500 year old house hints at new Jamaican restaurant role
PUBLISHED: 17:40 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:40 21 May 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
A 500-year old house in Great Yarmouth is giving up its secrets and hinting at a new restaurant role.
The former Dee-Thai eaterie in King Street is being stripped out by the town's Preservation Trust as it looks to guarantee its future.
Considered a "rare survival" the building is the last timber-framed structure in the urban area - a once grand house flanked by other overhanging, or "jetted" homes, all with thatched roofs.
Darren Barker, project director for the trust, said the Grade II listed building dated from around 1550 - with English Heritage poised to send experts to accurately dendro-date it using tree-ring technology.
It has been empty for around a decade, but was first built around the same time as the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's warship.
Exposed roof timbers are in good condition and show the maker's mark and etched instructions as to how it should be assembled.
Mr Barker said the buildings were the "original flatpack home" - made off site and built by matching end-to-end notches and Roman numerals.
Having emptied the building out, conservationists could see evidence of multiple re-modellings over the years as rooms were divided and subdivided, stair cases blocked, and new windows put in.
Wallpaper reveals clues of habitation from across the centuries with a bold orange and brown flower print taking a time-machine trip to the 1970s while delicate sprigs of flowers have a hint of the 50s.
At one point, probably in the 1800s, when exposed timber was old hat it was boarded over with packing cases whipped from the port and papered over.
Mr Barker said research had found a former resident from the 1940s who remembered the Belfast sink and a tin bath in front of the fire.
Under the plans a flat-roofed extension will be demolished and a courtyard created.
Beyond that there will be a new-build home helping to improve the back of King Street.
The trust is bidding for funds, likely to be around £500,000.
Restoration will see a two-bed home on the upper floors and commercial use at street level.
Mr Barker said there had been interest from a Jamaican restaurant to come in.
It is the fourth building to be taken over by the trust which most recently converted the former Fatso's restaurant.
It regards itself as the "last resort" of property developing, picking up buildings the market has failed to save.