When the finishing touches were being applied to the estate back in the late 1920’s, tree planting was an important aspect of the ‘Garden City’ design and layout. A mixture of trees were used, and their size depended on the hierarchy of the roads they were to be planted on. The two main arteries: Aylsham Road and Drayton Road were lined with Horse Chestnut and Lime and the smaller roads were lined with smaller species such as the Sorbus shown in these pictures.
The estate was originally only designed to last for 60 years, when It was probably assumed we’d all be flying around in 1990’s hover-cars and living on the moon. The estate would then be replaced by something that resembled Anglia Square or a Spaceport to Jupiter. Probably.
The reality is that the Estate is still here and everything in it is just getting old and tired (myself included). These beautiful old Sorbus only have a lifespan of about 80 years, and what’s left of them are now well past their sell-by-dates. The remaining few now have a habit of falling on to the cars parked on top of their roots whenever there’s a stiff breeze.
On the remaining few roads where these trees still create a tree-lined vista (such as Parr, Pinder and Wheeler Roads) I feel they do a grand job of brightening the tired old place up a bit. With their beautiful blossom in spring and their striking red die-off colours in autumn, they really epitomise the original character and past future vision of the estate.
Sadly, their days are now numbered and every single one of them has had a notice pinned to their ageing bark, informing anybody who cares, that they will soon meet with their grizzly fate at the teeth of a chainsaw blade.
From what I’ve seen in the past, they won’t be replaced; a stump of about 3 feet will be left and it will be left to either slowly die, or regrow into an odd-looking shrub for people to grumble about as they reverse their cars into them whilst churning up the remaining verges in battered old BMW’s.
Norwich City Council argues that there isn’t the money to replant trees and yet another little part of this estate dies as a result. I for one will miss them –
Miss as in not seeing them any more, not missing them when backing my car up on to what little patches of green remain here on the Cross.
There, doesn’t that look better?
Thanks again for reading,