Lady of the Geldeston Lock

Whilst in Norfolk during the summer of 2003 my wife Carol & I were staying with two good friends, Nick and Joyce Pownall in Great Yarmouth. Much of their married life they have been involved with amongst other interests, the East Anglian sub aqua scene. One of the clubs popular sub aqua venues was Geldeston lock. They were able to give me some first hand information on this unique public house situated beside the lock and its landlady. The Locks Inn was, as I have mentioned in my earlier article, not one of your usual houses.

The popular landlady Susan Ellis was an ex - Londonderry girl. There was a cellar from which the beer was brought up in huge jugs. The place was lit by candles. Susan ran a tight ship and would stand no nonsense; customers were vetted and if considered undesirable were asked to leave and boldly thrown out! This did not mean she was unpleasant, far from it; she had a great sense of humour, if somewhat subtle. Susan had a pet goose named “Grumpy Ellis” in memory of her late husband. One evening the divers had a Bar-B-Q, afterwards Grumpy could not be found! This caused an upset as can be imagined. Relations were soon restored however when the River Waveney burst its banks, completely isolating the Locks Inn making it only accessible by boat. The club members doubled as waterborne draymen, providing the liquid amber, necessary for keeping the smiles on the faces of the inns patrons When the marshes were completely flooded for miles around, this could not stop the smile on Susan’s face nor dampen her sense of humour. When she was presented with her next bill from the council for drainage, she sent them an aerial photo taken by club members showing the Inn situated as an island and quite rightly, refused to pay.

Arthur .E. Bensley



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