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.
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.
If 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”
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:
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.
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.
This is just a short entry to share a few images I stumbled across over the last couple of years. Taken during the 40’s, 50’s and 70’s these images serve to show us fascinating glimpses of living in Mile Cross when it was still connected directly to the countryside.Continue reading “Living on the edge. Updated 2020.”
The Mile Cross Estate has some very interesting road names from a historical point of view so I thought I’d take a closer look at the history behind those battered old nameplates to try ascertain what all those names mean and why. As it turns out most of the road names read to be a veritable “who’s who” of famous Norwich Citizens, albeit from an early 20th Century viewpoint and with a few Paston Family related place-names thrown in to the mix. I decided to take a look at most of the road names in what I call the ‘original’ part of Mile Cross as a Corporation-built Estate along with a few just outside of those now imaginary boundaries. The following list is what I have managed to come up with. Some of them were fairly obvious and easy to research but some were a little harder to figure out. I’ve tried my best to be as accurate as possible when it came to the naming conventions being applied in the early 1920’s but even if I haven’t necessarily found the correct person for the name-plate, the historical points made below are still legitimate and hopefully make for some interesting little glimpses into the past of our fine City:
Appleyard Crescent – William Appleyard was 3 times sheriff and 5 times City Mayor. William was the first Mayor of the City after it became a shire incorporate in 1404. He owned lots of property in the City and Inherited from his father the house that now incorporates the Bridewell Museum, famed for it’s finely-cut black flint bricks. William presented the City with a great tree to aid with building the new Guildhall. He also owned a lot of land to the South of the City, including Intwood, Bracon Ash and Hethel.
His father was given the rather odd responsibility of providing the King with 224 Herring Pasties whenever he visited the region.
Having written Hellesdon Station Parts 1and 2 I thought I’d pretty much written all I could about this long-forgotten railway station, hidden away in a quiet little corner of old Hellesdon. I was wrong. Not long after hitting ‘submit’ and setting ‘Hellesdon Station Part 2’ free and into the wilderness of the world-wide interwebs, I was contacted by a lady who it seems was very glad to have found somebody else with a keen interest in this little part of very localised History.Continue reading “Hellesdon Station Part 3”
In 1958 Norwich City Council decided it would be a good idea to move their entire labour force to a brand new and centralised depot named The “Norwich City Works Department”. The new depot was to be located Just off Mile Cross Road, opposite Harmers Clothing Factory and the junction of Havers Road and it was to be built on 6.5 acres of former allotments and farmland situated in the fairly wide depression here at the bottom of the Wensum Valley.
The new depot officially opened its gates to its workforce in 1965, although most of the workers would have already being there for some time already, considering it was their job to construct their new premises. The marshy ground of the valley floor had been being steadily firmed-up since the Second World War when the area had was increasingly being used as a dumping ground for landfill and hard-core, most of being transferred here from the destroyed buildings of the nearby bomb sites around the St Benedict’s and Dereham Road area.
You can see it slowly taking over the allotment space as it’s being flattened out by a Corporation Steam Roller in this 1948 Britain From Above image of the area: