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Albion Stores, Lowestoft, Norfolk

Picture source: Stewart Marsh


 
The Albion Stores was situated at 101 High Street. This pub closed in 1994 and is now in retail use.
 
This pub was the most easterly pub in the British Isles and was like a time warp back in the late 1970s and early 1980’S; which were my formative/teenage years in Lowestoft, the most easterly town in the U.K. and once one of the top 3 fishing ports in the British Isles. It had 3 levels of bars as I recall, you entered through a nondescript door on the High Street, and went down a few steps to what was a saloon bar for the old timers and regulars, then up a few steps to a secondary level which I remember being a whole lot brighter due to the sunlight emanating through the bay window located at the back of the pool room, which was itself located another 3 steps higher, and had the dual effect of not only illuminating the lounge or second level but also of making the lower level darker and more conspiratorial lol. The first time I went in there was with an old school mate of mine one Saturday morning and I recall playing pool and winning against some of the local guys. My mate and I were about 13 or so and well under age and we only dared ask for half pints, and as the old saying goes, -“You get worse on halves than you do on pints “, well we were young and not seasoned drinkers, and were trying to chat up some girls from the Kirkley High school, and I think I went down on bended knee in the middle of the High Street, so enamoured had I become of one of the young ladies in question, after 3 halves of bitter and the effects of the cold air and the unaccustomed alcohol intake. I recall playing pool against their team for the Anchor Hotel a few years later and Trevor Bardwell always used to joke about the second level, which could have been a metaphor for purgatory separating the light-filled upper levels (heaven), from the dark and somewhat dingy/shadowy saloon bar,(hell). He would periodically shout in his semi inebriated happy tones “No smoking on the poop deck” ! The barman/landlord was a guy called Cecil, and in keeping with the theme of the place was always dressed in ironed white shirt, a dark necktie with immaculate Windsor knot, and a satin-backed lined black waistcoat and those elasticated silver things that blokes wore just above the elbow which were supposed to keep the sleeves of the shirt in the same place, there was also a pocket watch complete with fob and chain, that completed the “uniform”. Unfortunately, Cecil had Parkinson’s Disease too, which was the subject of much mirth from some of us younger and somewhat stupid clientele, who would delight in seeing him fill a pint glass from the tap only to see it lose around a quarter of it’s contents by the time he had delivered it to the bar top: a distance of around 2 feet in total perhaps. It closed and became a shop around the early 90’s run by Stella Bostock, wife of a local Labour Councillor, but what the business that currently operates from the premises is I cannot say. Fond memories of a unique pub, which proudly displayed a brass plaque claiming its place as Britain’s most easterly boozer! Apologies to persons either living or departed for using their names, but that is just how I recall it. Doubtless I will be corrected by my partner in crime from those days Dainesy, who will certainly have a better recollection of the place than I.
Peter Wendon (June 2017)
 
I remember the Albion from the early sixties when Jack and Kath Blunden held the tenancy,Jack held a very open mind where the gambling laws were concerned and most days and nights there were card and dice schools in both the bar and the top room with a special dice game held every Sunday lunchtime in the lower bar. One particular poker game sticks vividly in my mind because I was due to go on holiday on the Friday and lost all my holiday money on the Wednesday,it was a good job big brother bailed me out with a loan. I well remember going to Yarmouth races and then on to the Yarmouth dog track with Jack,my eldest brother Bobby, and Jackie 'Pimp' Boakes, we would go in Jack's new Jag which was a beautiful motor.If we returned late Jack would send me, as the youngest, in first, to keep Kath talking whilst he tried to sneak down the stairs to his living accommodation,invariably he got caught and received a severe nagging much to the amusement of the drinkers.The pub always seemed to have a very distinct dividing line between the dart players in the lower bar and the fishing boys in their very smartly tailored, multi coloured suits in the top bar.The juke box was always playing, people were always happy and all in all it was a real pub in the true tradition of real pubs .The Taxi drivers in the town loved the Albion because it was always used as a starting pub for those going dancing at either the Royal Hotel or the South Pier. Christmas time in the Albion was always special and Jack and Kath certainly knew how to throw a party. One thing which always amazed me was that given that some really hard men drank in the Albion there was very seldom any trouble - a tribute to the professional way in which Jack and Kath ran the establishment. I have very fond memories of the Albion because it was there at Christmas time 1964 that I first met my wife Carol and we are shortly to celebrate our fifty first wedding anniversary. Unfortunately I don't have any photographs taken in the pub, but if anyone does have any it would be great to see them.The Albion was, without a doubt, a really great pub when Jack and Kath ran it.The last time my wife and I went in was several years ago now when it was a coffee shop .........the coffee was nice but when I looked around I felt strangely sad and I could swear I heard a Juke box playing '' Sailor stop your roaming''. I feel certain that many, many other people must share my fond memories of what was a great pub, run by a great Landlord and a great Landlady and it would be nice to hear from them.
Terry Capps-Jenner (August 2017)
 

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Name Dates Comments
Terry Capps-Jenner 1960-1966 In the 1960s the Landlord and Landlady were Jack and Kath Blunden.At that time the pub was the favourite watering hole of the fishing boys in their brightly coloured suits and as Jack held a fairly open mind about the gambling laws there would be dice and poker schools taking place frequently.I also met my wife Carol, then Carol George, in the Albion at Christmas 1964 and we are still happily married almost 53 years later.
Other Photos

Picture source: Darkstar