Lacon’s Brewery


Site of. Now the Palace Bingo and Casino, Brewery Plain. 

 Unveiled by Michael Falcon (former Chief Brewer and High Steward of Great Yarmouth).

The brewery was founded in 1640 by Jeffery Ward. In 1760, it was taken over by John Lacon, who had married into the Ward family. Whitbread and Company acquired a 20% share in 1957 and took full control in 1965. The brewery closed in 1968 and was later demolished. Tesco’s was built on the site to be followed by the Palace Bingo and Casino. The stores survived until 1997, when they were demolished and a supermarket (Aldi) was built on the site.


Michael Falcon recounted how he used to do an inspection of the Lacon Houses at the start of the holiday season and, on one occasion, he went into the Iron Duke to enquire about the beer. He asked the young man behind the bar: what’s the beer like, the young man lent over the bar, and said, confidentially, bloody awful. Michael Falcon asked if all the beer was like that, and the young man said, no, but they were having trouble in the cellar, but the bottled beer was quite good.


Michael Falcon spoke of the bombing in the Second World War in June 1942 when a bomb struck the boiler house at Lacon’s Brewery, but it bounced and destroyed Burroughs Wine Merchants, now the Gallon Pot Public House. The brewery stores and the maltings were gutted. There were few fire engines in Great Yarmouth that night and the firemen decided that only the blaze at the brewery could be extinguished and it was saved.


In its heyday, Lacon’s controlled 300 public houses and employed 150 workers. Many of the later public houses were designed by Mr. A. W. (Billy) Ecclestone, who was a leading member and a one-time President of the Great Yarmouth Archaeological Society. These included the Avenue Hotel, on Beatty Road, the Mariners in Howard Street, the Lacon’s Arms in Hemsby, the Links in Gorleston, the Clipper Schooner in Friars’ Lane and the Never Turn Back at Caister.


Site of the brewery - Palace Bingo