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Personal Memories

On this page we have selected some personal memories from Thorpe St Andrew residents to share with you.

‘Thorpe St Andrew in the 1920s’

by Ray Bloomfield

I lived in Thorpe St Andrew, at Southwold House on Yarmouth Road, from early 1921 when I was 7 and a-half, until late 1924 when I was 11. Opposite our house, where School Avenue now is, was Dale’s Loke Farm. Nearby was a farm which was mainly for pigs, though I also remember watching the cows being milked – by hand of course. My mother was worried when we first moved there, by the powerful farm odours which drifted across the road and penetrated our house. “No, no risk to health”, said Dr Davidson, amused, I imagine, at being consulted.


by Hazel Addis
(nee Wilson)

THORPE has always been Home to me, or at least my Old Home. Actually I was born at Heathside in Thorpe Hamlet, as it was then known, until it merged with Thorpe St. Matthew; a thinly populated residential fringe to Norwich; and it was there that my two older brothers and I spent our very happy early childhood. Heathside is at the top of a hill and Nannies and Nursemaids must have had a hard time pushing prams and push-chairs up and down to Thorpe Road, for little but open Country with rough tracks lay to the North of us.

‘Between the Wars’

by Henry Bussey

My name is Henry Bussey and as one who was born in Thorpe St Andrew as the Great War ended and lived in the village until enlisting in the Royal Norfolk Regiment just before the outbreak of World War Two I have been asked to record my memories of those days. Alas, they can only be random memories as I have now reached the ripe old age of eighty-one. My father was born at Great Plumstead, one of a family of six boys and three girls and they lived in a two bedroom cottage adjacent to Keys farm.
Living conditions were appalling, there was no bath and washing facilities comprised a pail of water from the well in a brick outhouse. The girls shared a bedroom and water was carried upstairs in a bucket. It seems these conditions were the norm in those days.

‘Memories of the 1950s’

by David Culley

We lived in St Andrews Avenue when it was a stony road with dirt footways each side separated from the road by rough grass. Part way up there was a particular flinty outcrop always negotiated with care whether on a bike or after 1953 in our first post war car. There were two large trees which intruded into the road just past No 19. They had been part of a field boundary before the road was made. Just over the brow of the hill the houses stopped and there was a corn field stretching to Gargle Hill plantation, simply known to us as The Woods. I recall an old faded pink threshing machine driven by a belt from a tractor in the corner of that field and the clatter the iron wheels made as it was at last driven down the hill to the Yarmouth Road over those stones.

‘Schooldays in Thorpe in the 1930s’

by Moira Thirkettle

I and my two sisters lived in Thorpe, were born there, in a terrace house opposite the ‘Council Houses” — these were different, our father being an owner—occupier, though having to work all hours to pay his mortgage – nevertheless we were inclined to think of ourselves as ‘different’. Granny and Granddad lived next door — they had a big notice over the front room window “Read & Sons, Builders” and all Granddad’s relations — originally from Blofield way — were in the building trade, some of them having a workshop a few houses away from us where certain stores were kept and carpentry done, such as coffins. 
On Saturdays we would go down the lane — at the back of the terrace – to this workshop to collect small pieces of scrap wood and shavings for mother’s fire — there was a stair—case, with open treads — fine for going up but coming down was on our bottoms because we could see dizzily down.

‘Thorpe Between the Wars’

by Alfred Jenner

The writer lived his boyhood in Thorpe and, as an apprentice reporter on the “Norwich Mercury”, covered the village news from July 1937 to August 1938. ”Heck’n th’ lunies” (Here come the loonies) yelled an excited, grubby-faced boy with the seat out of his pants as he ran passed the village green towards Mr. Rudling’s school, overtaking others as poorly dressed as they trudged up the hill.
It was 1926 and that broad-Norfolk cry, born of generations of ignorance, sums up as well as anything else the tremendous social and physical changes that have taken place in Thorpe St. Andrew over the past sixty years.

‘Recollections of Times Gone By’

by Janet Smith

As many readers will know ‘The Beacon’ has published several reminiscences of older residents of the parish. I would to see more. Last year a history of of the Village was published (now out-of-print after two impressions) and I am aware that more recent events and persons are being forgotten.

How about it? Most of us have memories, which will be lost if not recorded. How I wish. when I was younger that I had listened more carefully to the likes of Billy Peachman and Arthur Rivett when they were mardling.