Norwich – The Old Barge and Henry Goulder

150 years ago today, on 25 February 1871, the Norwich Mercury reported that Henry Goulder of King Street had become “drunk and riotous” and had broken a square of glass in the window of the Old Barge pub. He had caused damage that cost 3 shillings to repair, and in a court hearing chaired by the Mayor of Norwich he was fined 1 shilling and ordered to pay 5 shillings 6d in costs.

George Plunkett has a photo of King Street from 1935 where the Old Barge is visible, along the sign noting that ales and stouts were available. It’s also possible to see the sign noting that the pub was owned by Youngs, Crawshay & Youngs Ltd. The pub was damaged during air raids during the Second World War, but it re-opened and it continued trading until 1969. I quite like that the boot scraper from the pub’s entrance is still visible in my photo of the building today, although the door has been converted into a window.

Sadly, this isn’t a pub today, it’s part of Dragon Hall, but a pub would be a fine way to allow the public to get access to the building now that the Dragon Hall museum has closed. Although I think lots of buildings would be better used as pubs, but rarely does that seem to happen at the moment.

Back to the crime though, Henry Goulder worked as a waterman and had clearly got a little over-excited with the drinks sold by the pub. But it’s rare that in the Victorian period that someone committed one crime and then nothing more was heard of them. Goulder seems to have been a bloody nuisance to the community and to the police. He had been arrested by Constable Emms in 1848 and brought before the court and its chair Samuel Bignold, charged with riotous assembly on Mousehold Heath where he had to give sureties totalling £20. That’s around £1,600 in today’s money, so I take it that he annoyed Samuel, who was also the General Secretary of Norwich Union.

This punishment clearly didn’t help, as in 1850, Goulder and two others entered the Prince of Orange pub on King Street and ordered beer which they then refused to pay for. Goulder hit the landlord, Thomas Adcock, and continued to beat him whilst he was on the floor, and he then attacked the landlord’s wife who came to help her husband. Goulder was fined £10 and told he would go to prison if he didn’t pay it. He was in court again for drunken behaviour in 1863 as well, but it was said that he was an industrious man when sober. It was clear that he had problems with alcohol and I can imagine he had a reputation on King Street for that.

His demise was reported by the Norfolk Chronicle in July 1881, as Goulder had been swimming (and this was known as the media reported noted “he had his swimming drawers on”) and fell from the wherry Dart, which was moored against the quay on Fye Bridge. He was drowned and it was reported that he had had a seizure which had caused him to fall, with his address noted as being in the Lanes Buildings on King Street.