CONTACT US

The Pleasure Boat Inn

Staithe Road

Hickling

NR12 0YW

E  /  landlord@thepleasureboat.com

​T  /  01692 598870

PUB OPENING HOURS

Monday - Saturday

11am - close

Sunday

11am - 10.30pm

FOOD SERVICE TIMES

Monday to Friday

12 to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm

Saturday 

All Day 12 to 9pm

Sunday 

All Day 12 to 8.30pm

FIND​ US

© 2018 by The Pleasure Boat Inn. Proudly created with Wix.com

History of The Pleasure Boat Inn

Early Days

The land on which the Pleasure Boat Inn now stands, and the original building, was sold by the local landowner to a private couple in the mid 1700's. The inn and staithe were then used by the local wherries, transporting coal, peat and grain, to the village. With the advent of the railways, the use of wherries diminished by the late 1800s and the inn was then used as an alehouse and hostelry, with accommodation above.

Records show one of the Landlords, Mr. Beales (There are still Beales in Hickling village to this day), purchased a Wherry as a pleasure craft which he ran from the staithe outside the pub, so it is possible that this is when the name The Pleasure Boat Inn originated.

The pub holds a gratifying number of old papers concerning the pub, including a Deed Of Consent for Robert Moore which, at one time, had been hung in the pub for inspection. The wording of the deed is interesting, mentioning that the land was used for grazing and was to permit the enclosure of eight acres, under the Act of 1789, for "planting with trees and underwood". Underwood would be the willow wands that would be stripped and used for basket making.

The "Consent" was under the patronage of Squire Nathaniel Micklethwaite, whose mother, the widow of the Lord of the Manor of Hickling Overhall, Hickling Netherhall, and Hickling Stannow was acting for her son until of age and includes the names of the owners and occupiers who had been using plots.

Some of the names recorded on the deed are worth mentioning. Several are from Coltishall, where they were involved with the Old School House. John Chapman, blacksmith and brewer left all his estates to his nephew Chapman Ives, and £10 per year to educate 10 poor boys in Coltishall church. Those on the list include the Bygraves, a well-known family, the Berneys, whose ancestors include the Pastons, who wrote the famous letters in the 14th century, and the Postles another brewing family in Coltishall.

Previous Landlords

This list of landlords was found in the Tunstead and Happing Licence Register.

  • THOMAS LAYTON & farmer (Son of Edward Layton who ran the Cantley White House) 1856 - 1861

  • WALTER FORD 1869

  • WILLIAM PAYNE * 1871

  • CHARLES COOKE 1875-1879

  • SAMUEL WHITE * 1881-1883

  • GEORGE BEALES 1883-1888

  • GEORGE BEALES (Junior) 1888-1908

  • HARRY CARPENTER 1912

  • JAMES TURNER 1916-1922

  • WILLIAM JOHN WHITTAKER 1925

  • WILLIAM HAGGAR by 1928

  • JOHN HENRY BENJAMIN THURMAN 15 Aug 1932

  • FREDERICK HARDWICKE 10 Sep 1934

  • ALFRED ARTHUR AMIS 07 Oct 1935

  • GWENDOLINE L AMIS 11 Dec 1961

  • BUNNY & BILL FULLILOVE (William George Fullilove) 01 Nov 1971

  • COLIN ERNEST HOWES 20 Sep 1976

  • JOHN FILBY 06 Feb 1978

  • ALBERT ROBERT DOWGILL 26 Jun 1978

  • TERENCE JOHN DOWSON 11 Dec 1980

  • PENNY & PAUL LAYBURN by Jul 2000

  • JULIE MAYHEW by Aug 2008

  • PAUL THURSTON Jul 2009-Dec 2009

  • JOHN UFF 2009 and still going on...... Fingers crossed...

Gwen Amis

The most famous of the Pleasure Boat's landlords who will be remembered by those still living was Gwen Amis. She was a toddler at the Pleasure Boat during World War One. Her parents were running the pub and she helped her mother whilst her father was away at the war. At this time she was earning a ha'penny a bundle for stripped willow wands for basket making.The family moved out of the pub in 1924 to a boarding house for visitors who sailed, shot or fished.

Gwen married in 1935 and moved back to the pub where no doubt her experience helping at the boarding house came in handy for managing the pub, especially after her husband was called up.

She had been in the Women's Institute from the early age of 14 and was into everything that happened in the village of Hickling. This included running the local ambulance service. She was not amused at the waste of time and petrol ration when she was summoned to a supposed bomb scene to be told they "just wanted to see how long it would take her"! She told them what she thought of them! Hardly surprising, given that she had not long had to "clear up" after the unfortunate accidental blowing up of the village hall in Sea Palling, where detonators were being sorted, and after another incident in which two children had come to grief over a land mine on the beach.

Gwen is a well remembered, handsome, feisty lady who managed the Pleasure Boat through thick and thin for 37 years until 1971 (Her husband died in 1960).

The Pleasure Boat as a Film Set

In 1954, the Pleasure Boat Inn was used as a film set for the British film, "Conflict of Wings", starring John Gregson and Muriel Pavlow. In America the same movie was known as "Fuss Over Feathers". It tells the story of rural Norfolk villagers who are spurred to action when it is announced that the nearby RAF station is taking over the Island of Children, a much-loved and untouched bird sanctuary, for air to ground rocket practice.

John Gregson and Muriel Pavlow in a still from the film which
she signed when visiting the pub a few years ago.

Much of the film was shot around Hickling, both on the Broad and on dry land, and also at Ludham. Indeed, the star (Gregson) at one point leaves the Pleasure Boat bar and on stepping outside appears, amazingly, in a busy Ludham High Street! Such is the joy of editing.

John Gregson and Muriel Pavlow in a still from the film which
she signed when visiting the pub a few years ago.

Royal Connections

It was in 1959 that Gwen took catering for members of the Royal family quietly in her stride. Prince Phillip, perhaps then better known as the 'Duke of Edinburgh', was a guest of Lord Cadbury at the annual winter 'Coot Shoot'. Their usual accommodation at nearby Whiteslea Lodge was flooded and they were forced to seek accommodation at the Pleasure Boat Inn. The locals carried on as usual throughout their stay.

Accompanying the Duke was a young Prince Charles, who was reprimanded by the redoubtable Mrs Amis, for having a pillow fight in his bedroom, the aspect of the stay that made all the newspapers at the time.