As I mentioned in my previous blog entry about how the 25th Scouts came to reside in Mile Cross some 70 years ago, I’d been kindly allowed to borrow a couple of their fantastically-aged photo albums to see what I could find and share them with you lot.
The following fantastic images are what interested me the most, mainly due to their locality.
The eldest of the photo albums they have in their possession was a battered-looking, leather and string bound item, literally jammed full of photographs of the Scouts heading out to various camps and events around the country; starting in 1919, one year after they’d formed a century ago. I’ll go through some of the more interesting photographs from the collection below and put a little bit of detail under each image for you:
It’s 1919 and the boys of the 25th wait patiently to be loaded on to the back of a flatbed lorry on an unrecognisable Duke Street. These young lads are off on a journey to one of my favourite places to while away an afternoon: Mundesley. The City is to the left, note Reeve’s Range Works in the top left hand corner.
En route to Mundesley. The cameraman has hopped out of the lorry to take this action shot of the Scouts on their way. It doesn’t look like the most comfortable mode of transport, but it would have certainly beat walking. Look at those wheels, and those excited faces!
Part of the group (probably the Cubs) are posing for a picture shortly after arriving at Mundesley. It might be the cameraman and one of the leaders in the middle. It looks as though the camera is on (or close to) the ground and has probably been triggered by the timer.
The three shots above show the boys tucking into some well-earned grub. The first two shots shows the ramshackle building of the cook-house and in the third shot the tops of the nearby cliffs can be made out.
These two tents look like they will be the boys’ accommodation for the next few days. I wonder if the building in the background could help identify their exact location. I think it is most likely the former hotel Clarence House, putting them close to a beach ramp and by the brick works.
And here we see the boys standing in a line as a chap who looks like he’s wearing a Military Uniform inspects the boys’ tents. I wonder if this chap had only recently returned home from World War 1. It looks as though the tents have been erected in the shadow of one of Mundesley’s Brick Kilns. As you can probably sense, I’m slowly figuring out the exact location as I type!
The two shots above show the band in action. In the first image band gets in a bit of practice at camp before heading off on a parade to the nearby church in the second photo. Note the Cromer Road is just compacted soil. The row of houses in the distance now have the Mundesley Premier convenience store built up against them.
This image shows that it’s not all Camp inspections and Band Parade, and these two boys are having some good old-fashioned fun playing in the surf on a windy but warm looking Mundesley beach.
Unfortunately at some point you have to leave the beach and go home again, something I still struggle with myself and I got to the Coast pretty much every weekend! The boys have been loaded back into and onto (look at the boys on the roof of the cab!) the lorry and are making their way home through the Norfolk Countryside.
In this image we can see the lorry taking a right off the North Walsham Road and onto the Fairstead road at Fairstead. The Road to Sco Ruston that we all use now has yet to be built, and that presumably came along when Coltishall Airfield took over the older Road. The pub in the background is Fairstead’s ‘The 3 Horseshoes’ and behind it ‘Oddfellows Hall’ which when this picture was taken in 1919 was being run by an Amelia Tooke. The pub opened in 1794 and continued to trade up until 2011, an impressive stint for a pub. It is now a private residence.
Finally home, the boys stand in a line in the middle of Duke Street waiting to be collected by their parents, or before making their own way home into the nearby streets and yards. The two buildings in the top left-hand corner of the image confirms their location, the building with the uniquely-angled frontage is now Café 67 on the corner of Duke Street and Muspole Street and you can just about make out the ‘Muspole Street’ sign mounted on the building on the opposite side of Muspole Street.
This image is taken two years later and gives you a slightly wider view of Duke Street and its junction with Muspole Street on the right. Most of the other buildings in this shot, including the Sunday School and St Mary’s Baptist church (The home of the 25th in these images) on the left were either destroyed by enemy action in World War 2 or swept away by the City’s planners in the 1960’s. Anyway, the boys in this 1921 image are packing the lorry in anticipation of their journey to the Coast, this time to Cromer.
This image was a fascinating find and it shows three of the leaders stood on Cromer beach posing for a photograph with the stern of the SS Fernebo sat seemingly impossibly-upright in the shallow water just past the surf.
