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Latest from The Iron Duke

PRESS RELEASE – March 2024

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.”

Lacons Brewery


“The Iron Duke is a remarkable example of an Art Deco public house which has sadly been boarded up, inaccessible and deteriorating for far too long.   It was built in an age when the role pubs played in British society was under intense scrutiny, and new ideas impacted on pub design.   It’s great that the essential roof repairs are now complete, and that funding is secured to start work on the interior.  The scheme will revitalise an amazing venue, retaining and restoring features and fittings which make it so special.   We look forward to celebrating its re-opening.” 

Catherine Croft, Director

Twentieth Century Society


"SAVE Britain's Heritage are delighted to hear that the scheme to restore and bring back the Iron Duke pub into use are making real progress with roof repairs complete and plans in place for further work.  Having spent several long years empty and with an uncertain future, this highly attractive seaside Art Deco building is now well on its way to welcoming the public again."

Liz Fuller

Buildings at Risk Officer


‘Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, one of the AHF’s Heritage Development Trusts, has delivered the repair and reuse of 17 historic buildings in the town since it was set up in 1979, a number of which have been supported by the Architectural Heritage Fund – including this latest project, The Iron Duke. We know how challenging it is to deliver heritage regeneration projects and their extensive experience in delivering capital projects involving listed buildings is incredibly important. We’re really glad to see progress being made with their partners on this important piece of Great Yarmouth heritage.’  

Matthew Mckeague

CEO Architectural Heritage Fund          


“I’m pleased to see work progressing to save and restore this much-loved landmark in Great Yarmouth.  It would be wonderful to see this art deco building brought back to life with a renewed and sustainable purpose that celebrates its history and encourages people to experience its special character.”

Tony Calladine, East of England Regional Director, Historic England




To secure the next phase of the funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the GYPT will prepare a second-round application for the full funding award of

£2,025,698, which will be fully considered by the Midlands & East committee of the Heritage Fund.  This and other funding will be essential for the Trust to pay for the conservation and repair costs as the building has a substantial conservation deficit. It is important to note that the patient conservation of nationally important historic buildings takes time. If the project is successful, it is anticipated The Iron Duke could re-open to the public in Winter 2025.


There will be greater opportunity for public involvement and engagement as the project progresses through training and volunteering opportunities.  During spring and summer there will be a series of engagement opportunities including a photography project, surveying workshop and research project. 


About The Iron Duke

The Iron Duke is a Grade II listed building purchased by GYPT in December 2020. Since purchase the trust has made the building wind and weather tight, undertaken emergency repairs and secured the building against unlawful ingress and vandalism. They have undertaken a full measured and topographic survey, produced a heritage statement, analysis and research. Work has also included the clearance of the grounds, the removal of accumulated and hazardous waste and asbestos survey work. A detailed project plan, feasibility study, options appraisal and business plan have been produced.


About Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust was established in 1979 as a registered charity with a vision to preserve, safeguard and promote the cultural heritage of Great Yarmouth. One of the longest running building preservation trusts in the UK, the trust acquires heritage assets at risk and fully restores them back to a viable and economic use. The trust has developed and created a pioneering approach to community engagement and training.


About Chris Carr & Ian Hacon (Co-Owners of Zaks)

Whilst Zaks is known for its authentic American food locally, the team at Zaks have many years of experience in the industry. Chris Carr spent the first 12 years of his career at Whitbread, and in that time managed some of their busiest venues in the North West. He then went on to be Chief Operating Officer of Zaks under the previous ownership for 10 years and later went on to also manage and lead the redevelopment of the bars and restaurants at Kelling Heath Holiday Park which included fine dining, beer festivals and a big focus on local produce. He then became COO of another large mixed leisure complex in North Norfolk and introduced new dining and leisure experiences to the complex. He then worked as the Development Director for a small local pub chain, introducing and updating their food offering and changing the feel of their flagship site to be more family-friendly, before returning to Zaks as Co-owner in 2020. 


Ian Hacon, also Co-Owner, has over 45 years of business experience in sectors such as accountancy, TV and film, oil and gas, construction, marketing and healthcare. He is a Chartered Accountant but has also spent 20 years of his career in hospitality and leisure businesses. He was Chief Exec of Blue Sky Leisure for 9 years, which at the time employed 250 people in the leisure and hospitality sector. He has sat as an Advisor / Non-Executive Director for many businesses and still sits on the board at Blue Sky Leisure.  


For more info about Zaks visit


About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant applications over £250,000 are assessed in two rounds. The Iron Duke project has initially been granted round one development funding of £293,356 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award.


Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Since the National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.

Each week, thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised for good causes across the UK.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund


Further information

For further information, images and interviews please contact Darren Barker MBE at Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust on 07760 166373


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