NorwichStreets of Norwich

Streets of Norwich – Jolly Butchers Yard

Part of my Streets of Norwich project…. [updated in September 2023]


Jolly Butchers Yard is located off of Oak Street and is named after the pub which stands to the left of the yard and which traded until 1989 when it was converted into offices the following year.


The yard is still there and there are residential properties within it, so this is one of the yards which retains some of its former character. It’s a shame that the pub is no longer trading as it had been a licensed premises since the beginning of the nineteenth century and was clearly packed with intrigue and adventure.


There’s a plaque which notes that Black Anna (her real name was Antoinette Hannent), the jazz and blues singer, lived here between 1935 and 1976 and she got the name as she only wore black clothing. She said about this habit (please note the clever wordplay there given what she said….), “I’ve had people ask what order I belong to, a bad one I tell them” and the below video clip features her saying this. The video was filmed in the Jolly Butchers in what was probably the early 1970s and it’s entirely evident what an amazing and inspirational landlady she must have been.

There was a news story published in the Yarmouth Independent in May 1936 which had the title “GREAT BIG ROW” which sounds very Archant…… It noted that Walter Douglas from 7 Jolly Butchers Yard had an argument with his wife Gertrude Douglas and they used foul language within the yard during this big row. Elizabeth Carrara was watching the dispute from her window on the rear of Ber Street and it was actually her who made a statement about the “great big row” as she called it. I rather fear that this was a matter of domestic abuse, but the court decided to fine them each five shillings for their abusive language.