The Safety Valve
The Safety Valve
Forncett railway station was opened in 1849 when Norwich and Ipswich were connected by the Eastern Union Railway. In 1851 the Railway Inn public house was built on the station approach road: it was renamed The Safety Valve in 1861.
The known licensees were:
James Harvey 1851-1864
John Waters 1865-1879
Robert Keeler 1881-1903
Lemon Keeler 1903-1913
William Rice 1915
William John Golden 1916
George Harry Young 1922-1939
Robert Lemon Keeler 1940-1945
generations of the Keeler family served as publicans at the Safety Valve between
1881 and 1945.
Licensees often had other occupations as well as running the pub. Robert Keeler Snr. was a coal, coke and oats merchant. Lemon Keeler was likewise a coal agent as well as being a general carrier and cab proprietor.
Lemon Keeler was probably the first to set up a taxi service in Forncett. Production of Model T Fords started in the UK in about 1912 and Lemon Keeler obviously saw the potential of motorised transport. When he left the Safety Valve in 1913 he continued in the motor trade.
The provision of car hire from the Safety Valve was continued by a later publican, George Young.
The pub features in Alan Womack's reminiscences of Forncett during the 1940s (published by Forncett History Group in 2012).
"The Safety Valve was kept by Bob and "Aunty" Keeler. We used to play darts for the pub, going by coach, driven by Alec Webster from Harvey and Duffields in Long Stratton, or Jimmy Baxter, and would go to pubs for miles around. Places I remember we went to were Oakley, Banham, Kenninghall, Loddon and Diss. Aunty (Keeler) always bought the first round on arrival; a raffle on the coach was usually for 40 fags. A sing-song on the return journey was led by Walter Manser who lived just into Wash Lane."
The Safety Valve closed on 3rd December 1970 and was later demolished.