours the pub is haunted.

Sudden drops of temperature are often reported in the rooms, and former landlords have reported heavy beer barrels moving round of their own accord.

To keep up to date on The Wildman visit their Facebook page.

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