Geoffrey bought and renovated the Samson & Hercules after the 1945 fire. He added the Flixton Rooms using timbers from Flixton Hall near Bungay.

Along with the Lido Ballroom in Norwich, which he also owned, during the 50’s Geoffrey ran the two leading entertaining venues in Norwich. Apart from dances they catered for a never-ending array of dinner dances, wedding receptions and regular other events.

His love of big band music led to Geoffrey owning or having interests in entertaining venues at Lowestoft, Luton and Hammersmith in London. He was instrumental in bringing big American bands, including Stan Kenton and Count Basie to the UK.

The two Norwich ballrooms were sold to Mecca in 1959.

The Samson & Hercules C1960

Geoffrey Watling with Count Basie, 1959

The Geoffrey Watling Charity

8a Ber Street, Norwich, NR1 3EJ

Registered Charity Number 1025258

The Object of the Charity is to pay or apply the annual income of the Charity’s funds to such charity or charities or for such charitable purpose or purposes as the trustees shall from time to time in their absolute discretion determine.

1,925 grants made to March 2024.

£9,816,280 total value

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