Mile Cross disturbs the neighbours – Heigham.

I haven’t written anything in a while as my head’s been in a bit of a muddle, but after popping out out for an evening walk with the kids a week or so back, a few bits and pieces of an old puzzle began to form in my head. We’d ended up just over the water from Mile Cross and in a little play-park situated in the corner of quiet and secluded green space that is probably missed by the majority of Norwich as they drive on past. I was sat on a swing hidden from the last dregs of the rush-hour traffic under the suspicious gaze of the tower of St Bartholomew’s. When I say tower; I mean just the tower, as that is all that remains of this former village church; and when I say gaze, I mean that I could literally feel the eyes of the surviving grotesques staring at me from the top of the nearby tower.

Ever feel like you’re being watched?

MC8 Continue reading “Mile Cross disturbs the neighbours – Heigham.”

Mary Jacobs, now and then.

Reduced 75 Valpey

Just a brief entry to show that I haven’t disappeared completely. I’ve had my fingers in far too many pies of late and haven’t had time to concentrate on one thing long enough to form anything coherant enough to form one of my usual long and rambling entries.

This merging of two photographs – or ‘Ghost’ image – is of a Mary Jacobs, standing at the gate of her recently acquired Valpy Avenue home.

Back then – for reasons unknown to me – the area in which all of the houses South of Drayton Road and to the West of Havers Road were referred to as ‘The Drayton Estate’ and not Mile Cross, even though they were built by the same builders and on the same piece of purchased farmland as the rest of the estate.

It’s likely that before moving into this house Mary would have lived in one of the yards and slums around (or not too far from) the area that is now known as Anglia Square.

These new houses must have been a dream come true to former residents of the slums; they had fresh, running water; loads of space, big gardens for growing fruit and veg, indoor toilets and this particular row, a fantastic view of the Wensum Valley, complete with regular Steam engines puffing through the middle of all that scenery – a far cry from the unsanitary conditions, gloom and squalor, typical of those old and cramped yards closer to the city centre.

Mary passed away in 1938, but her family remained in this home for many years after.

Original image supplied by Mary’s Granddaughter, Susan McClarence, who informs me that her sister was born behind those very walls.

Until I can find the time to write something a little more in-depth, thanks for looking.

Stu.

Lady Jane

It was and a cold and miserable November day in Norwich during the later stages of World War Two (November the 24th, 1944). Clouds were hanging heavy and grey over Horsham St Faith’s Airfield and the European Air War had been put on hold – briefly – by this heavy cloud-cover which was stretching out far across the continent. Sitting patiently upon the airfield’s aprons were a collection of freshly-fuelled American B24 Liberators, waiting for the all-clear to head off up and into those murky skies above Norfolk. The young American airmen crammed into these large bombers must have been feeling fairly relaxed, for today they wouldn’t be putting their lives in danger by heading out across the North Sea and deep into enemy airspace; instead, they were about to take advantage of the bad weather and head off up into the low-hanging clouds above Norfolk for some much-needed low-visibility flight training. Continue reading “Lady Jane”

M&GN Hellesdon Station, Closed and then reopened. Sort of.

Seeing as I’d previously written three separate posts about Hellesdon Station in various states of its transformation and that I kept spotting parts of this multi-part story being shared about the world wide web, I thought it would make sense to amalgamate them all into one blog post to tell the whole story of this fascinating, lost Railway Station:

Tucked just out sight and not too far from my Mile Cross home is a little corner of Norfolk that I’ve always had a real soft spot for: Hellesdon Station.

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Continue reading “M&GN Hellesdon Station, Closed and then reopened. Sort of.”

The Inner-Link makes its mark and the end of City Station.

Going on from the last piece I wrote at the end of 2018 about Anglia Square, I was recently reminded of a Saturday afternoon back in 2011 when we were working on the Norwich City Station site as part of the Friends of Norwich City Station (FONCS) project. An elderly gent had come along to view our progress and he had brought along with him an envelope containg a handful of old negatives that he’d taken when he was younger. He said that they may be of some interest to us and kindly allowed me to borrow them, I just wish I could remember his name.

