Friday, 14 January 2011

Langley: The Wherry sails on into a new life

Wherry  (7)

I POPPED in to the Wherry Inn at Langley for a swift one this morning, but as this picture shows the old boozer isn’t quite what it used to be. In fact the Wherry hasn’t been a pub for almost eight years and I only made it inside at all thanks to owner Gary Hayes agreeing to unlock the padlocks on the temporary doors and switch on the equally temporary lighting just for my benefit. Gary runs Willow Builders – the company which will soon begin the job of converting this building into a house. And because I never made it into the Wherry when it was “alive” (see previous post) I was keen to see its interior before it starts a new life.

The last decade has not been kind to the Wherry. A succession of quick-fire landlords followed by closure, followed by squatters, followed by a rejected planning application for a restaurant, followed by endless rumours. I know that the closure itself proved controversial – with Gary copping some stick in the process. But even a dyed-in-the-wool pub romantic like me  can see that these days there just isn’t enough trade in a location like this.

Wherry  (5)

Inside there’s little left to mourn. No bar, no furniture, no soul. Gary (pictured right) says that just about everything made of wood was put on the wood burning stove by the squatters …who then left with the stove. Now Gary’s team will gut what remains, do a little light demolition here and build an extension there. And by September a five-bedroomed house with all mod-cons will emerge. So will it still be called The Wherry? No says Gary, but he is keen to reflect the history by perhaps naming the house after a wherry. Now were there any with strong local connections, or should it nod to one of the wherries which survive to this day? Suggestions please….. In the meantime one of the pub signs has found a very good new home, in my garage. Thanks again Mr H.


Wherry  (1)


  1. I remember going to the Wherry Inn at Langley Dyke at least 6-7 times in the 80's and 90's whilst on the many boating holidays with my parents (who still go twice a year - we are Brumies!)
    Back then the whole of Langley Dyke was open for anyone to moor up in (with rhond anchors) and it was a great overnight quiet mooring looking out over the landscape.
    Seeing these pictures makes me feel real sad for such a nice pub and all the other establishments and landmarks that have passed on the Broads.

  2. Thanks for that MCT. Langley Dyke is one of my favourite places on the Broads.

    You wouldn't have any photos of the Wherry in that era would you?


  3. I don't think I do, - I lost a lot of those old photos from that time.


  4. Hi Steve

    I stumbled across your very interesting blog when carrying out my ongoing family history research. My Great Grandfather and his father and 6 other family members were shown as living at The Wherry when the 1861 Census was taken. I can only assume he was the publican at that time as it seems to run in the family as one of the children went on to run the Red Lion, Thurton (now also a private house)according to the 1891 Census.

    I paid a short visit to Langley Street a couple of years ago hoping to see a working pub only to find an empty shell. Unfortunately there was no one around at the time to ask of it's ownership. Very sad to hear that squatters destroyed some of the interior and made off with stove, "bxxxxxds"

    I would love to have a look around the old place before it gets revamped. Do you think Mr Hayes would allow me too? If you can pass on a message, I would be very grateful.

    And if you ever want to rid yourself of the old pub sign please think of me!

    And good luck with book!


    Geoff Bickers

    1. Hi Geoff,
      Just read your letter from last year, my Great, Great, Great Grandparents were Samuel Bickers and Maryann (King) I also find it sad about the Wherry pub, it,s nice to go and look round places and buildings where past ancestors lived and worked, I have an old picture of the Red lion Pub from 1900, which has men and children outside,which could possibly be the Bickers Family you mentioned.

    2. Geoff, for some reason I have only just found your comment. Apologies. I would be very happy to pass the sign on to you - as long as you could collect it. It would definitely be going to a good home! A warning though. It is very big and very heavy.

  5. Even though i live in Langley i only went in the pub once. shame to see it like this.

  6. I lived in the Langley Wherry as a child as my mum was the landlady there in the early 1990's. We have pictures from back then and the 1950's floods if anyone is interested in seeing them.

  7. I know it's a long time since you posted this.I haven't been on this site for all these years. However, since lockdown I've found myself with so much time on my hands i've decided to do more family history. If you have any photos of The wherry from the early 1900's i would love to see them. Best wishes Geoff