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From a chalk pit to Carrow Road - historian's talk to delve into history of Norwich City's grounds

PUBLISHED: 15:48 12 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:48 12 November 2017

Section of the crowd at The Nest for the Norwich City v Sheffield Wednesday match in the 1934/35 season.  Picture: Archant library

Section of the crowd at The Nest for the Norwich City v Sheffield Wednesday match in the 1934/35 season. Picture: Archant library

Archant

Football lovers can take a trip back through time during an illustrated talk on Norwich City's three grounds.

Where it all began for NCFC, the club's first ground on Newmarket Road.
PHOTO SIMON FINLAYWhere it all began for NCFC, the club's first ground on Newmarket Road. PHOTO SIMON FINLAY

John Litster, a football historian, will delve into the details around the club’s grounds during the talk in the city centre later this week.

The old 'Nest' Norwich football ground. Taken 1928/9 between Coventry and Norwich. A minor fight took place between players - squaring up to each other - fisticuffs and kicking rear portions of their anatomy! Picture: Archant LibraryThe old 'Nest' Norwich football ground. Taken 1928/9 between Coventry and Norwich. A minor fight took place between players - squaring up to each other - fisticuffs and kicking rear portions of their anatomy! Picture: Archant Library

He will look at its Newmarket Road site, today part of Town Close Preparatory School, where the club played from its foundation in 1902 until 1908.

The sculpture remembering Norwich City's old ground at the Nest on Rosary road, Norwich was unveiled by Hopkin Homes in 2012. Photo by Simon Finlay.The sculpture remembering Norwich City's old ground at the Nest on Rosary road, Norwich was unveiled by Hopkin Homes in 2012. Photo by Simon Finlay.

They then moved to the disused chalk pit of The Nest, off Rosary Road, which today has been turned into housing, before a quick-build saw Carrow Road opened in 1935.

Newmarket Road sports ground and pavillion on the outer ring road in Norwich. Picture: James BassNewmarket Road sports ground and pavillion on the outer ring road in Norwich. Picture: James Bass

Mr Litster said: “I’ve been fascinated with the history of football from a very young age, I founded and edited a magazine on it for 30 years, and it’s something that’s very much in my DNA.”

Timm Klose of Norwich blocks a shot on goal from Diogo Jota of Wolverhampton Wanderers during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
31/10/2017Timm Klose of Norwich blocks a shot on goal from Diogo Jota of Wolverhampton Wanderers during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 31/10/2017

The talk will be the first of three winter events held by the Norwich Society, with the second and third focusing on the city’s cinematic and brewing histories.

Site of the old 'Nest' NFCF ground. September 1998. Picture: Archant LibrarySite of the old 'Nest' NFCF ground. September 1998. Picture: Archant Library

But Mr Litster there was a “fantastic” story to tell around the grounds.

The 'Wall' at NCFC's old ground, The Nest. September 1998. Picture: Archant LibraryThe 'Wall' at NCFC's old ground, The Nest. September 1998. Picture: Archant Library

“The structure of the Newmarket Road ground is still going and it looks the same as it did,” he said. “But they moved from there to the most incredible site of any football league ground.

The 1935 FA Cup match between Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday saw the Nest packed with a record attendance of 25,037 people. A month later the grounds were ruled unsafe to host large crowds by the Football Association which saw Carrow Road being built in 82 days so it was ready for the new season. Picture: Archant LibraryThe 1935 FA Cup match between Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday saw the Nest packed with a record attendance of 25,037 people. A month later the grounds were ruled unsafe to host large crowds by the Football Association which saw Carrow Road being built in 82 days so it was ready for the new season. Picture: Archant Library

“Carved out of a disused chalk pit, it was a very unlikely site for a football ground. The big embarkment was the terracing - it’s an unbelievable site.

A GV of the stadium before Norwich City U23 v Milton Keynes Dons during the Checkatrade Trophy match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd +44 7902 242054
08/11/2016A GV of the stadium before Norwich City U23 v Milton Keynes Dons during the Checkatrade Trophy match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd +44 7902 242054 08/11/2016

“But luckily they outgrew the ground, because it was becoming dangerous for the size of the crowds it was attracting.”

Where it all began, former NCFC player Ron Ashman visits the club's first ground on Newmarket Road.
PHOTO SIMON FINLAYWhere it all began, former NCFC player Ron Ashman visits the club's first ground on Newmarket Road. PHOTO SIMON FINLAY

He said Carrow Road, where the club have played for 82 years, was built in a remarkable 83 days.

A picture taken in Norwich Then and Now A Third Selection, by Philip Standley, showing Newmarket Road sports gound.A picture taken in Norwich Then and Now A Third Selection, by Philip Standley, showing Newmarket Road sports gound.

The event will be held at the Assembly House, in the city centre, from 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 15.

For members of the Norwich Society, often described as the city’s civic watchdog, the event is free, but costs £5 for guests. Tea and coffee will be available from 7pm.

To buy tickets or for information on the event, click here.

• Are you organising an event we should be writing about? Let us know by emailing lauren.cope@archant.co.uk



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