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‘We had no clue what was in there’ - Forgotten hotel safe cracked open after 50 years

PUBLISHED: 16:35 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:32 16 January 2019

A secret safe has been discovered at the Palm Court Hotel in North Drive Picture: Liz Bishop Photography

A secret safe has been discovered at the Palm Court Hotel in North Drive Picture: Liz Bishop Photography

Liz Bishop Photography

The owners of a Norfolk hotel were on tenterhooks as they broke open an old safe re-discovered during refurbishment work.

The cutting that was found in safe where it had been safely stored for more than 50 years Picture: Palm Court HotelThe cutting that was found in safe where it had been safely stored for more than 50 years Picture: Palm Court Hotel

But rather than bundles of cash or priceless heirlooms, they found a different kind of treasure - an old newspaper cutting from the summer of 1966 telling the history of the 70-room Palm Court on Great Yarmouth’s seafront.

The find comes after an old letter revealed how Joe Delf, the grandfather of co-owners Jason and Nick Delf, had pleaded to be released by the Royal Air Force at the end of the Second World War so he could save his ailing hotel business.

“We had no clue what was in there” said Jason Delf.

“So we thought we might as well break it open and if there is money, we’re laughing.

The wall safe at the Palm Court Hotel which has been prised open for the first time in decades Picture: Palm Court HotelThe wall safe at the Palm Court Hotel which has been prised open for the first time in decades Picture: Palm Court Hotel

“All that was in there was a scruffy bit of old newspaper.”

MORE: Letter found in Norfolk hotel reveals RAF war hero’s desperate plea to save his business

But the faded cutting from the Great Yarmouth Mercury revealed some important details.

Dated August 12 1966 and headed ‘North Drive hotel changes hands’, it reveals the full story of how the hotel was sold by Harry Smith to the Delfs, who owned the Burlington Hotel next door.

Fascinatingly for Jason and Nick, the article has helped fill in the gaps in the information they had about their grandfather, explaining how he was trained as a chef at the Bayswater Hotel and Restaurant in London.

“I imagine Mr Smith put it in the safe back in 1966, so it’s been like a little time capsule,” said Jason.

“I knew he trained in London and he said he had all these knives which were made in a foundry in Soho.

“Now I know all the details thanks to this story.

“My dad was chuffed when we showed it to him because it names him in there.”

Previously, it was reported how Joe Delf typed a letter to his superiors in the RAF from his barracks at Sambre, near Belgaum in India on September 17, 1945.

He pleaded to be released from his service as the Imperial Hotel had finally been returned to him by the military, exposing him to significant debts, and he needed to reopen it.

It was in 1959 that Mr Delf bought The Burlington and seven years later he acquired The Palm Court at auction.

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