What’s in a road name?

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 to 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 a lot 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.

RN4

Continue reading “What’s in a road name?”

Drayton Road

I recently stumbled across three fascinating images taken along the section of Drayton Road stretching from the Lidl roundabout to the junction at Asda. I’ve covered Drayton road fairly comprehensively over the course of this blog and those stories can be found below (all worth a read if you haven’t already):

Nigel Neale

The Dolphin Tragedy

Retail Therapy

Chalk and Putty

The Slough and the Knight

Shoes to shoe boxes

Little bits of History

Topography to the Point

So in this short entry I’m just going to share the images in question and go into a little bit of detail about what we’re looking at one by one.

I’ll start off with this fascinating image kindly provided by Don Thorpe:27709613_10156190490998793_7938530565865381547_o Continue reading “Drayton Road”

Green to mud or bricks

Green bits. The Estate was built with open space in mind. If you wander around the estate you’ll notice the big verges with tree-lined vistas, you’ll notice that most of the homes have been blessed with large gardens, you’ll also spot quite a few large, open greens. Some of the greens you may be familiar with were purposefully made as features of the Estate during its ‘Garden suburb’ inspired construction. Most of the open greens have survived the near 100-year life of the estate and remain in place, although not always given the attention or funding they deserve:

The brace of parks (mentioned in this previous blog entry) at Losinga Crescent on the Northern (and once-grand) entrance to the estate have survived mostly intact, although they are currently in a dire state.

The fairly pleasant green in the middle of Civic Gardens is still a prominent feature and it still retains most of its charm.MXG13 Continue reading “Green to mud or bricks”

I’m ‘Council’ and I’m also a human being.

When some people hear the phrase “Council Estate” they tend to form an image or opinion in their head. Often that image or those opinions can be slightly misguided. Read on…

The state of housing in the late Victorian era was becoming increasingly more dire as the century went on, partly because various initiatives to improve housing and sanitation had failed and partly because of a massive population explosion taking place in all of the major cities across the United Kingdom, further adding to the problem and ironically being the main reason that most of those initiatives were failing in the first place. The population of Norwich had more than doubled between 1801 and 1851 and this was leading to an increasingly severe shortage of housing and local amenities. Only the privileged tended to own their own homes whilst the rest of the working classes were left to put up with increasingly-expensive private rents whilst being restricted to the cramped and unsanitary conditions of the yards and terraces that were emerging all over Norwich as a by-product of the 19th century.

The housing and it’s associated welfare issues were becoming too large to ignore and It was time for change.

The Public Health act (which went by the rather catchy title: An act for consolidating and amending the Acts relating to Public Health in England ) was finally published in 1875 and in a nutshell it stated that state-owned housing needed to be built and that this housing needed to be built to a high standard; with running water, toilets and bathrooms, good light, plenty of space and with good local amenities.

One of the drawings from the Mile Cross plan:Mile Cross Vision

Continue reading “I’m ‘Council’ and I’m also a human being.”

Little bits of history hiding on the shelf

In most households up and down this funny old country are lots of little hints of local history caught on film. Most people have a collection of old photographs from their or their family’s past, either sat on the bookshelf or hidden in a dusty box in that dark corner of the attic. More often than not, people often think that these little collections of windows into the past are of no real interest to strangers; after all, who wants to see that grainy photograph of Great Uncle Bob stood next to a tree? To the casual observer, that photograph of Great Uncle Bob in the 50’s is just that: a photograph of Great Uncle Bob. To somebody who doesn’t know Uncle Bob, these pictures can still reveal a lot, especially if you know where and when the picture was taken. A lot of hidden gems can be hiding in the backgrounds of some of these old photographs, especially if they were taken outside. If the shot is wide enough they can act as a handy little window into the area (and era) in which the photograph was taken. Photography wasn’t as easily accessible back then as it is today so people only tended to take pictures of things that they thought were important, mainly involving loved ones or important events. I love these old photos and am always on the look out for these taken in my sphere of interest: Norwich, Norfolk and Mile Cross.

A lady I work with has been following my blog since the beginning along with her husband, Stuart, who also happens to be an old ‘Miley’. Stuart grew up on the estate during the 50’s and 60’s. When I inquired (as I often do) into whether he had any old photos of his childhood on the estate, the response was that  there were a few but probably not of any real interest. I asked if I could see them anyway and he kindly agreed. The next day Margaret brought in a handful of tiny photographs and I went through them like an excited School kid. Did they reveal anything interesting in the background? Let’s take a look at what I found…

First up is this image of Stuart’s father taken on a bright winter’s day back in 1955:Asda junction 1955small Continue reading “Little bits of history hiding on the shelf”

The Boundary

Boundary Road 2017When you’re sat in one of the 5 lanes of traffic crawling along Boundary Road at a snail’s pace it’s hard to imagine that less than 100 years ago this now-vital traffic artery was little more than a rural path; a single-tracked sandy lane, rather conveniently named: ‘Sandy Lane’ up until the early 1900’s, before being renamed as the ‘Boundary Road’ we all know and ‘love’ today. Continue reading “The Boundary”

The slough and the Knight.

For whatever geological reasons, the slough (pronounced ‘slew’) is a natural depression that sits at the Junction of Hellesdon Hall Road, Drayton Road (formerly Lower Hellesdon Road) and at the base of Galley Hill. I discovered that it used to be referred to as ‘the Slough’ after reading it in an old Raleigh Cycle Guide that dad found in an old barn in Rackheath back in the 1980’s. This old magazine was printed long before the estate even existed and noted the bad condition of the roadway here.

It wasn’t until very recently that the Council got around fixing the drainage issues that have blighted the area for as far back as I can remember, and going by the old magazine, a lot further; even predating the invention of the motor car. This area always filled with water after moderate rain and at still to this day floods a little further along at the junction of Whiffler Road after a particularly heavy downpour.

15914594494_a3c962fa09_o Continue reading “The slough and the Knight.”

Over the Wensum and down with a bump.

Mile Cross sits to the North West of the City Centre and on the far bank of the river Wensum, so for access to the soon-to-be-built estate and subsequent expansion of the City further to the North and West, the Corporation needed to start building bridges.

Before any of the new bridges existed, the only means of crossing the Wensum – other than paying the ferryman at Dolphin – would have been at the old bridge in Hellesdon (Hellesdon Road) or at the newer (1882) bridge situated at Norwich City Station (now  Halfords on the inner ring road). These two bridges are over a mile apart so it would have been a bit of a trek in either direction to get across. It seemed more important to get the Loco’s and their trains over the river than anything else, but people being people, always tend to find the quickest route of getting from A to B and I wonder how many people would have risked a dash across the narrow, single tracked A-Frame railway bridge to avoid paying the ferryman.

The first of the newer bridges to spring up was the Dolphin Footbridge.MXBridge3.jpg Continue reading “Over the Wensum and down with a bump.”