A bit fishy? Historic riverside pub set for new life as something completely different

The White Swan pub in Great Yarmouth in 2015 Picture: James Bass

The White Swan pub in Great Yarmouth in 2015 Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

An historic riverside pub is set to enjoy a new lease of life as something completely different.

The White Swan pub in North Quay is poised for a new lease of life as a fishmongers. It has been rep

The White Swan pub in North Quay is poised for a new lease of life as a fishmongers. It has been repainted and will re-open next week. - Credit: Archant

For more than 200 years the White Swan in Great Yarmouth has been a popular watering hole, at one time drawing hundreds of bikers who filled its car park with gleaming machines.

But the hostelry has called time on serving pints to punters and instead the only thing on the menu will be fish, much of it caught locally by the man behind the counter.

Paul Williams and his partner Bridget Lowe are moving their fishmonger business from Northgate Street to North Quay, having fallen hook, line and sinker for the old pub.

Mr Williams, who is also Caister lifeboat coxswain, said work to transform the building had been going on since the end of last year and that he hoped to open on Wednesday, March 20.

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He said parking was a big issue for his business with some of his older customers reliant on cars.

MORE: Then and now: Do you remember these former Great Yarmouth pubs?

Being so visible, right by the quay at one of the main gateway entrances to the town, would also help visitors to find him, with the appeal of taking home fresh fish boxed up in ice still strong for many who live away from the coast.

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“Our business is pretty good and we are hoping it will increase,” he said.

Mr Williams added that after a trawl for a new name, they had settled on keeping the White Swan as an element because it was such a landmark for locals.

Meanwhile butcher Shaun Kennett, currently working out of the Chateau shop in Northgate Street, will also move into the fishmongers shop.

After 38 years in the street there was still plenty of mileage in the business, he said, with many customers, many of which he had grown up with, staying loyal.

Working from the convenience store at a single counter meant he was limited on the ranges he could offer.

But under the new plans co-worker Sue Green was keen to add a delicatessen and make the best use of her “excellent” cooking skills.

According to records the White Swan has been a pub since at least 1817. At one time it was included on an historic ale trail of some of Yarmouth’s finest locals.

Over the years as social habits have changed many of the town’s pubs have been lost and turned into other things like homes, veterinary clinics, and health centres.

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