Your memories of Mile Cross, seaside summer camps and more

Mile Cross girls at the Trimingham summer camp

Mile Cross girls at the Trimingham summer camp. - Credit: Family Collection

Thank you so much for all your memories of life on Mile Cross, the first garden housing estate of its kind, when it was starting to be built in Norwich a century ago. We received them from near and far.

Special mentions go to the Lido (swimming and dancing), the Capitol (films), St Catherine’s Church, Norman, Dowson and Philadelphia schools: so many magical memories of growing up on Mile Cross in Norwich.

And our recent story about how a community grew on the Mile Cross estate also brought back thoughts of happy days at a place some of you may have gone for your first holiday – Trimingham, home of the summer camps.

Girls from Dowson School with teachers at Trimingham in 1935

Girls from Dowson School with teachers at Trimingham in 1935. - Credit: Family Collection

Some of you may remember a young Thelma Sheldon. She is now Thelma Lott living in America and gets the paper to keep in touch with all things Norfolk.

“Your story brought back such great heart-warming memories for me. Back in the day we did a lot of walking and bicycle riding to get around so everything in your article brought back huge memories.

"Thank you for making me feel young again,” said Thelma and I am sure you will join me in wishing her a happy 80th birthday.


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These photographs, which we hope will bring back even more memories, come from Vanessa Morton.

Her mother, then Doris Ray, was a teacher at Philadelphia and Dowson schools from 1928 to 1936 when Miss Violet Crowe was the headmistress.

Teacher Doris Ray with winners of the swimming cup at Philadelphia School

Teacher Doris Ray with winners of the swimming cup at Philadelphia School. - Credit: Family Collection

Doris Ray teaching a weaving class at school in 1930

Doris Ray teaching a weaving class at school in 1930. - Credit: Family Collection

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“As a newly qualified teacher in the late 1920s and early 1930s, she loved teaching in Mile Cross, and the energy and enthusiasm of the children,” said Vanessa.

And how they enjoyed those holidays at Trimingham. Having the time of their young lives. For some it was the first time they had seen the sea

Happy days at the seaside

Happy days at the seaside. Picture: Family Collection - Credit: Family Collection

We also heard from Pauline Cullum (Smith) who was born in Mitre Court, Appleyard Crescent back in 1928.

“Yes, I can remember the Lido opening. I was taken to the opening event, swimming and diving displays, also a performance of mermaids dancing to music. I thought it was wonderful,” said Pauline.

“I went to Mile Cross Junior School and then to the Dowson, a most lovely school with such dedicated teachers. Their knowledge was passed on and has lasted a lifetime,” said Pauline.

She was 11 when war was declared and school was put on hold while air raid shelters were built. 

Parents day at Trimingham

Parents day at Trimingham in Norfolk. - Credit: Family Collection

“I can remember Waterloo Park being opened and learning to swim in the Eagle Baths and then graduating to the Lido.

“As a child I was taken  to some of the places like Ber Street, Oak Street and Barrack Street.

“Considering how we lived at Mile Cross I thought how lucky we were,” said Pauline.

Happy days at the seaside in Norfolk

Happy days at the seaside in Norfolk. - Credit: Family Collection

Michael Todd was born in Mile Cross in 1935 and  went to the Norman School. During the war his father and brother served in the RAF so he and his mum were left to fend for themselves.

“Life at school was very different from today. There were many nights when we didn’t get much sleep due to the blitz so each afternoon we collected our little straw mats from the corner of the classroom, unrolled them and slept for an hour,” said Michael, who passed the 11+ and went to City of Norwich School.

Their home in Margaret Paston Avenue had an outside toilet which could often freeze in winter and there was an air-raid shelter in the garden where they often slept and the rest of the garden was used to grow vegetables and fruit.

“As a boy of six or seven I would grow radishes, spring onions, lettuces, cabbages and take them round the estate to sell. People were so kind and I would return having sold out,” said Michael.

If you have memories or photos of holidays at the Trimingham summer camps then we would love to hear from you. Drop me a line at derek.james2013@gmail.com

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