THE BUSH, No 55 The Street, Costessey, must be an old established pub, and unlike many others in Costessey, the Falcon for instance, this one is still serving pints. “Good Wine needs no Bush” goes the old saying, and regardless of what this says about the quality of any wine the Bush may have sold, it speaks for the antiquity of the place when most people were illiterate and pub signs were simple pictures, like a bush. The earliest reference to the Bush is said to be 1642 when the publican was Robert Armes. This would have been the same building that appears in the earliest photograph of this series.
Robert Anderson was the landlord for nearly 30 years from 1877 until 1904. He was followed by Charles Miller (or Millar) who was succeeded by Harry Tillotson in 1912. He was licensee through the Great War until 1926. This is about the time when the old Bush was demolished and the new building was erected.Horace James Sexton became the landlord in 1926, followed in the 1930s by Bertie Blogg. Mildred Blogg (his widow?) carried on the business during the Second World War.
The only thing which seems to be the same in the first picture as in the last is, oddly enough, the telegraph pole. This is in the same place in each of these views of the Bush although the actual pole has been replaced at least twice. This was a sign of things to come; the growing importance of telecommunications. It is a most potent symbol of modernity.
The picture of The Bush which appears next was taken in the early 1960s. The Bush is still a Steward and Patteson pub, and the bakers shop next door still has an advert for Hovis bread. Also to be made out are signs announcing Lyons Cakes, Cadbury’s Chocolate and Typhoo Tea. The car in the car park is a Morris Oxford. The doorway into the bar is directly facing us as it is the pre-war picture of the pub. At some stage since then the door has been moved into a position in a single storey extention and it has been moved further back and through 90 degrees. You can see this change in the final picture at the end of this article.The Bush was known as a place that was frequented by members of the trotting community. This meant travellers -or gipsies. It was these people and their way of life and particularly their horses that attracted Munnings (click here to view his picture of the Bush gardens). He went to the pub to drink, meet his friends and their horses and to paint; there are a number of Costessy pictures in his oeuvre. There is a painting which shows one of a group of strolling minstrels who turned up while Munnings and friends were enjoying a pint in the garden behind the Bush. It is entitled “Somewhere the Sun is Shining”.
Somewhere the sun is shining,
Somewhere the songbirds dwell;
Hush, then, thy sad repining,
God lives, and all is well.
When Munnings painted his picture it was the old Bush as it appeared in the first picture. The publican would have been Charles Miller.
I passed the Bush many times while postman in Costessey; 6 days a week including Good Friday in fact. A five day week and all Bank Holidays off was still years away. I last drank in there in September 2006 when I met Mr Whiskerd and friends. I was his postman for several years in the 80s when he lived in Carrs Hill Close.
He had just bought a painting from the junk shop next to the Bush. This shop was a still a baker’s in the picture of the Pub in the 1960s. This propery had been a baker’s shop since at least the beginning of the century. By 2006 it was a junk shop, and before that (when I was postman there) Lenny Abel’s secondhand furniture shop. Last time I was round there it was empty.