Step back in time to village life 100 years ago...
PUBLISHED: 21:41 25 November 2018 | UPDATED: 21:41 25 November 2018
Snap, snap, snap...in the 21st century taking a picture is part of everyday life. A century ago a photograph was something special. Derek James takes a stroll down memory lane.
Retired Norfolk printer turned author and historian Ray Woolston is a man who is something of a magician and he has pulled another rabbit out of the hat with his new book.
Ray, who has raised a lot of money for the wonderful Poppy Centre in Stalham, has plenty of friends and once again they have been searching in dark corners to discover some rare treats.
They are included in Ray’s new book The Villages Around Stalham – Glimpses Back in Time. Volume 2. Once again it will help with the running costs of the centre.
Take it from me you don’t have to come from these parts to enjoy these rare photographs of life in places such as Wayford, Smallburgh, Dilham, Honing, East Ruston, Bacton, Happisburgh, Sea Palling and Ingham.
And it is not just the pictures and postcards which make this book so special, it is the wise words from Ray which bring them alive and introduce us to the people we can see.
“One thing which became very clear doing research was how important the local Post Office/General Stores was to most village,” said Ray.
“We tend to forget that in those olden days there was no electricity and transport was limited to bicycle or horse and cart. The blacksmith too was much in demand and most village had at least one,” he added.
“Many people never travelled out of Norfolk and some never ever left the village where they were born,” points out Ray...and thanks to him and his those who help him they will not be forgotten. He would especially like to thank Eileen Ollie, Betty Sylvester, Sheila Dunning, Janet Coleman, Walter Baker and Kurtis Gale of Bacton History Group.
Anyway, let’s head off to give you give a taste of what the book has to offer.
Wayford & Smallburgh
The 2011 census showed Smallburgh had a population of 518 in 219 households. The White’s Directory of 1864 shows a thriving community which comprised of a carpenter, bricklayer, plumber, shoemaker, grocer and draper, surgeon/registrar. There was also a blacksmith, a master of the workhouse, a mistress of the school, three public or beer houses, carrier, tailor, rector, book-keeper, many farmers and smallholders.
The name is derived from the old English for a “homestead where dill in grown” and many fields of the herb Dill were grown in these parts. The canal was built in 1825. In 2008 a trust was formed to protect it for the benefit of the community and environment. Today it can be enjoyed by locals and visitors.
In 1883 there were three pubs all in the Street – The Gardeners Arms, the White Swan and The Navigation Inn. All gone. Honing Hall was built in the 1740s by Norwich Worsted weaver Andrew Chamber. It was sold to Thomas Cubitt, a Captain in the East Norfolk Militia in 1784 and remains in the family. The village was once an important cog in the wheel when the railway was extended from Stalham through to Melton Constable.
The Post Office/General Stores was at the heart of village life. The Post Office also had more than seven acres of land to keep chicken, pigs and cows. At one point they tried to keep rabbits to kill for food but they burrowed under the wire and escaped. The Village Hall was built in 1924 and paid for by Sir James Roll, Lord Mayor of London, who attended the primary school when a lad.
During a terrible storm in 1789 70 sailing boats and 600 men were lost off the Norfolk coast. Then in 1801, more than 100 sailors of HMS Invincible came to grief on the sands. Today the lighthouse is run by a trust and five years ago a series of footprints left by early humans in ancient estuary mud more than 800,000 years ago were discovered.
A century ago the main trade was fishing for crabs, shrimps, herring and other fish. At this time an oyster bed brought more prosperity...then it was fished out. During the Second World the chance of invasion was considered very high. Pillboxes, anti-tank blocks, ditches were built and large areas of the beach mined and laid with barbed wire. An airfield was set up close by. Today the most famous landmark is the gas terminal which opened 50 years ago.
In the 18th century the place was rife with smugglers. To combat these a coast guard station was set up in 1822. The local fishermen reacted by setting up salvage companies for salvaging vessels at sea. Dangerous but well paid work. Many lives were lost. Today it is a much-loved venue for beach-lovers. A charming Norfolk seaside resort.
Home to around 400 people. It has a church, a public house and the Old Hall dates back to the 14th century. It was inhabited by Lord of the Manor Sir Miles Stapleton. Along with his father-in-law Sir Oliver de Ingham they set up a Priory in the grounds. It had disappeared by 1640 and today it is where the cricket ground stands.
The Villages Around Stalham – Glimpses Back in Time by Ray Woolston and printed by Clover Greetings of Acle costs £7.95 is on sale at Jarrold and City Books, Norwich, Stalham Poppy Shop and Forrests in Stalham; Dilham Cross Keys, East Ruston Butchers Arms and Good News Newsgents in Lathams, Potter Heigham or from email@example.com