Latest on the restoration of The Iron Duke

Restoration of The Iron Duke has reached a milestone with the completion of comprehensive roof repairs. The works, which were undertaken by H & R Strood, will prevent further deterioration making the building secure and dry while Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust and its partners continue to progress through the development stage of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s grant award and on to full restoration and reuse of the building. This project has only been made possible thanks to National Lottery Players.

The development stage is a critical part of the restoration process and will be used to develop plans to sensitively restore the Grade II listed building and its historic character. Much work is still to be done for both planning the repairs and future operation, but project partners Zaks already have exciting plans for the Iron Duke to make sure it is sustainable for many years to come. The heart of the Iron Duke will be a bar and restaurant whilst the upper floors will be converted to holiday accommodation. There are also some great ideas for a leisure experience in the large basement.

Once fully restored to its former glory and set within the existing historic fabric there will be two main areas: a bar serving local beers in partnership with Great Yarmouth’s own Lacons Brewery, bar snacks and a range of art deco-inspired cocktails. Hosting regular music and comedy nights, it will be a place for the community to meet and socialise alongside welcoming Great Yarmouth’s wealth of visitors throughout the year.

Alongside this will be a New York inspired “Chop House” restaurant with decor and furniture oozing that art deco feel in keeping with the design of the building and restoration works. There will also be an outside bar and dining area including, subject to planning, a new roof terrace, taking in the stunning views of the North Sea and Scroby Sands. 

Chris Carr, Co-owner of Zaks said “ We are used to working sympathetically with our buildings. The Iron Duke will be one of the youngest! Zaks Mousehold is in an iconic location and was built in 1901 & Zaks has been in residence since 1977! Also, our Zaks on King Street in Great Yarmouth is over 150 years old, so we know the challenges of older historic buildings. We will work with the look, feel and history of the Iron Duke. We use local suppliers for fresh produce but will be on the lookout to partner with more in the immediate area. With the Iron Duke we are looking at something different from what Zaks do already but with Zaks ethos at its heart. This will complement Great Yarmouth’s already diverse offering. Both Ian and I live locally, and we are passionate about the area and can’t wait to add to our existing business in Great Yarmouth”.

Ian Hacon Co-owner of Zaks said “;It is important that the whole site is financially viable from day one and has multiple sources of income. Whilst the Trust will take care of the sympathetic restoration, it’s important the operator can sustain this investment and create a viable long-term use.”.

Zaks have chosen local brewer & composite drink supplier Lacons as their drink provider based on their great selection of award-winning ales, brewed locally to the pub. On hearing the recent announcement about The Iron Duke, Lacons spokesman commented “The Iron Duke is an important historic building and former Lacons pub that has been untouched and unloved for far too long. News that Zaks could include one of our finest and oldest properties makes for a unique partnership, and we are excited about working with the team at Zaks.”

“As two local independent businesses, we share similar values. We’re both community-focused, proud of our local heritage and passionate about food and drink. The hospitality sector is currently having a tough time, and retailers must be creative in their offerings. Gone are the days of being solely a wet-led outlet, so Chris and Ian’s vision for this project is spot-on. Making this a multi-facilitation venue will set it up in good stead for the future and become another great asset for Yarmouth & its tourism trade. I wish them and the team all the very best with this exciting project, along with looking forward to a good pint of Lacons beer at The Duke when it re-opens.”