The Iron Duke


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Jellicoe Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 4HG


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Statutory Address:
Jellicoe Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 4HG

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

Great Yarmouth (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Art Deco public house built in the late 1930s and completed in 1948 to the designs of Arthur W Ecclestone.

Reasons for Designation

The Iron Duke, an Art Deco public house built in the late 1930s and completed in 1948 to the designs of Arthur W Ecclestone, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* The Iron Duke's Art Deco style, with its distinctive massing, curved frontages and flat roofs, is visually arresting, and elements such as the loggia and fluted columns add interest;

* A variety of detailing in finely laid brickwork provides a rich textural interest to the elevations, whilst the use of flint references a vernacular building material within a very modern aesthetic;

* The plan form consisting of a vestibule leading into the large open plan lounge bar and saloon bar survives in its original configuration;

* Historic internal fixtures and fittings remain that reflect its original design;

Historic interest:

* A well-preserved example of an improved inter-war pub; a building type that is under increasing threat from change and demolition.


Pubs of the inter-war period are of special note as, unlike pubs of other dates, they were intimately bound up with social and political thought and idealism. The construction or alteration of these pubs coincided with a period of unsettlement and controversy regarding the ‘drink question’ in England, when alcohol and the way and places in which it was sold and consumed were debated. On account of the rigorous and complicated licensing processes, the government was instrumental in the design, planning and location of pubs. Inter-war pubs are thus often of interest at a national level, especially those which follow the aims of pub improvement, reflecting as they do contemporary thought – by politicians, justices, brewers, planners and architects – about alcohol and how it was best managed and presented.

There was no single type of public house during the inter-war period but most significant new pubs were carried out with the aims and principles of improvement in mind. In particular, they were often plainer in design than earlier pubs, frequently incorporated refreshment and function rooms and other recreational facilities, and many were of significant size, with carefully planned grounds. The predominant styles were neo-Georgian and neo-Tudor or Tudor Revival. In contrast were the Moderne and Art Deco styles which served to ally pubs with other new building types, such as cinemas, to highlight their novel ambitions, and to make them stand out in the streetscape. These styles increasingly came to be used for public houses around the country from the early 1930s but pubs built on these lines were always in a minority. In plan, public houses of the inter-war period continued to include the two main traditional bars – public bar and saloon bar – though these were increasingly accessed via entrance halls or vestibules, rather than directly from the street. Also, they were generally larger and more open spaces, without the ‘snugs’ and other small compartments that had characterised the pub plan of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Construction of The Iron Duke is believed to have begun in the late 1930s but was halted at the outbreak of the Second World War. It was first licensed in August 1940 and the Lounge Bar temporarily opened for the soldiers stationed along the North Beach. Building work was completed in 1948 when the Saloon Bar was added. The public house takes its name from the Dreadnought Battleship, HMS Iron Duke (1912), the flagship of the Grand Fleet. The ‘Iron Duke’ was the name given to the Duke of Wellington. It was built for Lacons Brewery which was based in Great Yarmouth, which at its height produced 25 million pints of beer a year, had 300 pubs throughout East Anglia and 50 in London. It closed in 1968, but the name has recently been revived by a local brewer operating on a much smaller scale. The use of the falcon in relief panels and sculptural decoration on Lacons establishments became an instantly recognisable image for local people. Whitbread acquired Lacons in 1965 and around this date carried out some refurbishment to the interior of The Iron Duke, perhaps including the built-in seating areas, although these may date to the post-war completion. The Iron Duke was closed and boarded up around 2007/8, and is now in a poor state of repair.

The architect responsible for The Iron Duke was Arthur W Ecclestone, Licentiate of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was articled to J W Cockrill, the Borough Surveyor and Architect of Great Yarmouth, who was also known as ‘concrete Cockrill’ for having invented the Cockrill-Doulton Patent tile. In 1920 Ecclestone joined Lacons where his father A J Ecclestone was Chief Surveyor, later taking over the position of Principal Surveyor and Architect upon his father’s retirement in 1938. Ecclestone designed a number of public houses for the brewery in the late 1930s in both the neo-vernacular and Moderne styles, including The Clipper Schooner in Great Yarmouth (1938), the Links Hotel in Gorleston (1939) and The Norman in Lowestoft, Suffolk. After the war he designed the South Star Inn in Great Yarmouth (plans approved in 1950), The Gallon Pot (a neo-Georgian pub of 1959), and the Never Turn Back in Caister (1956), amongst others. Ecclestone was interested in local history and archaeology which seems to be reflected in his choice of vernacular building materials, and he was known for his use of decorative ceramics in the design of pub signs. In addition to designing for Lacons, Ecclestone undertook work on domestic buildings and was responsible for extensions and alterations to two historic buildings in Great Yarmouth, both of which are listed at Grade II: Shadingfield Lodge, a mid-C19 house, and Sewell House, an early-C17 house and childhood home of Anna Sewell, the author of Black Beauty.


Art Deco public house built in the late 1930s and completed in 1948 to the designs of Arthur W Ecclestone.

MATERIALS: it is constructed of concrete with a steel frame, and is clad in red brick laid in various bonds, with brick and red clay-tile dressings and flint detailing. The roofs are flat and covered in (replacement) asphalt sheeting.

PLAN: the building occupies the corner of Jellicoe Road and North Drive, facing out over North Denes Dunes to the sea. It has an approximately rectangular plan with the main entrance on the east elevation leading to the saloon bar in the single-storey projection to the north, and the lounge bar to the south which provides access to a loggia.

