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'We must run this pub' - Historic venue restored by Norfolk beer legends

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:47 26 April 2019

Pub Manager, Jodie Barrett. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Pub Manager, Jodie Barrett. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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Nestled down a rutted track on the Norfolk-Suffolk border is latest brainchild of Grain Brewery, as they reveal the refurbishment of a historic pub in the region.

The Locks pub in Geldeston has had a stunning transformation since Grain's Brewery takeover. Picture: Victoria PertusaThe Locks pub in Geldeston has had a stunning transformation since Grain's Brewery takeover. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Four years ago The Locks in Geldeston, near Beccles, was overrun with trees and bushes, and the building was badly maintained.

Since then, the space has been transformed by Grain – a Norfolk-based brewery that owns The Plough and The Cottage in Norwich, as well as The Spread Eagle in Ipswich.

Geoff Wright, director of Grain Pubs, said: “I'd heard about the infamous Locks at Geldeston years before I went there for the first time.

“So, I was excited to be finally heading down there for work as part of my job, selling beers for Grain.

Geoff Wright, Area Manager from Grain Brewery. Picture: Victoria PertusaGeoff Wright, Area Manager from Grain Brewery. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

“It was the winter of 2014, and as I turned into Locks Lane I saw, with trepidation, that the whole track looked like a lake, totally flooded, with just trees and bushes showing you where the edge of the track ends and the marshes begin.

“When I got to the pub, I found that the badly maintained track, the lack of mains electricity, its remoteness and its proneness to flooding did nothing to stop the screaming voices in my head, telling me that we must run this pub one day.”

Since then, the business owner has been working tirelessly to breath new life into the pub.

He said: “We have sympathetically updated the look and feel of the bar, lounge and dining room and kept the candle-lit main bar true to its heritage.

The Locks pub in Geldeston has had a stunning transformation since Grain's Brewery takeover. Picture: Victoria PertusaThe Locks pub in Geldeston has had a stunning transformation since Grain's Brewery takeover. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

“However, behind the scenes we have changed quite a bit.”

In the 1670s, a man named Francis Matthew deepened the Waveney River and built a series of locks to allow wherry boats to transport the grains to the maltings and breweries.

According to the owners, The Locks has a long tradition of folk music, and ancient celebrations such as May Day, Dwile Flonking and the Solstice.

“Push that little bit further, down the unmade Locks lane and you will be rewarded with warmest of welcomes,” Mr Wright said.

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