PHOTO GALLERY: Stalham’s history from cattle markets to supermarkets captured in new book

06:30 22 July 2014

Cattle market action from Stalham

Cattle market action from Stalham's past.

Archant Norfolk 2014

The many changing faces of a north Norfolk Broads-edge town whose traditional market was replaced by a supermarket are recorded in a new book.

A very quiet Stalham High Street before the age of the motor car.A very quiet Stalham High Street before the age of the motor car.

Stalham Then And Now is packed with some 60 photographs, dating back to the 1890s, comparing past vistas with their modern-day counterparts.

It has been compiled by Stalham-born Ray Woolston, 60, who began copying postcards and photographs belonging to the town’s elderly residents when he was in his 20s.

Mr Woolston, of St Mary’s Road, Stalham, has placed old pictures next to his own modern photographs of the same scenes.

He has particularly fond memories of Stalham’s old sale yard, now under Tesco’s, which opened in 2002.

Ray Woolston with his new book Stalham Then and Now. Picture: ANTONY KELLYRay Woolston with his new book Stalham Then and Now. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“It was brilliant – there was a lovely atmosphere on Tuesdays when I was a youngster,” he said. “They had pens with chickens, rabbits and ferrets, and they sold cattle. I remember one occasion when a bullock escaped and caused chaos in High Street. People used to come in from the villages all around for a good mardle. The back garden of the old Maid’s Head was full of people having lunch. The market got pushed to the top of the street when Tesco came and it killed it totally. Now there’s just one burger van.”

Other long-gone landmarks include the Railway Hotel and High Street Bakery. They were bombed during the Second World War and Percy Thirst and his daughter Jean were killed. The Grebe pub now stands in the buildings’ place.

Stalham’s railway station has also disappeared and the route of the old line is now under the A149 in the Potter Heigham direction, and forms part of the Weaver’s Way towards North Walsham.

“I wanted to record all the changes and to show people what it used to be like,” said Mr Woolston.

Waiting for a train in bygone days.Waiting for a train in bygone days.

Stalham Then and Now is available in Stalham from Forrest’s, The Poppy Centre, or online via Copies cost £7.95. A £1 donation to the Poppy Centre will be made from the sale of every book.

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