Sandy Lane, NR19 2EA

Norfolk Pubs

Gemini 2004

The Gemini opened in 1965 at the height of the Gemini Manned Spaceflight Programme, its sign depicted a Gemini spacecraft. It was probably the first new pub in Dereham for over a century, intended to serve the expanding Sandy Lane council housing estate and almost certainly in the knowledge that the nearby Chequers was soon to be demolished for road improvements. Jack Wiseman (whose father Bertie kept the Lord Nelson in the High Street) moved from Mileham Royal Oak to become the longstanding landlord. During the Jim Fixx inspired running boom of the early '80s Jack organised the popular 'Dereham Fun Run' which raised a lot of money for charity. Because of changing drinking habits the Geminis trade declined over the years so it was time for a revamp. Jack moved on to the Bintree Royal Oak.

The brewery carried out extensive alterations knocking the two bars and off-licence into one large bar and rebranding it as the Gemini twins. Malcolm and Chrissy Sheath, from Essex, reopened the Gemini in August 1985 and it became an instant success as a yougsters 'fun pub'. Eventually this trade declined and the Sheaths moved on to modernise the Crown, Norwich Road.