Explore the 1950s Norwich Cafe menu offering a taste of the past

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A discovery during the renovation of a Norwich apartment building has rekindled memories of an old town café and offers a taste of the past.


The old Cloverleaf Café menu found on the floor of the Mae Cosmetics premises in St Gregory’s Alley during the renovation. Photo: Denise Bradley
– Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Boiled beef, plum compotes and custard are among the dishes on a forgotten Cloverleaf Café menu that was unearthed by workers cleaning the upper floors of Mae Cosmetics in St Gregory’s Alley.

Danielle Sheehan, director and lead technician, said: “We relayed the word and taking the old one, we found it.


Opening of the Cloverleaf Cafe in St Giles Street, Norwich, January 5, 1938. Some of the earliest cus

Cloverleaf Cafe opened in St Giles Street, Norwich, January 5, 1938. Some of the first customers were the artists at the Hippodrome Theater. Photo: Mary Blathwayt
– Credit: Mary Blathwayte

“I just think it’s such an interesting thing to find because it offers a look back at that time. It points to the Monday menu and has things like steak pie, semolina pudding and jam. , cooked plums and custard, this is really old fashioned food.

“I’m a vegetarian myself, so I don’t think there was too much about it that appealed to me, maybe just the fries. I don’t think they’re really aimed at vegetarians at the time.”


Cloverleaf Cafe when it opened in 1938. The lady behind the counter closest to the camera i

Cloverleaf Cafe when it opened in 1938. The lady behind the counter closest to the camera is manager Gwenneth Plummer who became a partner and owned part of it until the 1970s. Photo: Mary Blathwayt
– Credit: Mary Blathwayte

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Its proximity to Norwich Racecourse makes it a favorite spot for artists.


What was left of the Cloverleaf Cafe after being damaged by a bomb on April 30, 1942, and the same l

What was left of the Cloverleaf coffee after it was damaged by a bomb on April 30, 1942, and in the same location today. Photos: Mary Blathwayt / Denise Bradley
– Credit: Mary Blathwayte / Denise Bradley

The menu is now offered to Mrs. Cole’s daughter, Mary Blathwayt, who still lives in Easton.

She said: “I think it probably dates back to the 1950s when they were offering these meal deals. I remember that.


The Cloverleaf ended in 1973. Pictured are Herbert Scott, who started the business in the

The Cloverleaf ended in 1973. Pictured is Herbert Scott, who started the business in the 1930s, Audrey Everett, who ran it when it closed, David Pottle and Sid Taylor who cooked. Photo: Mary Blathwayt
– Credit: Mary Blathwayte

“I spent my entire school vacation there. I was the worst waitress in the world for a while. I also used to bake cakes and sell them for extra pocket money.”

Mr. Scott, who was her godfather, had created the Cloverleaf to take advantage of a government program to encourage dairy bars.


Cloverleaf Cafe upstairs restaurant in 1946 in new permanent premises in Dove Street, Norwich

Restaurant upstairs at Cloverleaf Cafe in 1946 in new permanent premises at Dove Street, Norwich. Photo: Mary Blathwayt
– Credit: Mary Blathwayte

“I think he saw an opportunity, but then he realized he had no expertise to handle it, so he hired my mom as manager,” she recalls. “It was a really happy place. It was pretty hard work but the staff stuck around for years.”

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When Mr. Scott retired in 1960, the sisters took over and ran it until it closed in 1973.

Ms Blathwayt said: ‘At that time there were a lot of restaurants and wine bars in town that had licenses and the Cloverleaf just wasn’t that kind of place, and at that time- there they were too old to really change, so they had to sell. “


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