The Maids Head Hotel in Tombland, Norwich, one of the oldest hotels in the UK, will emerge from lockdown on Saturday, July 4. It is believed that this is the first time that the hotel has been closed since it started trading as the Murtel Fish Inn during the 13th century.

Christine Malcolm, General Manager said: “We are all looking forward to welcoming guests to the hotel after this three month closure. It will also be very good to see our staff return from furlough. They have been keeping their spirits up with a whole range of activities from a baking competition, to a Zoom lunch and a virtual run between the Maids Head and our sister hotels, The Gonville in Cambridge and The Ship at Brancaster.

We recently delivered a lockdown gift of Norfolk strawberries, clotted cream and chilled rose wine to our 90 staff who live across the county, from Norwich to Wymondham, Reepham and Gorleston. This resulted in some great feedback, Dawn said: 'Lovely surpirise today, thank you Christine and the team, miss you all...' ”

Throughout 2019, Break was the Maids Head Hotel's local charity. During the year staff and guests raised £1,184.06. We invited Danielle Gravestock from Break to receive the cheque and celebrate the fundraising success with our staff.

The money was raised through collection buckets, a Christmas raffle and donations at special events including resident tour guide Paul Dickson's Shardlake's Norwich tours during English Tourism Week and Norfolk Day and Rob Knee from the Paston Heritage Society who gave talks about the Pastons and the Paston Letters on Norfolk Day and on 22 November. The second talk was on the anniversary of the Maids Head getting it's first official written mention in a Paston letter. A team from the Maids Head – Jonathan Brasnett, Andrew Shorthose and Rose Taylor - also completed the City of Norwich half marathon in aid of Break.

Following last autumn's refurbishment of the Maids Head Hotel's Wine Press Restaurant, Head Chef Marcin 'Magic' Pomierny, semi-finalist in the National Chef of the Year competition 2018 and 2019, has created a new A La Carte Menu to complement the contemporary look of the AA Two Rosette restaurant, featuring the finest of local seasonal produce.

The three-course menu, which will change with the seasons, also features an amuse bouche and a pre-dessert as part of the offer. Diners can opt for three or two course meals. 

“I have been inspired by our new look Wine Press Restaurant to design a menu which will complement the diners' surroundings,” said Magic. “Local produce includes cod, halibut and game, Cromer crab, Eleveden Estate venison and Norfolk mussels, all given a contemporary twist. We have fully tested the menu in house and look forward to getting feedback from our guests.”

Thursday, 09 January 2020 00:00

Maids Head Hotel Takes to the River Wensum

The Maids Head Hotel in Tombland, Norwich, has purchased an elegant Edwardian style Frolic 31 electric launch and, following a winter refit, the boat will take to the River Wensum in Norwich, when it will be officially named The Murtle Fish.

The boat will be driven by a Maids Head skipper, assisted by a steward, and can take 12 passengers. The Murtle Fish will be available to hire from the spring for afternoon tea afloat, wedding photography and receptions, business away days, drinks receptions and guided river tours.

A two-hour trip will depart from the Quayside next to Fye Bridge and will head to Whitlingham before returning to the city centre. The Murtle Fish will also be used to transport guests to the Maids Head's box at Norwich City FC. 

Sir John Fenn (Rob Knee from the Paston Heritage Society) unveiled, on its 547th anniversary, a facsimile of the Paston Letter dated 22 November 1472, which gives the first mention of the Maids Head, the name of the inn that had taken over from the 13th century Murtle Fish. The facsimile is located just outside the entrance of the Maids Head's Wine Press Restaurant.

Rob Knee was at the hotel to give a costumed Paston talk about the work of antiquarian Sir John Fenn from Dereham, who edited, over eight years, a volume of some 200 of the Paston Letters that had come into his possession in 1771. The volume was published in 1789 and the initial print run of 750 sold out within a week.

The Paston letters and papers were found in 1735 by Norfolk historian Francis Blomefield in the muniment room at Oxnead Hall, which had been the main seat of the Paston family since the 1480s. William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth, the last representative of the family, had died in 1732.

