Taking a look back at the former nightclub Samson and Hercules on Tombland, Norwich and how it changed over the years
PUBLISHED: 07:53 04 January 2017 | UPDATED: 08:29 05 January 2017
Samson and Hercules ballroom. Dated late 1960's. Photo: Archant Library
Former Samson and Hercules nightclub is once again in need of a new direction after Just Lobsters closed down. Our images look back on its time as a nightclub.
Ritzys nightculb in Norwich, September 1988. Photo: Archant Library
It’s famous for the two white statues which used to proudly stand outside. Over the years the building on Tombland has housed a swimming pool, various nightclubs and most recently a lobster restaurant.
It is thought the current building was built by the Mayor of Norwich, Christopher Jay, in 1657, with the famous statues originally made from timber, but white replicas installed when Samson lost an arm.
The building once housed a large swimming pool. Later on, a dance floor was installed over the top of it and it was transformed into a ballroom in 1939. At that time it became a popular venue with the troops stationed in Norwich. But it was severely damaged by fire in 1944 and was renovated and partly reconstructed in the early 1950s.
Many Norwich couples first met each other there and it was a popular wedding reception venue in the 1940s and 1950s. Over the years, as the venue went from being a ballroom to the nightclub Ritzy’s and Fifth Avenue, and more recently Ikon.
Samson and Hercules in Norwich. Photo: Archant Library
There were once plans for the statues to be removed, which sparked a public outcry. As a result, they were retained and restored, though the fact they were painted red raised one or two eyebrows.
Keep an eye out every Tuesday in the Evening News for the Norwich Through the Decades 12-page supplement which takes a look back at a variety of old photos.
Make sure you join our new Facebook group, Norwich Remembers, for a nostalgic look at Norwich over the decades. You can share your own photos and memories or simply browse through those shared by others.
The Flixton room at Ritzys in Norwich, 25th July 1984. Photo: Archant Library Ikon, formely Ritzy nightclub, 17th September 1997. Photo: Archant Library Ikon nightclub in Norwich, 17th August 1997. Photo: Archant Library 5th Avenue/Ritzys nightclub, Norwich. 15th November 1996. Photo: Archant Library Nightclub Ikon, formely Ritzys. 17th August 1997. Photo: Archant Library Ritzys, Norwich. Photo: Archant Library Central Park, Norwich. Photo: Archant Library Samson and Hercules Ballroom, Tombland, Norwich, 17 December 1959. Photo: Archant Library Count Basie, seen playing the piano, with his orchestra during a performance at the Samson and Hercules in Norwich, 1964. Photo: Archant Library The "Teen Beat Night" at the Samson and Hercules, Norwich. The dances that evening included the Limbo Rock, Locomition, Popeye, Hully Gully and The Twist. The fashion of the day included the distinctive "beehive hairstyle and winklepicker shoes". Dated 9th January 1963. Photo: Archant Library Samson and Hercules ballroom. Dated late 1960's. Photo: Archant Library Samson and Hercules Tea Dance. Dated 24 December 1981. Photo: Archant Library A picture of the main dance floor in the Samson and Hercules which had just had a major facelift including new scenery of palm trees and clusters of fairy light. Dated 10th September 1970. Photo: Archant Library Outside the Samson and Hercules ballroom in Norwich, with the Flixton Room figures. Dated 6 October 1961. Photo: Archant Library Samson and Hercules dance hall. Dated 1982. Photo: Archant Library Former Samson and Hercules Ballroom now Ritzys Nightclub. Dated 3rd January 1986. Photo: Archant Library Jason Donovan pictured at Ritzy's, Norwich in 1989. Photo: Archant Library The Samson and Hercules in the 1930s. Photo: Archant Library