From the Archive

Post date: Monday, May 21, 2018 - 21:31

The June picture in the Reepham Life 2018 Calendar shows the grand parade in the Market Place, which was part of Reepham Shopping Week in 1950.

In that year the average diet was still influenced by rationing and there was a heavy reliance on bread, milk and vegetables.

Fruit, vegetables and fish were not rationed, although, with a shortage of foods being imported, many fruit and vegetables were only available when they were in season.

Photo: © IWM (D 7958)

Before the war, more than two thirds of British food was imported. But enemy ships targeting merchant vessels prevented fruit, sugar, cereals and meat from reaching the UK.

At the time of the picture, petrol rationing had only just ceased in May 1950, followed by soap in September, but many essential items like tea, sugar, eggs, butter, meat and cheese were still on ration.

It took another four years before all rationing ceased. Tea was still rationed until 1952 and then in 1953 sugar and eggs became freely available and, finally, cheese and meat in 1954.

The continuance of rationing after the official end of the war encouraged people to carry on growing their own food in back gardens and allotments. Queueing outside shops to buy a family’s rations continued to be a way of life.

There were also severe shortages of most consumer products, which prompted the continuance of the wartime “make-do-and-mend” culture. Clothing did not come “off the ration” until 1949, four years after the war had ended.

Fourteen years of food rationing in Britain ended at midnight on 4 July 1954, when restrictions on the sale and purchase of meat and bacon were finally lifted.

Janet Archer

  • The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email: reephamarchive@gmail.com

 

Post date: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 15:19

The May image in the Reepham Life Calendar 2018 shows a photo of the Reepham Cricket Club team in 1921.

Early information about a cricket club in Reepham is sparse, but there are occasional newspaper reports of a club based in the town as early as 1805.

In the 1850s and 1860s the club appeared to be thriving – in one season even hiring a professional bowler.

However, the club must have run into difficulties and efforts were made to re-establish it, notably in 1875 when, in spite of funds being provided by Rev. Sir Edward Repps Jodrell, and a core of enthusiasts, a ground could not be procured. The club was later re-formed in 1881 after a break of 16 years.

Finding a suitable match ground seems to have been a perennial problem. In 1884, when the cricket club was again re-formed, the club resumed using a ground at Kerdiston, probably made available by Barnabas Seely. But misfortune lay ahead, hence this extract from the Norwich Mercury in May 1884:

In 1889 and 1890 the club was using Mr Brownsell’s Meadow as a practice ground. (Thomas Brownsell was the farmer at Rookery Farm at that time, having previously farmed at Moor Farm.)

And in 1891 “Mr B. Stimpson kindly offered a meadow at Sall, gratis, for the use of the club”.

The later-1890s seemed more successful as the team took part in the Junior County Cup and Samuel Bircham provided a ground free of rent – this may have been on land in Norwich Road opposite where Reepham Fishery is now.

Janet Archer

  • The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email: reephamarchive@gmail.com

 

Post date: Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 21:21

As seen in the April picture of the Reepham Life 2018 Calendar, one of the noticeable features of the Robertson’s butcher’s premises is the stepping on the gable end that faces the Market Place.

A murky picture (above) of crowds celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 reveals a different roof shape with two chimneys, and an architect’s drawing in the Reepham Archive dates the alterations to the early 1900s.

John Hall had already been running his harness and saddle-making business there since at least 1890. By the mid-1920s his son Bertie was running the saddlery business and John had retired to live in the building next door that is now Mott’s Pharmacy; he was still living there in 1939.

The other photograph (below), possibly from the 1920s, shows the picket fence (or a similar one) that was still there when the building was occupied by L.L. Skipper in the 1980s.

Previously, Robert Barber, a watchmaker and jeweller, had lived in the current pharmacy building for more than 30 years.

Barber was born in Salle and had spent some time in the 1st Royal Dragoons, marrying in Dublin while stationed at the Royal Barracks. His two eldest children were christened at the garrison chapel at Arbour Hill, Dublin.

His next two daughters were christened in Ashted, Warwickshire, presumably while Robert was posted at Great Brook Street Barracks.

By 1871 he was living and working as a watchmaker in Cawston, moving to Reepham Market Place by the time of the 1881 Census.

Missing photo album returned

Reepham Archive is delighted to report that the missing album of historical photographs has been returned to the Bircham Centre and is now safely back in the library.

Janet Archer

  • The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email: reephamarchive@gmail.com

 

Post date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 20:43

Sheep and their wool were an important economic force from medieval times. By the middle of the 17th century two-thirds of England’s foreign commerce was based on wool, and everyone who had land, from peasants to major landowners, raised sheep.

