The first pub in our little day trip was the White Swan, a listed building located opposite the church and a hospitality venue since the end of the eighteenth century which is also from around the period it was constructed.
There were two real ales available, the Black Sheep Best Bitter and the Hobgoblin Gold, with prices being towards the higher end of the scale.
We were drinking half pints for reasons of economy and the Black Sheep Bitter was adequate but I’m not sure it was at its absolute best, but the bacon fries helped to lift things a little.
The interior was quite eclectic, but this was a pub that seemed to have a broad trade base and was trying to cover the needs of those wanting to watch sport, listen to live music, play pool or have a quiet pint. The environment was welcoming and the pub was clean, with the service always being friendly with a community feel to it.
I was pleased to see numerous photos around the pub of how it once looked, with this one being from the period that it was operated by Bullards. Apparently in August 1977 the landlord of the White Swan, Barry Cunningham, organised a race where drinkers pushed a pram around the pubs of North Walsham having a pint in each. It sounds an interesting affair, especially as there were once more pubs in the town than there are today.
Pool tables make an appearance in nearly all of the pubs in North Walsham. Shame they don’t have a bar billiards table, but that’s a different matter.
I know that pianos in pubs were once far more commonplace and secretly I’m glad that this is no longer the case, as drunken people banging about on the keys would disrupt my analysis of beer. This reminds me of how many pianos were smashed up in the 1980s in the name of sport, something that seemed to be a common event at village fetes. I’m not really interested in things that involve destruction, but whatever amused people at the time I suppose.
But, back to the pub and away from my flights of fancy, this was a traditional community pub which offered a comfortable environment and broad appeal.