The Iron Duke in Great Yarmouth, once flagship of Norfolk brewers Lacons, is perhaps the most complete art deco pub in the country in terms of both conception and preservation, but its survival is currently under threat.

Campaigners want the company that owns the Iron Duke on Great Yarmouth’s seafront to either sell up, or reopen it.

The art deco building is owned by Bourne Leisure, parent company to a number of holiday companies including Butlin’s, Haven and Warner.

The now boarded pub has stood empty for 13 years. Despite this, it still has many fans in the town. Campaign group Friends of the Iron Duke have strong ideas about the pub’s future, which was Grade II listed three years ago.

Friends of the Iron Duke campaigner Caroline Jones said: “The Iron Duke in Great Yarmouth is a rare and unusually grand example of an art deco public house, built in the late 1930s as the flagship of the town’s Lacons Brewery.

“The Iron Duke public house was designed by AW Ecclestone for the Lacons brewery. Once a hugely popular pub, it was acquired by Bourne Leisure who did not want a pub open next to their Haven Holiday  Camp.

“They closed the pub in 2007 with the intention of demolishing this art deco beauty. The Friends of the Iron Duke applied to List the historic pub in August of 2017. Grade II Listing was awarded in November of the same year.”

Bourne Leisure immediately appealed the Listing which was rejected by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Since then, the Friends of the Iron Duke have continued to campaign for Bourne Leisure to release the pub so it can be open for everyone to enjoy.

Jones said: “Noted as nationally important by Historic England. [It is] a rare surviving example of interwar architecture. The bars are made from teak taken from the WW1 Battleship HMS Iron Duke, captained by Admiral Jellicoe at the Battle of Jutland.

“The interior was decorated with hand painted murals of the battle. The pub survives in its original configuration with internal fixtures and fittings intact but in a poor state of disrepair.

“Bourne Leisure have repeatedly refused offers to sell, stating that they will not open the pub or sell it, and will oppose compulsory purchase, essentially blocking this historic pub’s future.”

For more on the campaign to save the pub

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