Blue Boar Public House
Blue Boar Public House
The Early Years
Although the records are rather scant the Blue Boar seemed to exist as an inn in the 18th century and would at that time have provided accommodation and fare to travellers leaving the city and heading towards the country via the bridge at Wroxham which was the lowest crossing point of the River Bure. Documentary evidence that this was a licensed premises appeared in 1789 when the Blofield, Taverham & Walsham Hundred recorded in their register but spelt it as Blue Boor. St Martins Brewery evidently had tenure as the leasehold was advertised for sale in 1794 In 1834 there was a report in the Norwich Mercury regarding the auction of the premises which certainly makes the point you should never believe what you read. Between the newspaper, auctioneer and solicitor they have put the premises on the wrong road - to Coltishhall. Transcript below.
Seventh of June 1834. To Brewers. To be Sold by auction by Mr William Spelman. At the Norfolk Hotel, Norwich, on Saturday the 14th day of June inst at five o'clock in the afternoon. A valuable freehold property in Sprowston, in Norfolk, in the occupation of messrs. Steward, Patterson and company who are under notice to quit at Michaelmas next, in the following lots.
Lot 1. All that old established Free Public House called "Sprowston Blue Boar" adjoining the much frequented road from Coltishall to Norwich, in which an extensive business has been carried on for many years, with Barn, Stable, and other Offices. Bowling Green, and two pieces of arable land adjoining; the whole containing 2 a - 2 r - 1p.
Lot 2. A Piece of Arable Land, called The First Pightle, containing 2r - 34p. Opposite Lot 1. and on the east side of the before mentioned Road.
Lot 3. A Piece of Arable Land, called The Middle Pightle, containing 1a - 0r - 16p.
Lot 4. A Piece of Arable Land, but joining the last Lot, called The Further Pightle, containing 1a - 0r - 23p.
For further particulars and conditions of sale apply to Messrs. Unthank, Foster and Unthank Solicitors, Norwich, at whose office a map of the estate may be seen.
Moving the Pub
The Blue Boar was situated in a position that in those days would have been the centre of the hamlet of Sprowston and only subsequent development between this hamlet and the city of Norwich would put the premises at the very edge of the parish of Sprowston. It would appear that over the years the premises have undertaken several transformations even to the point of demolition and rebuilding making it's changing position on the map relevant. Certainly one of the rebuilds took place as the new premises opened in 1936 set back from the road. Unfortunately in the latter part of the 20th century the increased traffic required the road to be widened hence the 1936 building was once again replaced yet further back from the road so the road widening scheme could take place.
Over the years as with many public houses the Blue Boar has been the host for many clubs of both sporting and the normal pub or inn the pastimes of darts, cribbage etc. In both world wars it hosted various events becoming the focus point until other facilities were provided for the Civil Defence Volunteers later to become the Home Guard. The other people who used it as the base thus setting out were a mobile FAP unit (First-Aid Post). There was also probably a great number of soldiers used the pub as only a short distance away much of Sprowston Hall had been taken over by the army and used to training prior to the troops deployment overseas. No doubt the Americans were also frequent visitors positioned as it was on the way back to Rackheath Hall being used by the American Army Air Force. The newly built premises were now food orientated and also provided accommodation. As stated providing hosting for many events even to hosting a meeting of Sprowston Heritage at only an hour's notice when the venue being used proved not large enough. This was no doubt helped by the fact the landlord, David Turnbull was one of our early supporters.