A Norwich landlord has had to diversify to stay in business and a £350,000 makeover at his pub is nearing completion with the upstairs now converted into bed and breakfast accommodation.

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Brothers, Ilir, Ben and Paolo Duraj first took on the Trowel & Hammer in St Stephen’s Road in 2005.

The construction work for additional bedrooms started in May 2010 and for the past two years the pub has been undergoing a refurbishment. The downstairs has remained a pub, but Paolo Duraj said it would become more food-orientated in the future.

Paolo is the man behind the successful transformation of the former Refreshers pub in St Giles Street in the city centre into Paolo’s Italian Restaurant, several years ago. He said that with the pub industry in decline he had to diversify to stay in business.

He said: “Everything has been changed upstairs at the Trowel and Hammer pub and it’s all new. The refurbishment has been going on for nearly two years and has cost about £350,000. The downstairs of the pub has also been refurbished. With the situation now with pubs being in decline, I realised about three years ago that we had to move on, and that’s when we turned Refreshers into a restaurant. The Trowel has stayed a pub downstairs, but in the future we will do more food there, as well.”

As reported by The Evening News, as part of the refurbishment of the Trowel and Hammer, a 25-metre well was found by a plumber by the outside wall next to the pub.

The pub dates back to 1700, when it was known as the Spittle House, and it was also known as Lazar before becoming the Trowel and Hammer in 1811.

The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign.

To see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

How is your local pub changing with the times? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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