The SS Fernebo was a Swedish Steamer carrying a cargo of timber from Sweden to London. On the 9th January 1917 the Fernebo encountered heavy North Easterly Gales that had already claimed a Greek Steamer named The Pyrin. The Fernebo weighed in at over 1000 tonnes and was about 70m long and she was in serious trouble. It was down to the famous Henry Blogg and his ageing crew (his normal crew were mostly away at war) and their lifeboat, the ‘Louisa Heartwell’ to save the day. After initially finding it almost impossible to launch in such terrible conditions a team of over 40 volunteers (including some Soldiers who were currently stationed in Cromer) had managed to physically push the Lifeboat out far enough for it to make a successful launch. By this time the SS Fernebo had split in two because of an explosion on board, possibly due to a German mine, complicating the rescue further. Six of the Fernebo’s crew had managed to launch a smaller boat but it was quickly smashed by the surf and the men had to be rescued by the crowd of people who had gathered on the shore to watch the ongoing drama. Surprisingly, even though the Fernebo had split completely in two both sections remained afloat, possibly due to the amount of Timber she was carrying in her hull. On board the now-split Fernebo 11 crew members were still in need of rescuing and this is where Henry Blogg and his crew came to the rescue in the Louisa Heartwell despite the appalling conditions. Of the 18 people on board of the SS Fernebo before it ran into trouble, 17 were saved relatively unharmed. The 18th crew member had been injured in the blast and was tragically carried away by the raging seas. For their bravery, the crew of the Louisa Heartwell received various medals and the story of the rescue is now depicted in the ground outside the entrance to Cromer Pier.
A crop of the above image showing the stern of the SS Fernebo still sat in the sea some four years after it had run aground. The bottom section of the stern’s hull can still be seen on the beach today, if the tide is out and the sand is low enough, and it can be located on the beach close to where the beach huts now stand a few hundred meters East of the Pier.
This photograph was taken on a busy-looking stretch of beach to the west of the Pier and shows the boys from the 25th having fun in a calm-looking North Sea.
This image shows the lads playing handball close to their camp, somewhere behind the cliffs at Cromer, again in 1921.
Now we move on to June, 1923 and in this image we can see Carrow Road lined with crowds of people who are patiently waiting for the Prince of Wales to arrive to officially open the new bascule bridge. The bridge was built at a cost of £42,000 and was put in to help improve the movement of river traffic sailing in and out of the bustling port that was an important part of the City’s fabric back then.
Above are a few more shots showing a large crowd and members of the 25th standing patiently by the side of Carrow road in anticipation of the Prince of Wales. Norwich City FC were still playing at ‘The Nest’ on Rosebury Road and you can see that the site of their current football ground was just open ground by the river.
Whilst we’re on the subject of Football grounds this crude panorama – made from four pictures taken in 1924 – shows a large gathering of cubs, scouts and guides gathered on the pitch and in the terraces of Wembley Stadium, looking towards a massive stage-set during the British Scouts and Guides Imperial Jamboree.
I’ll end this blog entry with one final image taken in Mile Cross in 1949, just after the 25th had moved into their new hut which had recently been erected beside St Mary’s The Baptist, now The Phoenix Centre. It seems that the tradition of loading the boys onto the back of a truck and heading off to the Coast is still going strong, and these boys are excitedly waiting to get off on their way for a few days at Runton. It looks as though one of the Parents might have turned up to drop their child of in the works’ van, an AJ Woods of 35 St Augustine’s Street.
All in all a fascinating set of photographs of the 25th, taking us on a journey from the City Centre, out to the coast a couple of times and ending up back in Mile Cross (a metaphor for my life at the moment!). I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at as much as I have had scanning them and doing a little research into. Thanks once again for taking time out to read this stuff,
4 thoughts on “The 25th head to the coast. Almost 100 years ago.”
Great post with wonderful photos. Thank you
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Thank you sir for all your hard work in preparing this blog. I find the photographs and comments so interesting . Well done 👍
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Brilliant stuff Stuart. Bringing ordinary people’s lives into full focus.. Amazing
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