Park life: The lost cottages of Earlham Park in Norwich
- Credit: Chamberlain family collection
A glimpse of the past and the way we were… these are rare photographs of a little community which once stood in Earlham Park, Norwich.
The photographs come from James and Sonia Chamberlain and many years ago members of their family lived in one of the two cottages near the river and the old bridge. Their neighbours were the Rushes.
Charles Chamberlain and his wife Margaret moved from Aylsham to Earlham Park with some of their children and Charles worked at the Makins farm. Jimmy – James’ father – was born in 1912, the youngest of eight children.
He always told the tale of how he, when a toddler, fell into the river and was pulled out of the water by the family dog.
The Chamberlain’s moved to Colney where Charles died in 1942. Jimmy was married by then to Joan Starland, who lived in the cottage by Earlham gates. Her father had been head gardener for the council at Earlham Hall.
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The Bartram family cottage was opposite St Mary’s Church and Mrs Bartram made tea for the Sunday afternoon cricketers while two sisters, Lavinia and Gardinia Bartlett, lived in a thatched cottage opposite the park gates where flats are now.
Norwich Corporation eventually took over the park, once the private grounds of Earlham Hall, and the properties.
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It was in 1937 when George Plunkett photographed and wrote about Earlham Bridge Cottages, describing their design in detail. The “Churchwarden Gothic” style of the arches and the chimneys which may have come from the Costessey brickfields.
The Norwich Society called for them to be saved but to no avail – they were demolished in the late 1930s.
With thanks to James and Sonia Chamberlain and to Bill Smith for preparing the photographs for publication.
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