Landlord History - Jimmy Parker 1938-1956
James 'Jimmy' Parker took over as licensee of The Gardeners Arms, TimberHill on 28th December 1938, and although at the time he was not to know, the country was on the brink of World war II. The previous Landlord, Francis Albert Bloom Cooper, moved onto The Good Companions, on Earlham Green Lane, Norwich
Jimmy had also run the Free Trade Tavern, 48, William Street St. Giles, from December 1901 - October 1902
Jimmy Parker, along with his wife May, ran the Gardeners Arms, throughout Norwich's darkest, and most frightening days during the war. The City experienced many air raids, (a total of 44, Birmingham encountered 77), however, with the proximity of the continent, many more sirens were sounded, with the population of Norwich, forced to take shelter. This culminated in what became known as The Baedeker Raids on the 27th and 29th April 1942 and were the most distructive of all the bombardments Norwich had faced.
29th April, 1942 (at night).
George Plunkett wrote ..........'Norwich was still in the first stage of its efforts towards restoring some sort of order after the sharp attack made by the enemy during the night of the 27th (April) when on the Wednesday it was again the target for a reprisal raid.
This time the people were ready for it, and practically every family went under cover. Anderson, Morrison and street shelters must have saved the lives of hundreds of the inhabitants of working and middle-class houses during the re-enactment of Monday night's scenes in different parts of the city. Incendiaries caused much of the damage - one of the largest areas affected in this manner incorporating Curls' department store at Orford Place, and both sides of Rampant Horse Street as far as but not including St Stephen's Church.......During this, the second heavy attack on Norwich, it was estimated that 45 tons of bombs were dropped, including 112 high explosives and numerous incendiaries. The death-roll amounted to 69 and there were 89 seriously injured.'
These raids damaged much of the immeadiate city centre, and destroyed many other areas.....however, they failed in hitting the Castle, either the Anglican or Roman Catholic Cathedral, Guildhall or the new City Hall building.....but most importantly US!
Curls, (now Debenhams), as mentioned by George Plunkett, took a direct hit, the 'weigh bridge' used for the Cattlemarket, (situated directly behind The Gardeners Arms), also took a direct hit from a 250kg devise, dropped by a Luftwaffe Heinkell III. Next door to the 'weigh bridge' The Jolly Farmers Inn , at 5, Farmers Avenue, is listed as being 'burnt out' . Fortunately The Gardeners Arms is only listed as being 'damaged by enemy fire', but many areas surrounding TimberHill were destroyed.
On 3rd January 1956, after 17 years service at the Gardeners Arms, and the week that The Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group, reached Number 8 in the hit parade with 'Rock Island Line', Jimmy moved onto the Post Office Tavern, 29/31 Exchange Street, Norwich, where he stayed until 29th December 1959. Jimmy was replaced by his brother-in-law, Cyril Bush, and his wife's sister Mae.
Jimmy's son, Basil James Parker, went on to be the licensee at The Rose Tavern, on Queens Road Norwich, between 30th August 1960 - 7th October 1980