They are a collection of rare cards published in 1928 and called Ancient Norwich…but you had to buy cigarettes to get them.

In those days so many people smoked – cigarettes, cigars, pipes and then there was the snuff.

Cards were hot property, tempting many people to buy a certain brand, and covered a huge range of subjects. The footballers were very popular.

Now MPs have supported a plan to ban those born after 2009 from buying cigarettes in a bid to create a “smoke free generation.”

Times have changed.

When these cards were printed Adcock and Son were the last tobacco manufacturers operating in the city. On the back was a history of the buildings or area.

In the 19th century there were several  factories in the city with James Newbegin having a shop on Guildhall Hill and a factory in the Bridewell.

Eastern Daily Press: The cigar making department at Adcocks

By the turn of the century the only factory left was Adcock’s where hundreds of men and women worked. They moved from Queen Street to premises at Pottergate and ran a shop at the Back of the Inns and in King’s Lynn.

Daniel Adcock had arrived in Norwich during 1847 to manage Newbegin’s tobacco factory and knew the business well…his father had been a cigar manufacturer in New York.

He set up a factory with Samuel Denham and when he died his son Ernest joined his father and the business became Adcock and Son…the largest tobacco manufacturers in the Eastern Counties.

Eastern Daily Press: The founder of the company, Daniel Adcock, who died in 1894

Most of the tobacco came from across the world – from the United State to China – and the best cigars were rolled from Cuba tobacco….Adcock’s Sure Shot cigars were much sought after and they made around 2,000,000 a year.

Eastern Daily Press: The way it was in the tobacco cutting department at Adcock’s

And most of them were rolled by the women employees at the large Pottergate factory. It was a booming business in the early 20th century which supplied a very large army of smokers at the time.

Eastern Daily Press: Ernest Daniel Adcock who died in 1936 aged 80. One of the first people in Norwich to own a car

Ernest Daniel Adcock was a popular man across the city and county. He was a talented artist and a member of the famous Woodpecker Art Club and one of the original members of Eaton Golf Club.

He was also one of the first people in the city to own a car. His first, a Wolseley, caused people to stop and stare – in 1903.

Ernest died in 1936 and the family business survived, through its warehouse and shops, until the 1940s.

Back in the 1890s it was reported that in Great Yarmouth there was also a large and popular shop run by Mr W E Sacret in Regent Street which sold and supplied a large range of tobacco products. Cigars, charoots, cigarettes, pouches, pipes in every variety.

Also operating in Regent Street was Frank Brown, tobacco and cigar merchant while over in Broad Row there was Mr R J Blyth, retail tobacconist and importer of cigars and snuff. The business dated back to 1780.

Eastern Daily Press: The boxing and bundling department at Adcocks. Photo: Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society.

Cards were banned during the Second World War and were never that popular again.