Explore the streets of this historic Norfolk market town in the 1970s

Shoppers bustle about at Diss market in 1979.

Shoppers bustle about at Diss market in 1979. - Credit: Archant Library

It was the Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman who loved Diss with a passion and when he returned with Prime Minister’s wife, Mary Wilson, who was born in the town, in 1974 he wrote:

“Dear Mary,

Yes, it will be bliss.

To go with you by train to Diss.”

An aerial view of the town centre at Diss in 1979. 

An aerial view of the town centre at Diss in 1979. - Credit: Archant Library

And they went on to encourage the restoration of the 17th-century weaver’s cottages on Fair Green, a lovely part of the town which is well worth a look.

Dear old Diss, a good place to grow up in. The people will always make it special.

Our photographs today take us back to the days of the 1970s. Yes, times have changed but the buildings have, in the main, survived.

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The wonderful landmark St Mary’s Church, where I was a choirboy in the 1960s, stands proud and tall...

Tucked beside the church is the ancient Saracen’s Head where, as a member of Diss Rugby Club, we changed before heading off to play on Rectory Meadow, returning to sample their Bullards beer - or was it S&P?

A glimpse back in time to Mount Street at Diss on March 22, 1974.

A glimpse back in time to Mount Street at Diss on March 22, 1974. - Credit: Archant Library

Before we head down Mere Street, take a look at St Nicholas Street, and can you notice the sign Edward on the right? Well, that was where the great character and personality Edward Bolton, ran his hairdressers. A true man about town.

Diss Parish Church on October 17, 1973.

Diss Parish Church on October 17, 1973. - Credit: Archant Library

Heading down Mere Street, on a Friday market day, we can stop off to get some chips from the stall on the market, opposite the delightful old Dolphin Inn.

Outside the Dolphin Inn and market at Diss in July 1974.

Outside the Dolphin Inn and market at Diss in July 1974. - Credit: Archant Library

Nip into Strudwicks for some fruit and veg, (it’s the museum nowadays), pop over the road to Easto’s for some fish for tea, and then take a look around the stalls.

A look back at Diss town centre, including Strudwicks flower shop. Date: July 19, 1979.

A look back at Diss town centre, including Strudwicks flower shop. Date: July 19, 1979. - Credit: Archant Library

Then, walking through Mere Street we pass the Kings Head, Woolworths, the International Stores, Ives shoe shop, where Mrs Brundell worked, wave to Tom Cannell at the butchers, nip into Taylor’s Record Shop to buy the latest Beatles disc.

The high street and Market Hill in Diss in November 1971.

The high street and Market Hill in Diss in November 1971. - Credit: Archant Library

And then finish off with a cup of tea and a bun at Charlie Denny’s… sit in the window and look at the ducks on the Mere.

It’s really was, and still is, bliss to be in Diss.

The high street and Market Hill in Diss, November 1971. 

The high street and Market Hill in Diss, November 1971. - Credit: Archant Library

The high street and Market Hill in Diss in November 1971. 

The high street and Market Hill in Diss in November 1971. - Credit: Archant Library

The stalls at Diss market in 1974

Looking out over the stalls on Diss market. Date: August 2, 1974. - Credit: Archant Library


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