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Former restaurant gives up secrets as experts peel back the years

PUBLISHED: 09:11 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:39 28 December 2017

Former Fatsos restaurant on King Street, Yarmouth is being stripped back to its 17th century origins.
Darren Barker from the Preservation Trust inside the former merchants house.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Former Fatsos restaurant on King Street, Yarmouth is being stripped back to its 17th century origins. Darren Barker from the Preservation Trust inside the former merchants house. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Time was when a down-at-heel former restaurant stood in pride of place in one of Great Yarmouth’s most exclusive districts.

Former Fatsos restaurant on King Street, Yarmouth is being stripped back to its 17th century origins.
Picture: Nick Butcher Former Fatsos restaurant on King Street, Yarmouth is being stripped back to its 17th century origins. Picture: Nick Butcher

Overlooking one of the UK’s finest baroque churches it would have been brimming with glamour and ostentation.

Now, hundreds of years later conservationists are stripping back the layers and uncovering details that give glimpses of its opulent past.

Fatso’s in King Street was for some 30 years a popular eaterie that added to the Georgian street’s busy mix of shops and bars.

Having failed to reach its reserve at auction it was bought by the town’s Preservation Trust, a charity which already owns a dozen buildings in the town.

Darren Barker, project director, said the 18th century building had been acquired at “just the right time.”

And the task of stripping it back was revealing tiny details, insignificant in the themselves, but adding to the story of the building.

At its heart is a huge inglenook fireplace probably pre-dating the main house with a narrow winding staircase leading to the upper two floors.

Still in place are the original 18th century shutters and traces of occupation from the period.

When it was built in 1750, on the site of an older building, it would have been home to a wealthy merchant and his family whose business was run along the Rows that linked the house to the quayside.

Fragments of William Morris-style paper and hessian wallpaper which looks to have an oriental influence - so fine it was nailed to the wall so it could be taken down if the family moved - were also found.

Upstairs in the servants quarters there were no fires and evidence of the lengths the scullery maid or pantry boy would have gone to to keep warm.

For pasted to the walls to keep out draughts was a myriad of advertisements for soaps and handsome clocks that are being carefully removed and preserved.

In the New Year the conversion process will see the house subdivided into a three bedroom, three storey home on one side and offices on the other.

The Sue Lambert Trust, a Norfolk charity which supports survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, is looking to move in, Mr Barker said.

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