I was going through some old news cuttings again last night and came across an interesting article from August 1976 about a painting which graced the walls of the Ferry Inn at Horning. The painting of the pub, titled “A view on the Bure”, was the work of the Norwich born Victorian artist S.W. Littlewood and was apparently first hung on the walls of the Ferry Inn shortly after it was exhibited in 1868. Miraculously, the painting was rescued after the building was destroyed in the bombing raid of 1941 and had been put back on display in the pub when it was rebuilt after the war. Amazingly, it then also survived the devastating fire of March 1965 which was pictured in an earlier blog post.
In 1976, the pub was owned by Anglia Taverns and the picture on the left shows assistant area manager Ted Thackeray and Battle of Britain pilot Joe Leigh, who served at RAF Coltishall during the war, examining the newly restored painting. It had apparently been discovered about a year earlier, hidden away in the pub, still covered in soot and grime from the fire. It was taken to Norwich Castle Museum for identification and, after careful restoration, the painting was returned to the pub. Joe Leigh was there to recall his memories of the pub before that fateful night in 1941, along with one of the survivors who was pulled from the rubble after the air raid. But where is the painting now? Is it still in the pub? I don’t recall seeing it on the (admittedly) few occasions that I have been in there in recent years … but then I must confess that my observation skills begin to diminish after a pint or two!