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JD Wetherspoon take over historic pub in West Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 16:10 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:29 13 March 2018

The new Weatherspoons pub in Downham Market is called The Whalebone and is due to open on March 20th. Picture: Ian Burt

The new Weatherspoons pub in Downham Market is called The Whalebone and is due to open on March 20th. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

A new JD Wetherspoon pub is set to open in a historic building in West Norfolk which has remained closed for nearly three years.

The new Weatherspoons pub in Downham Market is called The Whalebone and is due to open on March 20th. Picture: Ian BurtThe new Weatherspoons pub in Downham Market is called The Whalebone and is due to open on March 20th. Picture: Ian Burt

After a £2.5m investment, the former White Hart pub, in Bridge Steet, Downham Market, will reopen as the Whalebone on Tuesday, March 20.

It will bring 65 new jobs in the area and give a long-standing Grade II listed building a new lease of life.

Manager David Riggs said: “Myself and my team are looking forward to welcoming customers into the pub and we are confident that it will be a great addition to the Downham Market community.”

The pub was originally two buildings before it was merged together in the 1980s, with one section of the premises pulling pints since the 1700s.

The new Weatherspoons pub in Downham Market is called The Whalebone and is due to open on March 20th. Picture: Ian BurtThe new Weatherspoons pub in Downham Market is called The Whalebone and is due to open on March 20th. Picture: Ian Burt

Between 1748 and 1791, the pub was called the Whalebone, a name which derives from the whaling trade that flourished in the area at that time.

Whaling ships would dock at the River Ouse at a time when parts of a whale were widely used in the making of ships, in brush handles, cutlery and corsets.

The new pub will be open from 8am until midnight Sunday to Thursday, and 8am until 1am on Friday and Saturday. Food will be served every day until 11pm.

The pub will be wheelchair accessible with a specially-adapted toilet for people with disabilities on the ground floor.

The Whalebone will specialise in real ales, as well as craft and world beers, serving a wide range of different draught ales as well as bottled beers, including those from local and regional brewers.

The new-look pub features one bar, a garden with a courtyard accessed through a traditional cart access to the front of the building as well as a turfed garden to the rear.

A selection of historical photos and artwork of local scenes and characters of the area will decorate the interior walls, a display compiled with the assistance of the Downham Market and District Heritage Society and Lynn Museum.

Commissioned artwork includes Field and Fen by sculptor Christine Pike, who lives in Downham Market, and the Whaling Grounds by printmaker and textile artist Caroline Hack, from Thetford.

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