Evidence of the landowners’ prosperity can be seen in the many beautiful churches in Norfolk, such as St Peter and St Paul, Salle.

The March picture in the Reepham Life 2018 Calendar of the shepherd and his boy reminds us that by the 19th century things were very different and sheep were traded primarily for their meat.

The Reepham Archive believes that this is a photograph of a young Robert Eaglen possibly with his father John.

John Eaglen was a shepherd all his life, born in Little Witchingham in 1832. As a boy he lived in Booton, and after marrying we find him living in Low Common Cottages in Whitwell with his wife Emily and a large family.

Robert (born 1874) also became a shepherd for a while and two of his brothers are called “Shepherd’s Page” in the 1881 Census.

By 1911 Robert was married with two children and had become a gamekeeper, living on Bawdeswell Road.

The Norfolk Electoral Rolls for 1919 show him with his wife Laurena working as a gamekeeper on an estate near Swaffham. (Topically, Laurena also had the vote on account of her husband having an occupation and of them not being lodgers – they were renting their house at the time.)

Although her parents moved away from Reepham, Robert’s daughter Fernleigh married Arthur Hardiment of Hardiment’s Stores, the grocery shop in Reepham’s Market Place.

Janet Archer

• The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email: reephamarchive@gmail.com

The Reepham Life 2018 Calendar is still available for sale by mail order. Further details HERE

Post date: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 17:18

The Reepham Life 2018 Calendar for February shows recovering wounded soldiers from the First World War outside Reepham Town Hall, then known as Hackford Parish Hall.

Although we cannot identify any of the soldiers, we have found out some interesting information about the car in the foreground, AH222.

Due to the persistence of Reepham Archive volunteer Ann Middlemas we know that this car is still in existence and is well looked after.

It has competed in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on at least 50 occasions since 1936, the most recent run being in 2017.

This race was first organised in 1896 to celebrate the Red Flag Repeal. In that year the speed limit was increased from 4 mph on open roads and from 2 mph in towns to 14 mph.

To qualify for entry in the modern run, cars need to be have been built no later than 1905. On the calendar photograph you can see the pannier baskets, still in evidence in the modern picture.

AH222 is a Peugeot Type 49 which left the Peugeot works in 1902. The current owner tells us that it still has its original engine, wooden chassis and body – amazing for a car of its age. It was capable of speeds up to 25 mph.

There is a tenuous reference to it being registered to a Norwich doctor around 1904 and, although there is no evidence, we would like to think that AH222 belonged to Dr Perry, the local doctor who lived at Eynesford House on Dereham Road and was the leading medical officer for Reepham’s Red Cross Hospital during the First World War.

Janet Archer

  • The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Send an EMAIL
  • The Reepham Life 2018 Calendar is still available for sale by mail order. Further details HERE

 

Post date: Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 14:47

In the Reepham Life 2018 Calendar, the January picture of Riches grocery store shows the interior of the shop in the early 1960s.

By that time small, self-service, supermarket-type stores were becoming a feature of high street shopping.

Although there was counter service for goods such as cheese and bacon, the interior shows a variety of goods on display, available for customers to pick up themselves: the beginnings of self-service.

Some once-familiar brands can be spotted: Izal and Harpic shiny toilet paper, jars of Brylcreem, Eno Liver Salts and oval tins of Fynnon Salt.

In the 1970s, Riches shop, under new owners, became the first self-service grocer in Reepham.

Before Leonard Riches took over the shop in 1906 it was run by Mary Woods. Born and baptised in Hackford in the 1830s, Mary had married a farrier and had several children, but by 1871 she was a widow and living in Staples Yard (now Birchams Yard) with her mother Charlotte Loads and three children.

Later she had a grocery shop in Back Street, near or next to The Greyhound; by 1891 she was running the store that became Riches.

In 1911 she was described as a retired grocer living at Church Gate, the house next to Riches store.

This misty photograph (taken around 1906 when Riches took over the store) shows Mary’s name above the main door and it is likely that the woman in the doorway is Mary Woods herself.

Just discernible on the left side of the picture is the “blanket box”. It becomes easier to believe that this was a shutter box considering the amount of glass bottles on display in the shop window.

Janet Archer, Reepham Archive Volunteer

The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Send an EMAIL

The Reepham Life 2018 Calendar is now on sale. Further details HERE

Post date: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 19:55

In Scouting for Boys published in 1908, Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout Association, recommended that scouts should carry “a strong stick, about as high as your nose, marked in feet and inches for measuring”.

