Watching TV and curiosity leads me right back to “the cross”.

The other evening I did something I rarely get the chance to do these days and that was to sit in my ‘old man’ armchair with my two cats curled up on my lap and watch a bit of telly. As I scanned the Virgin box to see what I’d been recording, I found a fairly new series going by the name of the ‘Bone Detectives’ which looks into the history of people and their surroundings by analysing their bones.

The episode I had decided to watch was looking into the past of the remains of three young bodies (a male child and two young teenage girls), unearthed in Leeds whilst clearing a site to build a posh-knobby shopping centre. As it turned out, these poor little souls were victims of the Industrial revolution and had literally been worked to death, with all the evidence pointing to the likelihood that they would have been working from dawn until night in a nearby cotton mill.

Continue reading “Watching TV and curiosity leads me right back to “the cross”.”

A century of council housing in the City of Norwich.

With the 100th anniversary for the first ever council-built homes appearing in Norwich approaching quickly, along with the fact that I’ve been contacted by various people from the City Council to the national and local press to offer up my opinions, I thought I’d better type something up about this interesting and important anniversary to take a look back over the last century of social housing right here in Norwich. Before I start proper I’d better mention that some of this info has been taken from (and in some cases corrected) the centenary section on the City Council’s website, which I’ve sorted into a crude chronological order, added to, and worded in my own way; a lot of which I’ve also already written about previously during the last three years of this blog.

As I’ve touched upon – frequently – before; by the end of the First World War in 1918 there was a huge demand for housing in the cities and towns throughout Britain, the problem becoming so large that it was now an unavoidable one for the British Government. By 1919, Parliament had passed an ambitious Housing Act, or the creatively-named: “The 1919 Act” (also known as the ‘Addison Act’) which promised generous subsidies to help finance the construction of up to 500,000 houses within a three-year timescale. Continue reading “A century of council housing in the City of Norwich.”

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.

Living on the edge.

Living on the edge… of the Countryside, that is.

This is just a short entry to share a few images I stumbled across a week or so back. Taken during the 40’s and 50’s they show us a fascinating glimpse of living in Mile Cross during those early years when it was still connected directly to the countryside.Mile Cross Vision Continue reading “Living on the edge.”

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 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.

RN4 Continue reading “What’s in a road name?”

Mile Cross Depot

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:

MXBFA Continue reading “Mile Cross Depot”