After I’d had them scanned I could see that they were taken throughout the 1960’s and were all taken in and around the City Station area, whilst the roads and buildings were being cleared in anticipation of the answer to all our dreams: The Inner-link Road. This road was about to be laid right through some irreplacably-historic parts of old Norwich, almost encircling the entire city as it went, like a really crap version of the City Wall. It was also going to go right over the top of the now-closed railway terminus made famous by the much-missed Midland and Great Northern Railway, the remains of which us dipsticks decided to try and dig up some half a century later.

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Continue reading “The Inner-Link makes its mark and the end of City Station.”

Anglia Square

CAN_8216sIf you’re from Mile Cross or from anywhere in the northern parts of the City, chances are you’ll be more than familiar with the shoppers’ delight that is Anglia Square. It’s been a bit of a magnet for generations of North Norwich folk and often used as an alternative to heading all the way into the City to get your supplies. If – like me – you are one of those people to have visited Anglia Square more times than you’d care to remember, chances are you’ve been walking a well-worn route southwards, and you’ve been treading your way there in some very old footsteps. Those Roads (and the paths that preceded them) have been well trodden for centuries and the land on which Anglia Square currently resides is the original and oldest part of the human settlement we now call Norwich. Continue reading “Anglia Square”

The 25th head to the coast. Almost 100 years ago.

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:

off to Mundesley 1919a

Continue reading “The 25th head to the coast. Almost 100 years ago.”

The 25th get their new Scout Hut

This Saturday (24th November, 2018) I was invited along to the Centenary celebrations of the 25th Norwich Scouts. Seeing as both my children attend the Cubs and Scouts here and the fact there was free tea and cake to be had (as well as a chance to bend the ear of the Mayor) it was a bit of a no-brainer, so we thought we’d pop along to see what it was all about.
It was a pleasant couple of hours, the kids seemed to enjoy themselves with plenty of activities to keep them entertained and the flowing tea, coffee and cake helped to keep the nattering parents placated. Unfortunately the Mayor failed to show up in the end but the Sheriff managed to make it and she was there doing her bit.

cs9 Continue reading “The 25th get their new Scout Hut”

Honing and HOD – Heritage Open Days.

As I’ve probably mentioned before (countless times), I’m quite involved with local Railway History. It all started when my friends and I decided to take it upon ourselves to expose the remaining platform wall at the former M&GN Norwich City Station site and it’s kind of steam-rolled its way on from there, flattening out swathes of my spare time as it goes.

My Norfolk Railway Heritage Group Team is involved with the preservation of a few Historical Railway sites around the county, including Felmingham Station, Honing Station, Hellesdon Station and of course Norwich City Station. We also (when we get the chance) head off out into the deepest and darkest parts of the Norfolk Countryside to explore the abandoned Stations and lines that stretch from one corner of Norfolk to the other. There isn’t much of the old M&GN network that we haven’t explored, which at times has taken us into some interesting places and into some funny old situations, including once getting a little too close to a Farmer with a shotgun who didn’t realise I was there!

Anyway, back when we were just FONCS, we were making great progress at City Station, we were clearing the platform, exposing sleepers and track furniture, landscaping the area so that it resembled a platform and track-bed again and (as an unexpected by-product) helping to reduce the crime rate in that part of the City whilst we were at it. That was until the penny dropped for Norfolk County Council who had suddenly come to realise that the site was actually their responsibility and not that of the City. Norfolk County Council gave us the heart-breaking news that because it was an unexpected and potentially-expensive liability, we had to down tools with immediate effect so that they could try and sell it off. More on that later.

A Ghost image of Norwich City’s Platform 1, created by myself back in the good old days of FONCS:MXHoning19 Continue reading “Honing and HOD – Heritage Open Days.”