City landmarks Samson and Hercules get bright red facelift in Tombland - what do you think?

Owner Alan Waller admires Samson and Hercules in their salmon pink as an undercoat for their new pil

Owner Alan Waller admires Samson and Hercules in their salmon pink as an undercoat for their new pillarbox red makeover. Photo: Bill Smith

For three-and-a-half centuries their imposing forms have stood tall in the centre of the city.

But Samson and Hercules – the two statues which take pride of place in Norwich's Tombland area – are currently undergoing a radical makeover which will see them painted 'fire engine red'.

The colour scheme – which reflects the transformation of the building they adorn into a lobster restaurant – has already raised eyebrows among passers-by.

And now Norwich City Council has announced it will be investigating, to ensure they approve of the facelift.

Although the statues are actually replicas of the original Samson and Hercules monuments, they still stand in a conservation area and officials from City Hall are planning a visit to the site to ensure the colours are in keeping with the surroundings.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: 'The building and the figures are not listed but they are in the city centre conservation area, which means the special qualities of the built environment are protected.

'Our specialist conservation and design officers will be liaising with the owner and making an assessment of the impact of the new colour of these well-known figures.'

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Reaction on social media has been mixed, with many questioning if the colour will suit the area.

However, others welcomed the new scheme, praising the company behind the £120,000 project – Just Lobsters – for being eye-catching and helping the local economy.

What do you think of the paint scheme? Click here to vote in our poll and view a photo gallery.

It was originally reported that the statues would be painted gold but the latest plans mean they will be painted red and the front of the building will be repainted in beige and grey.

An online poll on our website revealed 72% of you did not like the colour scheme, while only 10% approved of it. A total of 18% were not bothered.

Vicky Manthorpe, of the Norwich Society, said: 'It is important to note that the originals are not being damaged. All I can say at the moment is that they will certainly be eye-catching.'

The building has a rich history dating back to before the 1650s but has been closed for more than a decade, leaving a depressing eyesore on a popular area of the city.

Here's what some of you thought of the plans:


• Martin Pearce: 'They look fine, they are not the original ones so what's the fuss? Plus the red makes them stick out more so maybe more people will take notice of them now.'

• Kirsty Nunn: 'When it's all finished it 'may' look ok but I can't see it at the moment.'

• Rob Blowers: 'People will think this place is a tanning shop seeing these two on the door.'

• Dean Akrill: 'Well it's better than an empty building. Still not keen on the colour...'

• Stephen Tilney: 'This business is obviously investing a significant amount of money into Norwich and surely should be encouraged.'

• Rachel Allen: 'They have been painted before different colours and I think it seems kinda fun to change the colours.'

• Warren Mackay: 'Who cares what it's like, let's just see if it will be wheelchair accessible.'

• Paula Sutton: 'Hate it. Rather white or black with white background. It looks like an evil place with red.'

• Jackie Ann Cousins: 'Horrible and tacky – we want them restored as they were.'

• Cat Rae Parry: 'Not struck on the colour if I'm honest but it's better to repair them then let them fall apart.'

• Miles Rothschild De Vere: 'Not right at all. I know it is to be a lobster restaurant but would rather see them in their original colours.'

• Jaimie Ramsay: 'A bit of fun and makes the area more cheerful and bright.'

• Nick Pye: 'I was disappointed to see them painted lobster red.'

• Pete Goldsmith: 'I'm sure it will blend right in when they paint the cathedral to match.'

• Dianne Thomas: 'Disgusting, it strips the dignity of one the most well known buildings in Norwich.'


• @Natural_B_Grill: 'Samson and Hercules new coat of paint reminds me of the terracotta army.'

• @ncfclee: 'It's October 1, not April 1, right!?'

• Are you doing something unique to a building in Norwich? Contact reporter Donna-Louise Bishop by emailing or ringing 01603 693892.