What was life like in Norfolk 100 years ago?

The way it was in busy Norwich when the trams ruled the roads.

A busy day on Orford Hill, Norwich, in the 1920s - Credit: Archant

What will happen to us during the forthcoming year? We all hope for better days…let’s turn the clock back to 1922 and see what was making the news in our papers.


Hunstanton lighthouse sold for £1,300.

Prince Henry unveiled Yarmouth War Memorial.

Mr G W Barnard was appointed county coroner for Norwich district.

German S.S. Vesta destroyed by an explosion and fire off Lowestoft: 14 dead.

Winterton lighthouse sold for £1,550


Walking The Walk in Norwich….but what out for the trams - Credit: Archant

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Foot-and-mouth disease was found on Norwich Hill.

Mr H M Seely adopted as Liberal candidate for East Norfolk.


West Norfolk farm dispute settled after five months’ strike.

Fire at 12 Surrey Street, Norwich: three dead.

Sir Earnest Wild appointed Recorder of London.


Sir A.W.F. Bagge appointed Judge of Norwich Guildhall Court of Record.

The opening of the new Outwell Bridge.


Kensington Gardens, Lowestoft, opened.

Thetford swimming bath formally opened.

Presentation to Mr Arnold H Miller, 21 years Town Clerk of Norwich.

Mr J F Betts appointed clerk to the Norwich magistrates in succession to Mr W R Cooper.

Royal Norfolk Show at Diss.

Mayor P Pickford appointed headmaster of Paston School, North Walsham, in succession to Mr George Hare.


Walking The Walk in Norwich….but what out for the trams. - Credit: Archant


The skull of Sir Thomas Browne reinterred at St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich

Fire at Messrs Chas. Burrell & Sons, engineering works, Thetford.

Norwich Agricultural Association show at Bracondale Woods.

Heavy rainfall in Norfolk: 2.70 inches at Norwich in 24 hours.

James Stuart garden, Recorder Road, Norwich, handed over to the city.

Foundation stones laid of Regent Theatre, Prince of Wales Road, Norwich.


New plant at Yarmouth Electricity Station started.

Mikado Cinema and restaurant, Hunstanton, burnt down.

NORWICH tramLOWER END OF PRINCE OF WALES ROADtrams travelling up and downNO DATEPL.ATE P1008

A rather more peaceful Prince of Wales Road - Credit: Archant


Bucks beat Norfolk by eight runs in the challenge match for the Minor Counties Cricket Championship.

Mr S P Thompson appointed Borough Engineer and Surveyor for Yarmouth.


Manor of Brancaster, including Royal West Norfolk Golf Links, sold for £6,250.

Fire at Messrs. Shreeve & Co’s. store off London Road, Lowestoft.

Norwich Streets -- C / Transport -- TramsCastle Meadow before its wideningDated -- 1926P

A tight squeeze on Castle Meadow - Credit: Archant


Lowestoft Harbour entrance blocked by sandbank and stranded drifter.

Mr Hilton Young created a Privy Councillor; Sir Ellis Hume-Williams, K.C., a baronet; and Mr Neville Jodrell, a knight.

General Election – elected:

Norwich, G H Roberts and Hilton Young.

Yarmouth, A Harbord.

North Norfolk, Noel Buxton.

South Norfolk, Major Hay.

East Norfolk, Captain Falcon.

King’s Lynn, Sir Neville Jodrell.

South-West Norfolk, Sir R Winfrey.

Lowestoft, Gervais Rentoul.


Hugh C Davies, appointed Clerk of the Peace for Norfolk and Clerk to the county council.

H Jordan appointed County Accountant for Norfolk.


A slightly smaller St Stephens gateway to Norwich - Credit: Archant

Other notable dates in 1922

1. On January 4, 1922 a winter storm caused damaged across the county. There were 6ft snowdrifts. The sea wall came down at Cley and flooding at Mundesley with a large section of the cliffs collapsing.

We reported how the ancient forest bed was laid bare at Bacton and houses along the coastline were demolished.

2. Four days later there were more floods across the county and in the Broads region. St Benet’s Abbey was deep in water and children going to a dance rehearsal had to be carried to school on their parent’s backs. The water at Hoveton was said to have reached the bridge.

3. On February 14 there was a terrible fire at King’s Lynn which claimed the life of Amelia Barber, in her 70s, who lived at Norfolk Street above a shop. When the flames were spotted four men held ladders so fireman Samuel Holmes could smash his way through an attic window. He found Amelia under the bed. She had died. The four “unknown men” were commended at the inquest for helping to rescue her.

4. On June 4 fire ripped through the International Stores at Attleborough, opposite the church. Neighbours were warned to get out of their homers as the fire brigade was worried about the blaze spreading and the lack of water. Eventually they got it from the pond at Attleborough Hall.

4. On June 19 residents at the St Faiths workhouse were saved by the efforts of workhouse master and matron, Mr and Mrs Bowman, as flames spread through the building, Eight men, nine women and three babies were brought down from bedroom windows with slings made up of blankets via ladders. Forty inmates were taken to the workhouse at Aylsham. The board decided to shut the old workhouse saying it was a death trap and praised Mr Bowman for being a “hero.” They heard how he had cycled to the post office to call the fire brigade wearing just a pair of trousers – his bare feet were said to be cut to ribbons by glass and stones.

5. On October 21 the 24-strong crew of a steamer from Newcastle were trapped for three days off Scroby Sands. The crew took shelter in the wireless room until the Lowestoft lifeboat rescued them in a strong wind and “nasty” sea.

The following month the RNLI awarded its gold medal to Coxswain Swan of Lowestoft and Coxswain Fleming of Gorleston for the rescue of the crew and the ship’s cat.

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