Douro Potter 1977-1984
This photograph is of Ray Lince and Douro Robert Potter, (the third person is John Sayer). This Photo was taken inside The Murderers pub on November 23rd 1976.
Following the closure of the then Watneys pub on 27th May 1970, Arthur & Margaret Bird, retired, and the Gardeners Arms became a charity shop for a number of years. But by 1976, the Freehold lease became available, and was taken on by Duoro Potter, an already established publican around Norwich city centre, and his business partner Ray Lince.
Potter was famous, or notorious in some eyes, for running a group of neighbouring and 'important' pubs in the City Centre.
They were 'acquired' over a period of nearly 15 years from 1962; when the Potter family returned to Norwich from Leicester. However all, except the Orford (closed 1974), were released between July 1981 and September 1984.
Presumably his new venture Inndec was set up around 1983, and the Griffin commission (completed in September 1984) may well have been his first from Watney's; and possibly his last.
Potter's neighbourhood pub licences were :-
Orford Arms, Red Lion Street : August 1962 to February 1974
Woolpack, Golden Ball Street : September 1967 to October 1982
Pig & Whistle, All Saints' Green : July 1971 to circa 1984
La Rouen, Golden Ball Street : February 1973 to July 1981
It is less clear if he changed the name of the Tuns - which seems to have been altered to Pig & Whistle on 4th May 1971, rather than in July.
But it is probable that the new name was invented by Potter at the start of a period of re-furbishment works.
George Nobbs, writing in 1973, attempted to explain Potter's success; referring to the 3 pubs in the Golden Ball Street area.
He described their former state as run-of-the-mill; but replaced by busy, attractive houses.
"A pub is first re-decorated; comfortable furniture and carpets are provided; and a décor such as gives a distinctive atmosphere. Then food is provided in a quite 'individual' restaurant."
Finally, he recruits attractive barmaids.
Conversely, in 1977, three of the remaining 4 pubs were described as "rip-off pressurised Watney's keg palaces".
The exception, the Gardeners' Arms, better known as the Murderer's, was a Real Ale house; also criticised for being probably the most expensive in the City.
The 'news' that Potter was shortly to abdicate from the Pig & Whistle seems to have been very wide of the mark in 1977.
He remained there only until February 1981.
Perhaps he missed the razz-ma-tazz of the Cattle Market area.
Apparently the King title was self-styled !!
Douro Potter sadly died in in a car accident in 2006.