EXTERIOR: The Iron Duke is in the Art Deco style with irregular elevations. The main block is of two storeys with single-storey projections along the east and south sides, some curved, and all under flat roofs. The doors and windows were boarded up during the site visit (19 October 2017) but the fenestration was visible from the interior. Although only some of the glazing remains, the original frames are intact. The principal windows to the two bars have large curved wooden frames divided by two mullions and narrow horizontal glazing bars along the top and bottom. The first-floor windows, and those to the subsidiary areas on the ground floor, are metal-framed casements, square or horizontal in shape, with horizontal glazing bars. Those on the ground floor have lintels of vertical tile creasing. The building has a cornice of brick headers and some areas have a plinth of vertical brick stretchers. A number of the original decorative rainwater hoppers survive, bearing the emblem of the Iron Duke.

On the east elevation the off-centre entrance, accessed via three steps of blue engineering brick, has a double-leaf, multi-panelled door (not original) with an overlight and margin lights. This is flanked by two narrow, curved pier-like projections, which extend beyond the eaves line. The brickwork of these is laid in stretcher bond with cornices of vertical tile creasing. The falcons that originally surmounted the piers have recently been removed for health and safety reasons (October 2017) and are being stored. The shallow canopy in between has the remains of a timber fascia board which probably conceals the original narrow edging visible on historic photographs. Small windows on either side are flanked by a line of single knapped flints positioned on alternative brick courses, referencing the flint flushwork common on Norfolk churches. On the right is the rectangular projection on the north-east corner of the building in which the saloon bar is located. This has curved corners and the brickwork is laid in header bond. Three steps lead up to the double-leaf door (not original) with an overlight and margin lights, also flanked by narrow, curved projections which are here clad in fluted concrete with a glazed finish. The wide canopy has a later wooden fascia board which probably conceals the original edging. To the left of the central entrance, a bow-shaped projection, housing part of the lounge, wraps around the south-east corner of the building. The three windows are divided by two fluted columns, with a canopy above which has a similar fascia board already described. Behind these single-storey projections rises the first floor which has a white painted string course at lintel level. The outer corners are curved, and on the east side it has a deep recess above the central entrance.

Along the south elevation, at the left hand side, three steps lead up to the double-leaf door (not original) with an overlight and margin lights, flanked by two large windows. Above these apertures projects a wide loggia which has a canopy with curved corners supported by fluted columns. A dwarf wall forming two small semicircular enclosures on either side of the loggia has been partially dismantled. To the right of this is a tall recessed panel with quoins of brighter red brick embellished with knapped flint and two orders of bullnosed brick. A square brick panel at the top is laid in vertical stretcher bond, upon which is fixed an oval ceramic plaque bearing a falcon and the word LACONS. In front of this panel are steps up to the loggia and a cellar hatch. Behind the loggia at first-floor level is a wide central projection with curved corners and horizontally channelled brickwork, with windows at either end.

The subsidiary rear west and north elevations have irregularly placed windows with brick jambs of a brighter hue, interspersed with knapped flint. This detailing is repeated in the quoins. Along the short west elevation is a dwarf wall formed into crenellations. A rear yard, or former beer garden, is enclosed by tall brick walls (adjoining the building) laid in Flemish bond, punctuated by square piers decorated with flints and tile creasing laid horizontally and vertically just below the flat cappings.

INTERIOR: the configuration of the rooms on the ground and first-floor remains as planned, and numerous original fixtures, fittings and joinery survive, including plywood doors with brass handles and cast-iron radiators. Some elements probably date to a refurbishment in the late 1960s, including the panelled doors and possibly the raised seating areas.

The central entrance hall, which has square panelling to the lower half of the walls with a panelled cornice above, leads into the saloon bar on the right and the lounge bar on the left. The ceilings of these rooms have deep ribs, arranged in a grid pattern, and a moulded cornice. In the saloon bar, the curved entrance bay is flanked by full-height semicircular timber (or plywood) piers supported on semicircular plinths. The piers contained lights behind curved glazing but this has been removed. The bar is raised on a shallow, tile-lined plinth, and is flanked by pier lights, like those already described. It is of plywood with a Formica counter top, a panelled front, security grille, and cornice with flush panelling above. Behind the bar, the fitted shelves, cupboards and mirrors in wooden frames are all intact, as is the tiled floor laid in basketweave. Opposite the bar a platform with plain timber rails contains a fitted, upholstered bench, flanked by pier lights. At the far end (west) another bench is fitted beneath the curved window.

The lounge bar has full-height, large, rectangular panels. It contains a similar panelled bar to the saloon bar but it is longer and does not have the flanking pier lights. It retains fitted shelves and cupboards, and small beige tiles to the rear wall with two bands of green tiles. At the far (west) end there is a brick fireplace with a grate and tiled hearth. To the left of this, the door that opens onto the loggia is flanked by fitted benches in the window alcoves, followed by a platform with another fitted bench. The south-east corner bay is also fitted with benches and has a central octagonal pier with panelled faces.

The timber staircase to the rear of the building is a straight flight with a quarter turn, a large-panelled soffit and square newel posts. The first-floor provided accommodation and is plain in its detailing. It retains skirting boards and cornices, some built-in cupboards and one gas fire. There are extensive cellars with plank and batten doors and a small lift shaft.


Norfolk Public Houses , accessed 20 October 2017 from
Emily Cole, The Urban and Suburban Public House in Inter-War England, 1918-1939, Historic England Research Report Series no. 004-2015 (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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