Bid to preserve derelict pub could put spanner in the works for school expansion

The former Iron Duke pub on North Drive in Great Yarmouth which has stood empty for many years.

Picture: James Bass

The former Iron Duke pub on North Drive in Great Yarmouth which has stood empty for many years. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

A bid to preserve a derelict pub could put a spanner in the works of plans to expand a Great Yarmouth school.

Library image of North Denes School. 

Photo: Steve ParsonsLibrary image of North Denes School. Photo: Steve Parsons

The Iron Duke pub in North Denes has been boarded up and closed for over a decade.

Now history enthusiast Caroline Jones is trying to get the Art Deco building in Jellicoe Road listed, as she fears it could be demolished.

Mrs Jones, a hairdresser, said: “Like a lot of people, I love the Iron Duke. It is a fine example of Art Deco with all the Lacons signage and statuary intact.

“When we go to Liverpool I am staggered by the achievements there and how much revenue has been generated by the city’s regeneration.

“We have lovely buildings in Great Yarmouth and an historic quay. The same but on a smaller scale could be achieved here.

“Thankfully the Venetian Waterways are being restored. History generates tourism and revenue creating jobs.

“I am hoping there is enough history to list it. I’m not any one important, just interested but proactive.”

The pub is next door to North Denes Primary School, where Norfolk County Council has proposed to merge it with the nearby Alderman Swindell School and build a new larger school on the Denes site.

A spokesman for the county council said the school would benefit from improved access.

She added: “We have therefore had informal discussions with the owner of the Iron Duke site to see whether any of the site might be available to help improve access to the school.”

Mrs Jones, from Norwich, said over the years the town had lost other Art Deco buildings, like the ABC cinema at Regent Road, and she did not want to lose any others. The 49-year-old grew up in Gorleston and her mum lives in the town and she visits often.

English Heritage confirmed an application had been received but it was still at a very early stage.

Despite being incomplete, The Iron Duke opened in 1940 to serve the soldiers manning the anti-aircraft guns on North Denes.

The pub was granted its first license to serve alcohol 77 years ago next week.

In 1948 it was finished, with its counters made from teak from Admiral Jellicoe’s flagship, HMS Iron Duke, that led the British fleet in the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

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