Official scouting rules stipulated that the staff must be “marked in feet and inches, five feet six inches”. The markings can be seen on the cover photograph of the Reepham Life 2018 Calendar.

Some recommended uses of the scout staff:

  • making an improvised stretcher
  • holding back a crowd
  • jumping over a ditch
  • testing the depth of a river
  • helping another scout over a high wall
  • construction of a light bridge
  • stopping a car by jamming a staff through the spokes of the wheel
  • self-defence
  • a tent pole for a small tent
  • feeling your way over rough or marshy ground
  • measuring distances
  • estimating the height of trees or tall buildings
  • linking scouts together on a night hike
  • making a splint for an injured leg
  • stopping an aggressive dog
  • beating out bush fires.

 

Although they have not been a standard part of the scout uniform for many years, modern, commercially produced scout staves are still available and generally made from coppice-grown ash.

Closer inspection of the photograph below reveals that the scout on the pony on the far left is actually a young girl with long plaits. This is Amy Rump, youngest daughter of John Abel Rump, a butcher in Reepham, whose shop was possibly in Magpie House, Church Hill, Reepham.

Janet Archer, Reepham Archive Volunteer

The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email

The Reepham Life 2018 Calendar is now on sale. Further details HERE

Post date: Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 09:39

This photograph shows the celebration in 1976 of the formal opening of the pavilion at Stimpson’s Piece, Reepham’s large recreation ground, off Bartle Court.

The original six acres of land was donated to the people of Reepham by Ben Stimpson. His father Edward Stimpson had a coal, corn, coke and manure dealing business based at Reepham Station, and was also a local landowner and farmer living at Salle Moor Hall.

Comedian and entertainer Dickie Henderson is pictured with the microphone, with Ken Ewing, a town councillor for many years and chairman of the tennis club, seated in the cordoned-off area. It is thought Ben Stimpson is seated in the middle right of the picture.

Dickie Henderson began as a variety and revue performer, reaching the height of his popularity in the late 1950s and 60s.

He made several appearances at the Royal Variety Performance and hosted Sunday Night at the London Palladium. He also had his own television show in the 1960s and early 1970s.

This is such a good publicity shot that we think some of you may recognise members of the audience in this photograph.

If you do, please get in touch with the Reepham Archive. We are always happy to receive more information about the items we publish.

  • The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email: reephamarchive@gmail.com

 

Post date: Monday, September 18, 2017 - 21:44

The Reepham Archive is beginning to build a digital timeline that will show how the Market Place and adjoining streets have changed over the past 150 years.

The Archive has a large collection of photographs that need to be categorised and catalogued to be able to provide details of all the businesses and shops, their owners, staff and customers during that time.

For instance, if we know when what is now Diane’s Pantry changed from Austins to Uttings it helps us date other events recorded in other photographs.

If you have any old photos or stories the Archive would love to see them. We can scan these and return the originals to you. With your permission we can add them to our website for others to see and enjoy.

This view taken in the early 20th century is marked Norwich Road, now known as Church Hill. The fine tomb has railings, when did they disappear?

Who are the people in the photograph, when was it taken, what business has the awning?

A butcher’s shop according to another photo, possibly taken a little later, also shows a sign for Eglinton’s Ironmongers on the end wall, now number 21. When was the sign added?

If you would like to help us answer these questions come and see us.

  • The Reepham Archive is open on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place. Come and see our collection of magazines, deeds, documents, photographs, reminiscences and memorabilia about Reepham and its people. Email: reephamarchive@gmail.com

 

Post date: Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 19:42

Outside Very Nice Things in Market Place, Reepham, stands a mystery box. It is more than six feet tall but quite narrow, and is fixed to the wall in the corner where the shop meets St Michael’s House, the last property before the entrance to the churchyard. We know it was there in the early 1900s as we have evidence from dated photographs.

One suggestion made in a “Memories of Reepham” item was that it was known as the “Blanket Box” and contained blankets to be used for people injured in accidents in the Market Place.

However, the height of the box would indicate there is room for something larger than a few blankets. It is actually tall enough to contain a canvas stretcher, plus blankets and other items useful in an emergency.

(St John Ambulance has a history of providing emergency equipment in boxes where climbers and ramblers could make use of the contents in adverse weather conditions, but we have not found any reference to similar boxes being placed in busy public places.)

A second suggestion is that it was a shutter box. Many of the shops in the Market Place would have had wooden shutters to be put up at closing time to protect the window glass and shop window contents from damage overnight. There is a photograph showing a shutter box outside the Bircham Centre, looking like a small sentry box.

If you have any ideas or memories about our mystery box we would love to hear from you.

  • The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email: reephamarchive@gmail.com

 

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