A glimpse into the history of The Bull in Fakenham as questions remain over the pub’s future

‘The Bull Inn’ Bridge Street Fakenham. Date: unknown. Photo: Fakenham Community Archive.

The Bull Inn Bridge Street Fakenham. Date: unknown. Photo: Fakenham Community Archive. - Credit: Fakenham Community Archive.

It is a picture which captures a different time, but many will undoubtedly recognise one of Fakenham's favourite pubs.

The Bull pictured more recently. Picture: ARCHANT.

The Bull pictured more recently. Picture: ARCHANT. - Credit: Matthew Usher

This undated and rare image, provided by Fakenham Community Archive, shows The Bull in its early days.

Sadness has been expressed over the last few days about the sudden closure of The Bull, which faces an uncertain future.

The pub closed its doors on Wednesday last week.

As it has done in recent times, the picture shows back then how The Bull proudly promoted locally-sourced ales, with signs for Bullard's ales shown in the windows.

The reasons for the closure have not yet been made public.

Photographer Keith Osborn, who was a regular at the pub and has worked voluntarily to promote local businesses in Fakenham, said: 'It was the best pub in town, in my opinion, so this is really sad and disappointing news.'

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Town councillor Richard Crook said: 'The Bull was a traditional pub which was of real value to the town. Its closure is a big blow for Fakenham.'

The Bull is recorded to have been a pub as far back as 1837.

It was given its name as it was located on Bull Street, which is now Bridge Street.

It is said that the road's name was changed after a visit to Fakenham from the soon-to-be Queen Victoria.

As the story goes, the future monarch became stuck in a ford in her carriage and vowed never to return to Fakenham unless a bridge was built. The bridge was duly built but Queen Victoria still never returned to the town.

Lisa Mallett, who runs a sweet shop and the tourist information hub in Fakenham, said: 'The Bull was a good pub to go to for a Friday night drink and was great for food at lunch time.

'It was a proper, traditional, pub and there are aren't many around like it these days.

'It has four B&B rooms, which are badly needed in Fakenham.

'I hope everything can get sorted out or someone can come in and take it on and get the place open again.'

Figures from rates and rents specialist CVS show that a fifth of pubs – or 11,443 – have closed between April 2010 and the end of last year, which is the equivalent of four pubs every day.

There is now the lowest ever number of pubs in England and Wales, at 43,231, down from 54,674 in April 2010.