15 February 2021 – From Peter Wells

Reg, Hi – trust you are weathering ‘Lockdown3’ OK? I’ve been caught in the ‘over 65’ trawl-net so am booked for my first Covid jab at the N&N tomorrow. There IS light at the end of the tunnel – not just a train coming in the opposite direction!

I have at long last got around to reading Norwich Pubs & Breweries; Past & Present by Frances & Michael Holmes (pub. 2011). Maybe you have a copy? If not, it’s well worth a read and should be added to any Norwich topers book-shelves.

Within these pages I was reacquainted with Peter Burrows, not to be confused with Alan ‘Bunny’ Burrows – last heard of as a print buyer with Aviva. Peter Burrows came to HMSO in 1983 when he was made redundant from the sign writing department at Norwich Brewery aka Grand Met/Watneys. Peter was one of four (or more?) that were hastily recruited to continuous stationery as we were inundated with orders for single packs of 11 x 9½ plain listing paper! Peter didn’t stay long, as he left to start his own sign-writing business which he named Wensum Signs. Before Peter left HMSO he gave me a copy of The Wordsworth Dictionary of Pub Names by Dunking & Wright which I still have, alongside the most recent updates. There are several photos of Peters’ pub signs in the Holmes’ book. I was sad to read that he died in 2002, as probably did his business for Wensum Signs are no longer listed on the internet.

As an aside, of the other’s who joined around that time I am still in touch with Tony ‘Thumper’ Clarke. Although Tony jumped ship to DOE (and later BAS in Cambridge) he still lives in Norwich and we still meet up for a beer or three. There was another guy (can’t recall his name) who was into drag-racing – and nothing to do with dressing up in ladies clothes! He used to go most weekends to Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire where I believe he used to actually drive the racers! The final member of the quartet I remember was Al Havard who had once worked in a uranium mine in Australia. We reckoned he glowed in the dark. I recall that Al went into BUPA (now Spire) hospital over at Colney for a rather serious stomach operation. Me and Gibbo (the late Simon Gibbons) took the bus up to see him there. After seeing Al, we decided to walk to the UEA for a pint but managed to get lost among the experimental plant fields of the John Innes Institute! I’m not sure we ever did get that pint in . . .

Funny how you remember these things after all these years.

Keep safe, Peter


Hello Peter, Good to hear from you, albeit with sad news from 19 years ago.  I didn’t know Peter Burrows, but I know the Norwich Pubs and Breweries book – it’s among my papers somewhere! As you say, the current circumstances encourage reminiscences. Keep warm out there.

Best wishes, Reg