The Maids Head Hotel in Tombland, Norwich has revealed a new contemporary look for its AA 2 rosette Wine Press Restaurant, which is located in the former courtyard of the 15th century inn that first took the name Maids Head.

The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Vaughan Thomas and the Sheriff of Norwich, Dr Marian Prinsley visited the hotel on Thursday, November 14 to officially reopen the restaurant following its £60,000 makeover.

Interior Designer, Nicola Lovell, working closely with General Manager, Christine Malcolm, has created a colourful and exciting restaurant with new tables, chairs, banquettes, pictures and decoration, which complement the ancient courtyard of the hotel. 

The Wine Press refurbishment is the latest project at the Maids Head, which has seen £3.5 million invested by the hotel’s owners, the Chaplin family, over the last six years across all public areas and guest bedrooms.

The Maids Head Hotel in Tombland, Norwich, is the new permanent home for The Norwich Panorama, created by John Moray-Smith in the mid 1940s for Morgans Brewery.

The Norwich Society acquired the Panorama in 2016 to both save and restore the panel. The magnificent 2.5 metre by 1.5 metre panel is now on display next to the entrance to the Maids Head's Wine Press Restaurant.

The three-dimensional panel depicts the view of Norwich from St James Hill. It was commissioned by Morgans Brewery for the Cock Inn on King Street. Following the Inn’s closure in the mid 1970s, the panel was moved to Caistor Hall Hotel, where at some point after 2010 it was damaged and placed into storage. The Norwich Society bought the panel in 2016, and with the support of the Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, the John Jarrold Trust and the Norwich Heritage Fund, paid for its restoration.

Simon Michlmayr, of Norwich clock and watch makers and repairers S Michlmayr & Company, returned to the scene of his first summer clock repair job as a 14 year-old – the Maids Head Hotel. 

Forty years ago Mr Michlmayr, under the watchful eye of his late father Fritz, repaired the mid 19th century clock, which overlooks diners in the Maids Head Hotel's 2 AA Rosettes Wine Press Restaurant. Now it was the turn of Mr Michlmayr to oversee his assistant, Esme Collins, who repaired and restored the clock.

It has been really interesting to come back to the Maids Head and help repair this historic timepiece again,” said Simon Michlmayr. “I remember being very excited forty years ago as I embarked on my first official job.I am pleased that I was able to give the work to Esme.”

The Maids Head Hotel, in Tombland Norwich, has acquired a rare 1950 Bentley Mark 6, left hand drive convertible, with a Park Ward body. Only four of this particular model were made and only two survive. 

The Mark 6 was Bentley's first post war luxury car and was manufactured between 1947 and 1952.

This is the hotel's second classic car; earlier this year a 1963 Bentley S3 was purchased and has proved very popular, taking hotel guests on chauffeur driven explorations of the city. The bride and groom at weddings hosted by the hotel are also able to take a spin in the Bentley, with resident chauffeur Dave Currums, and have photographs taken at Pull's Ferry, at St James Hill, overlooking the Anglican Cathedral and the city centre and in the Market, buying an ice cream.

‘Matthew Shardlake’ (Paul Dickson) and Maids Head Hotel General Manager, Christine Malcolm unveiled a plaque outside the hotel on Friday, August 2 to celebrate the Maids Head appearing in CJ Sansom’s best-selling novel Tombland.
 
Tombland is the seventh in CJ Sansom’s series of historical novels featuring Tudor lawyer Matthew Shardlake. In the book, he heads to Norwich to look into the circumstances of a horrific murder and stays at the Maids Head, before getting engulfed in Kett’s Rebellion in the summer of 1549.     
 
“We have been offering a special Shardlake’s Norwich package since February,” said Christine Malcolm. “Guests on the package are given a copy of Tombland and have the option of booking a Shardlake tour with our resident tour guide, Paul Dickson.”
 
“The package has proved very popular, with Shardlake fans heading to Norwich from all over the UK, “ continued Christine. “We have even had visitors from Norway who love the series. It’s the first visit to Norwich for many of our Shardlake guests and the feedback that we get is that they love the city and can’t wait to return.”
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