Building the Constitution

After the First World War public houses were being built all over the country to accommodate rapid social change. Norwich was no exception.

By the early 1930’s George Carter was responsible for the building of a number of pubs in and around the city. Some of these buildings are still in use today, although not all for the purpose originally intended.

The most iconic of the Carter-built pubs in Norwich are The Artichoke at Magdalen Gate, The Barn at the bottom of Grapes Hill – now Cane Furniture Warehouse – and The Gatehouse on the Dereham Road near the roundabout with Sweetbriar. The latter, built in 1934 has an interesting chequered effect on its apse” tower” of flints alternating with pressed concrete blocks.

The Constitution Tavern, on Constitution Hill, (now closed but still standing) can be seen in the sepia picture under construction in the early 1930’s. Constitution Hill, one of the roads out of Norwich, was originally known as the North Walsham Turnpike but re-named in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

In this picture you can see that The Constitution was built on the site of a former public house; the painted signboard to which the R G Carter name board is attached is from an older coaching inn. Bullard’s Brewery was an important early client of R G Carter.

Although we cannot see who is standing – some rather precariously – on the scaffolding and the roof (no hard hats and no safety harness in those days) they are likely to be the same craftsmen as those who appear in the photograph with young Mr. R E Carter in his school cap in front of the building.