The Gatehouse public house


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Dereham Road, Norwich, NR5 8QJ


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Statutory Address:
Dereham Road, Norwich, NR5 8QJ

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Norwich (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


An inter-war public house built by Morgans Brewery in Norwich in 1934 to replace a C19 building of the same name, on the same site, close to the city's newly-developed outer ring road.

Reasons for Designation

The Gatehouse, an inter-war public house built by the Norwich-based Morgans Brewery in 1934, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the building is a well-preserved and carefully-detailed example of an ' improved' public house of the inter-war period, its design an unusual and distinctive fusion of Arts and Crafts and local vernacular building influences;

* Completeness: the Gatehouse has undergone little significant external alteration to its principal elevations and retains a high proportion of its original fixtures and fittings, including an original bar counter and back bar, wall panelling, decorative plasterwork and fireplaces in two of the three bar areas;

* Plan form: the original interior plan of the Gatehouse remains clearly legible, with minor alterations which have not obscured the evidence of its original spatial sub-divisions and the hierarchy of bar areas within the public house;

* Planning interest: the Gatehouse remains closely related to the Norwich outer ring road, the development of which would have influenced the brewery's decision to rebuild the public house in its present form;


The inter-war ‘improved’ or ‘reformed’ public house developed from a desire to cut back on the amount of drunkenness associated with conventional Victorian and Edwardian public houses. Licensing magistrates and breweries combined to improve the facilities and reputation of the building type. Improved pubs were generally more spacious than their predecessors, often with restaurant facilities, function rooms and gardens, and consciously appealed to families and to a mix of incomes and classes. Central, island serveries with counters opening onto several bar areas allowed the monitoring of customers and also the efficient distribution of staff to whichever area needed service. Many, although not all, of the new pubs were built as an accompaniment to new suburban development around cities, and a policy of ‘fewer and better’ was followed by magistrates both in town and on the outskirts. A licence might be granted for a new establishment on surrender of one or more licences for smaller urban premises. Approximately 1,000 new pubs were built in the 1920s – the vast majority of them on ‘improved’ lines - and almost 2,000 in the period 1935-39. Neo-Tudor and Neo-Georgian were the favoured styles, although others began to appear at the end of the period.

The Gatehouse public house was built by the long-established Norwich brewers Morgans, who in 1868 were granted a license for the C19 or earlier public house on the site. The present building was completed in 1934, during a period of extensive development in and around Norwich, including the construction of an outer ring road for the city. It was probably this latter project which influenced the brewery's decision to rebuild the Gatehouse, the site of which lay close to a major roundabout on the new ring road. The architect has not been identified, but the builders were a local firm, R.G. Carter. The building has undergone some external alteration, most notably the addition of the present porch in the 1970's and later the creation of a lean-to and access staircase to the rear. Internally, partitions, a fireplace and a chimneystack were removed during the 1970's, and further minor alterations were carried out in the mid-1980's to link rooms at the east end of the building.


The Gatehouse is an inter-war public house, completed in 1934, its design an eclectic mixture of Arts and Crafts, neo-Tudor and local vernacular detailing, located close to a major junction on Norwich's outer ring road. The building's architect has not yet been identified.

MATERIALS The building is constructed of red brick with ashlar stone dressings and plain tile roof coverings. There is external decorative chequer work in knapped flint and render, and the irregular placement of vitrified bricks for decorative effect..

PLAN The building is of an irregular T-shaped plan, its original form slightly obscured by a C20 rear extension.

EXTERIOR The building is aligned east-west, its principal (south) elevation set back from Dereham Road. It occupies a sloping site, with land falling away to the north and south-west. At the west end of the site is a two-storey range with a curved, tower like frontage, the upper floor of which is decorated with knapped flint and render chequer work. Each level of the curved front has three windows, those to the upper floor are two-light, leaded casements, while those below are taller, leaded cross windows. At the right-hand side of the curved walling is a tall, externally-expressed chimney stack, of tiered profile. The west-end elevation incorporates a doorway with a massive ashlar surround beneath a gable within which there is a heraldic crest, and flanking finials. To the left of the doorway are three, two-storey bays, the central bay recessed, and the outer bays with gablets. The recessed bay has upper-floor chequer work, and at its base is a crenellated single-storey projection. Further to the left is a much more plainly detailed, two-storey range with replacement window frames, thought to be the accommodation for the manager or tenant.

The remaining part of the south elevation is a long single-storey range set back from the curved front wall of the two-storey range with a tall, steeply-pitched roof and a single tiered ridge chimney stack. At the junction of the two ranges is a second small crenellated ground-floor structure extending from the base of the adjacent chimney stack. Further right is a wide ashlar, six-light mullion and transom window, the lights with pointed heads. Above is a low five-light mullioned window set beneath a small gable, within which is set a datestone bearing the date 1934. Towards the centre of the range is a single-storey porch with a hipped roof and a central half-glazed door with small flanking windows. The porch was added in the 1970s, the door and windows re-set from their original position on the front elevation. Beyond the porch is a further four-light casement window, and at the east end, a canted bay window is set beneath a shallow hipped projection within the main hipped end of the roof. The windows throughout the principal elevations incorporate leaded glazing.

INTERIOR The interior of the public house is divided into three distinct compartments, a long central public bar, a saloon bar at the west end and a smoke room at the east end, with toilets to the rear of this area. The porch gives access to what were originally two external doors, clearly shown in a 1939 photograph of the front elevation. The left-hand door gives access to the public bar, which retains a contemporary bar counter with a panelled frontage and a back bar structure. At its east end, the main counter terminates at a small servery set at right angles to the main counter, and facing into the bar room at the east end. The counter is believed to have originally formed part of an off-sales compartment, now lost as a result of alterations in the 1970's. The public bar has fixed seating against the south wall, and a high ceiling which imitates an open roof space, with applied timbers imitating roof members. The upper area of the 'roof' space is lit by the gable window set above the mullion and transom window which illuminates the lower bar area. At the east end of the bar area is a brick fireplace set below a panelled overmantle. The mullion and transom window incorporates some decorative stained glass in the form of six roundels depicting objects or figures in a medieval or Tudor style. The bar room at the east end has three-quarter height panelling and a narrow decorative plaster frieze with depictions of hops, flowers and leaves, interrupted by diagonal floral lozenges. The frieze extends into the public bar, above the back bar shelving and then into the saloon bar at the west end of the building, originally entered from the elaborate entrance in the west end wall. The bar has three-quarter height panelling and a Tudor-style fireplace in a panelled surround set within a curved wall. There is a redundant servery recess on the north wall which is thought to be the surviving section of the saloon bar counter which was modified when toilets were created at the west end of the building in the 1970's. Fixtures and Fittings The Gatehouse retains a significant proportion of its original interior fittings, including bar and back bar structures, door and window joinery, stained glass and wall panelling, as described above. Despite minor internal alterations, the surviving fixtures and fittings provide a clear indication of the different decorative finishes considered to be an appropriate means of distinguishing the status of the different bar rooms within a public house of this period.


Emily Cole, ‘The Urban and Suburban Public House in Inter-War England, 1918-1939’, Historic England Research Report Series, no. 4/2015


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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