This public house stood on the corner of All Saints Green and Queens Road, next to Ivory House. At one time, before the planners moved in with a scheme to widen Queen’s Road, it was in a row of Victorian houses that stretched from Finklegate to St Stephen’s. The Lame Dog was our most convenient pub to my father’s place of work in Surrey Street, because although the Surrey Tavern might have been marginally nearer, going there involved crossing two roads whereas you could reach the Lame Dog without crossing any. That is unless you count Bull Lane, which had been the back way of the houses that had lined Queens Road. By 1970 only an early morning lorry used Bull Lane to leave milk bottles in a warehouse, because all the houses which it used to serve had been demolished, with the sole exception of the Lame Dog itself. It had been a Morgan’s house, and then Bullard’s, but by the end it served us the brews of Watney Mann.
In the days that I am remembering it was already a doomed pub. The rest of the street had already been demolished, and it was clearly only a short while before the wrecking ball would move in on the Lame Dog as well. The terrace of houses in Queen’s Road has been replaced by nothing more exciting than a car park. Nearer St Stephen’s a tower of the medieval City wall had been revealed by the demolition of the Victorian terraced houses, and stands as a reminder of an earlier time. The ancient wall had been incorporated into the later buildings, and had formed no more than another outbuilding among the garden sheds.
At the end the pub was run by a young couple who kept the beer pipes clean at least. The decor had probably seen better days, but with a name like the Lame Dog your expectations were not very high. But the reception we got was always friendly.
So many watering holes round the City have disappeared! The Boar’s Head at the bottom end of Surrey Street, the Trumpet at the top of St Stephen’s, the New Inn and the Pheasant at either end of St Catherine’s Plain, and the Coach and Horses in Red Lion Street are only the nearest to my patch in the city centre. I could go on and on. There was also the Red Lion itself (in Red Lion Street of course), and the Jolly Butchers in Ber Street. It used to be our boast that we had a church for every week of the year and a pub for every day. Neither has been true for many decades now, and the city has nothing to compensate us for the loss.
My father had a poignant memory of the Lame Dog. (By the way I must tell you that it was never called the Lame Dog by the locals; this being a Norfolk pub it was always the Lame Dawg.) My father remembered it in 1928 when the trams were running in Norwich, and his Grannie and Granddad were living in Trowse. His Granddad Phipp Peachey, who had spent most of his working life as warrrener on the Colman estate, was then an old man and was suffering from mental health problems. It was probably what we would nowadays call Alzheimer’s, but such diagnoses were not available then. Anyway, he could no longer be looked after at home and was being transferred to the Bethel Hospital in the centre of Norwich. For some reason my father was in the party which accompanied him on this penultimate journey he made. They asked for the tram fare to the Lame Dawg. My father thought it a sad but appropriate terminus for his poor old Grandfather.
The original position of the Lame Dog was further down Queen’s Road towards St Stephen’s. It had been opposite the entrance to Victoria Station. Before the railways arrived in Norwich it was opposite the entrance to the Ranelagh Gardens. It was rebuilt on the site of another pub, the Brazen Doors, on the corner of Queen’s Road and All Saints’ Green (which was called Upper Surrey Street in the latter part of the nineteenth century). Time was finally called on the Lame Dog in 1976.