Most visitors to Great Yarmouth head to the sea front; Marine Parade and the ‘Golden Mile’ of sandy beaches, two piers and the Pleasure Beach amusement park. Few would have a reason to cross the river at Haven Bridge and head to the terraced streets and warehouses of Southtown.
In the middle of the terraced streets of Southtown stands the Lichfield Arms. Only locals and some students from the nearby college are likely to come across this pub. The gates and railings around the yard aren’t inviting and it was with some trepidation that we entered, but inside it’s a welcoming backstreet pub.
The beers are mostly the usual lagers so we opted for the Greene King IPA
“Flat or smooth?”
When we visited during the Jubilee weekend there were locals of all ages, bunting along the bar and a DJ with an ACME Sound System playing pop classics. Inside it’s one open space with the bar in the main carpeted lounge area, a long lounge seat facing the bar, a wooden floored space to the left side for dancing and darts, and a room to the right leading to the outside yard. No ‘real ale trail’ would lead you here, but the beer was in good nick, a pleasant GK IPA.
Built around 1891 on land owned by the Earl of Lichfield, it was flattened by a bomb during WWII.
“Another time, this was about 7 in the morning, a German fighter bomber sneaked in low over the town and dropped his bomb on Southtown Railway station. But this time because the aircraft was so low, the bomb did not have the chance to turn vertical and hit the concrete at an angle, causing it to ricochet up, flying over our row of houses, coming down on the Lichfield Arms pub, about 200 yards from us, and flattened that, killing the landlord and his wife.”
Anson Arms (closed 2010)
The Anson Arms, amongst the timber yards and dry docks along the river Yare opposite South Quay, was established in 1814 according to Norfolkpubs.co.uk and originally stood at 243 Southtown Road. In 1958 the license moved across the road to number 73. That closed in May 2010 and is now a curtain and bedding shop. The two former pubs stand opposite each other.
Anson Arms could refer to the Earl of Lichfield, Thomas Anson, or his younger brother George Anson who served under Wellington at Waterloo and was an MP for Great Yarmouth between 1818-1835. Great Yarmouth History quotes Charles Palmer’s Perlustration of Great Yarmouth (1872):
Further south is a public house called the Anson Arms, built in 1814 by Samuel Paget, Esq., under a lease then granted by the Hon. Mary Anson, widow of… George Adams Anson and daughter of the first Lord Vernon
Further along Southtown Road, the last pub before reaching Gorleston is the Rumbold Arms, an early 19th century pub named after Charles Rumbold, an MP for Great Yarmouth three times between 1818-1857.