Before and after: Aerial photos show Norfolk's changes over 30 years

Before and after pictures of Breydon Water in Great Yarmouth.

Before and after: Breydon Water pictured in 1984 and 2021. The bridge was built in 1985. Can you spot any other difference? - Credit: Mike Page

Eye-opening before and after photos show how much Norfolk has changed in three decades.

Local photographer Mike Page has taken sky-high shots of the some of the county's landmarks and coastline over the last few decades.

Recently he went out again - and the birds-eye view afforded by his photos shows an urban and rural landscape transformed, and transforming, under the steady, unstoppable advance of time.

Preparatory work for the Breydon Bridge in 1984.

Preparatory work for the Breydon Bridge in 1984. - Credit: Mike Page

Breydon Bridge 2021

The same scene in 2021. - Credit: Mike Page

Thirty-seven years ago, the Breydon Bridge in Great Yarmouth still existed only on blueprints, while the riverbank itself was being prepared for the construction project that would finish the following year, allowing cars cross the River Yare and linking the borough with Lowestoft.

South Denes in Great Yarmouth, pictured in 2001, before the Outer Harbour was built.

South Denes in Great Yarmouth, pictured in 2001, before the Outer Harbour was built. - Credit: Mike Page

Great Yarmouth outer harbour 2020

The same scene in 2020. - Credit: Mike Page

The town's outer harbour is notable by its absence in a 2001 photo, with the shot showing the waves crashing unobstructed on the beach.

Construction work on the town's outer harbour began six years later and was completed by 2009, with the seascape there now dominated by a pair of breakwaters, 1,400 metres in length and containing 850,000 tonnes of rock.

Picture by Mike Page shows :-

Picture by Mike Page shows the cliff line at Happisburgh in 1995. The yellow dots show a now cliffside wartime pillbox and nearest house to the cliffs. - Credit: Mike Page

Mike Page

The cliff line at Happisburgh, showing the same pillbox and house in yellow dots, pictured in 2021. - Credit: Mike Page

The photos also show the startling rate at which the cliff line at Happisburgh in particular has fallen away in the past 35 years. 

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Houses that once perched precariously on the edge are no longer there, and the aged network of wooden sea walls and groynes has been all but swept away. 


The same view of Happisburgh in 2021.

The same view of Happisburgh in 2021. - Credit: Mike Page

The cliffs and sea defences at Happisburgh in 1996, showing the lighthouse in the background. 

The cliffs and sea defences at Happisburgh in 1996, showing the lighthouse in the background. - Credit: Mike Page

The damage can be clearly shown with these photographs of Happisburgh lighthouse, prompting campaigner Malcolm Kerby to call for action.

Mr Kerby, one of the co-founders of the village's Coastal Action Group, said the government should fund a "roll-back" so homes and other structures threatened by erosion could be built further inland.  

 

The Riverside complex in Norwich pictured in 1995.

The Riverside complex in Norwich pictured in 1995. - Credit: Mike Page

The Riverside complex, and Carrow Road, pictured in 2021.

The Riverside complex, and Carrow Road, pictured in 2021. - Credit: Mike Page

In Norwich, the changes are as evident. The city's Riverside has been transformed since 1995. The Riverside we know today, packed with restaurants, leisure venues and flats, was still under construction. For much of the 1990s, it was used as a park and ride car park.

Postwick, pictured in 1991.

Postwick, pictured in 1991. - Credit: Mike Page

The Postwick area of Norwich, pictured in 2021.

The Postwick area of Norwich, pictured in 2021. - Credit: Mike Page

In the last 30 years, the area around Postwick has been transformed, with empty fields turned into business parks and roads.

The £21m Postwick Hub was completed in 2016, but attracted criticism over its design and layout.

The back of the former Nestlé factory, pictured in 1996.

The back of the former Nestlé factory, pictured in 1996. - Credit: Mike Page

The back of Chantry Place, pictured in 2021.

The back of Chantry Place, pictured in 2021. - Credit: Mike Page

Today, Chantry Place is a bustling shopping centre at the heart of the city centre.

But in 1996, it was occupied by food giant Nestlé, though the firm closed the factory later that year. It had previously been run by Rowntree Mackintosh and, before that, Caley's.

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