On May 30, 2018, Jean Davies [email protected] wrote:-
I read with great interest the article about Great Plumstead. When I was 10 or round about that age I used to spend the summer holidays with my grandparents at Broome Cottage. My grandmother never saw much of me as somehow or other I spent all my days at Hall Farm with Mr Wigg and his wife. On one very special occasion I was allowed to ride one of the big old cart horses down to the blacksmith’s – I felt very important! I’m 90 years old now and many miles away from dear old Norfolk but still remember how blissful those days were. For me in those days the farm was almost magical with a lovely quiet pond in front surrounded by graceful old trees. After a long day of harvesting, the horses would run to the pond and roll in the water. I’m sorry that these days people will never experience the peace and beauty that existed then. I’m so glad I can still remember. Nostalgically, Jean Davies.
A few days later, I replied:
It was a pleasure to receive your email. Although I lived from 1938 until 1955 in Little Plumstead, where my father was the local policeman, I also knew Great Plumstead well. I do remember Broome Cottage but cannot recall the name of the people who lived there, and although I remember Hall Farm I think the owners had changed. My parents were great friends of the landlord of the Hare Pub, Mr and Mrs. Ellis and their son Jack, and I spent a lot of time there playing with their grandchildren. I also went to music lessons with Miss Newson who lived at the blacksmith’s and spent many hours earning my pocket money picking blackcurrants at Jones’s fruit farm. The villages of Gt. Plumstead and Lt. Plumstead have altered with the building of houses everywhere – many along Hare Road – and the new by-pass road cuts right across Gt. Plumstead with a bridge spanning the railway on the Norwich Road near Reeves Corner and Low Road. Were you living in another part of Norfolk at the time or did you just come for holidays? It is strange but at the back of my mind I have a picture of an elderly man from Broome Cottage riding a bike.
Jean Davies emailed again:
I’m thrilled you remembered my granddad, Mr Ernest Tite. I certainly recall his trusty bicycle and the (to me) huge acetylene lamp. He used to ride to Acle where he was Town Clerk. His mother (my great-grandma) lived with them – she was 104 years old when she died. (Norfolk air!) He worked at the Red House as head gardener. And he WAS a great gardener! He also had lovely classical handwriting which no doubt helped him in his capacity as Town Clerk. Oh Rosemary! Broome Cottage [which she had recently found on Google World] was so lovely in those days – there was a beautiful orchard with daffodils and narcissus. And my dad (Fred), my Uncle George and my Aunt Ethel,their sister, had each planted a fruit tree. There was a beautiful hydrangea by the front door. It was blue (apparently a great rarity in those days). To the left of the house was a greengage/plum tree – the fruit was like nectar, I can taste it now! There was also a holly hedge running from the front hedge to the north end of the house, always full of bright red berries and super for Xmas decorations. There was a well (my dad told me it was 60 feet deep and he remembers going down there in a bucket when he was very small!) The owner of Hall Farm when I was a girl was Mr Bartram Wigg and his wife. I loved going there and learned a lot about hard work – of course nobody forced me to do anything but I just loved pitching in and helping in my own small way At that time we were living at Ipswich and a little later at Cromer. After I married we emigrated to Canada and here I am today with two daughters in British Columbia, two sons in Alberta and one son here in Montreal. How lovely to reminisce but also so sad. Thank you so much for your letter. It means a great deal to me.
More local history from Jean Davies:
My great-grandmother lived on Low Road (at least I think it was Low Road). It was a tiny little thatched cottage when I knew it. I remember finding it on the web some time ago and it had certainly been altered to some extent. The garden was lovely – just like one’s picture of an old English garden. Great-grandma used to be the village midwife but that was before my time. Also on that road lived Aggie and Will Futter – Aggie I believe being a cousin of my grandfather. It would be too much of a coincidence if you knew them. I just want to recount one more memory before I shut up – it’s about my grandma’s neighbour (I think her name was Mrs Bird) who used to come every Monday to help with the laundry. I was once in her house which I am sure would be condemned these days! The floors which were just ordinary bricks and none too level either. In fact the whole house was crooked and seemed like something out of a Dickens novel. I cannot believe it would still From pictures I’ve seen Plumstead sadly does not look as benign as I remember it, but I guess nothing ever stays the same – and some would say “Thank goodness for that!”
On June 8, 2018, [email protected] wrote: I used to live at The Firs in Water Lane, Little Plumstead; my father Dr Heald worked as a psychiatrist at the hospital. I remember visiting the wards at Christmas and also the Fete was held in our garden. Great Memories. Does anyone know what happened to The Firs? Last time I went past it was boarded up.
On June 12, I replied: When we searched earlier for Water lane, Little Plumstead, on Google Earth, the gate to The Firs was barred and building work was commencing on the site to the right of the property and behind it. But that view was obviously captured sometime in the past. Yesterday, when we passed through Little Plumstead, the gate was open and the house, from the road, looked as if it might be lived in. To the right and behind, Cripps are building “an exclusive development of brand new 2, 3 , and four bedroom homes”, which appear to tie in with the massive housing estate behind in the grounds of the hospital. Quite a change from when you were living there.
After checking the picture I sent, Julia wrote: I am sure The Firs looks lived in. Last time I visited the area the gate was locked and the property had boards over the windows. I hope that whoever lives there enjoys it like I did.