Man recreates famous bus in hole scene from 1988, as huge hole appears in garden



A Bowthorpe man saw the funny side when a huge hole appeared in his garden - and he recreated that famous image from 25 years ago when a bus disappeared down a hole in the city.

The hole that appeared in Paul Pritchard's back garden at Bowthorpe, recreating the famous picture o

The hole that appeared in Paul Pritchard's back garden at Bowthorpe, recreating the famous picture of a bus in a hole in the road, in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2013

Paul Pritchard placed a toy double-decker bus at the top of the hole in a recreation of the incident on March 3, 1988, when a number 26 bus fell into a 26ft deep hole in Earlham Road.

The 63-year-old, who lives with wife Yvonne in a mid-terraced house in Peverell Road, said: 'We thought we would recreate the 1988 bus for a laugh.'

He found the hole at the bottom of his garden earlier in the week.

He said: 'I put my foot down and this hole, the size of an ashtray opened up. The whole area round it was spongy, as well, and after sweeping some stones away, all hell broke loose. A larger hole appeared, about 3ft by 4ft and about 8ft deep.

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'I don't know what caused it but I have an idea. Our neighbour once had a huge willow tree, 30-40ft tall, in his garden.

'It was cut down but we think it's the roots from that tree that have been degraded and it's left an air pocket in our garden.

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'The neighbour is also now getting a depression in his garden where the stump of the tree was.'

As their property was a former council house, the Pritchards called Norwich City Council for advice on what to do, but Mr Pritchard said that, as they now owned the house, the authority was unable to help.

Mr Pritchard, who is semi-retired, added: 'We've got a surveyor coming round, also a drain inspector, to see if it's anything to do with the drains, but we don't think it is.

'The hole's quite prominent in the garden and my wife was quite frightened the first time she saw it. We are having to cordon it off from the dog.'


Back in 1988, the bus in the hole in Earlham Road made headlines around the world.

As the bus driver had attempted to pull away, a large section of the road surface collapsed beneath the rear wheels of the vehicle.

An old chalk mine, dating from the 11th century, had just given way. The passengers managed to scramble off before the vehicle slipped further into the cavernous pit.

But the drama did not end there, as many homes and businesses, including a hotel and a language school, had to be evacuated. A gas main had ruptured below the vehicle and was leaking large volumes of gas into the surrounding area. Gas workers struggled throughout the night to seal the leak and prevent a major explosion. Have you got a quirky story for the Evening News? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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