From the Archive

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

 

Post date: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 15:43

Can a man’s pocket be empty when he’s got something in it? Yes, when he’s got a hole in it!

This is one of the riddles printed underneath a series of cartoons on a large sheet of paper with “Richard Amiss Grocer, Draper & General Dealer” and “Reepham” beneath each one.

The paper is broadsheet size and looks like an early form of advertising. One side contains 12 cartoons with an extra riddle underneath. The other side has snippets of songs that come from familiar folk songs, such as The Keel Row, sentimental ditties and humorous music hall songs popular in the mid-19th century, such I won’t be a nun.

Maybe the whole sheet was used for wrapping large items bought in Richard Amiss’s shop?

It would not have been cheap to have sheets like this printed so we assume that Amiss was a fairly prosperous merchant; he is mentioned in various early directories as a Grocer, Draper & Tailor.

In 1841 he was working as a tailor in Norwich Road with two young apprentices. Ten years later he is named as a Master Tailor, Grocer & Draper employing a Journeyman Tailor with two apprentices and by 1861 his shop was in the Market Place.

He had at least four children: two boys, Alfred and Elijah, who died in their youth, and two daughters, Louise and Pamela. Louise married Samuel Sewell Eglington. Pamela, the youngest daughter, married Edward Page, a carpenter and coal merchant. By 1871 the Pages were running the Crown Inn and Pamela continued to run the Crown after Edward’s death in 1911.

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

 

Post date: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 23:13

This photograph shows a wonderful example of an early motorbike with a basket-chair sidecar being driven by Frederic Gibbs with his younger cousin Edward Gibbs.

It was probably taken in 1912 or 1913. The first wicker sidecars were patented in 1903 and could be attached to any motorcycle in less than two minutes. The total cost for a Trafalgar motor cycle plus “side carriage” was about £50.

Ann Dickinson (nee Gibbs), who grew up in Reepham, sent the photograph to the Eastern Daily Press in 1993 and it was published as part of the Down Memory Lane series.

Ann was the daughter of Frederic J. Gibbs, who was living with his uncle Edward Gibbs, the ironmonger, in 1911.

The following note written by Ann for the newspaper gives some colourful details of her father’s life.

“Fred had been invalided out of the East India Extension Telegraph Company, for which he had been cable-laying, and came to Reepham in 1904. The Reepham Gibbs were his only relatives, his father having been murdered at sea by Chinese pirates and his mother having died. After recovering from TB he took up photography, taught himself clock-making, made a car from bits and pieces and made wirelesses.”

Note : Frederic gave his birthplace as “The Straits Settlement, Singapore” in the 1911 census, and in 1898 there is a record of an F J Gibbs, Joiner, age 16, as part of the crew of the cable ship Sherard Osborn, arriving in Sydney from Singapore.

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: Monday, May 22, 2017 - 18:59

Before the days of refrigeration all kinds of foods were preserved by many different methods. For example, hard-boiled eggs could be pickled in vinegar and fresh eggs could last for up to six months if immersed in a “water-glass” solution (sometimes confused with isinglass, which is made from fish swim bladders).

The water glass (sodium silicate in solution) blocks and seals the pores of the egg, which prevents bacteria from entering and moisture from leaving, so the eggs would last through the winter when the hens were not laying so many.

The following is an edited extract from Reepham Petty Sessions, January 1926 (usually held at the King’s Arms).

Mary Lovick was summoned on the information of Arthur Charles Spinks of Scarning (an egg collector for Messrs Sainsbury), for selling eggs not of the quality demanded by the purchaser.

Spinks had bought some hen and duck eggs from Mrs Moy, remarking that some looked like water glass eggs. Mrs Moy replied that they came from Mrs Lovick and should be all right.

(Spinks had been an egg collector, mainly for Sainsbury, for three years, sometimes taking as many as 5,000 from Reepham Market. If any were not new-laid he would have to bear the loss.)

Percival John Hilton, grocer of Reepham, said Spinks brought a box of eggs to his shop on November 25. On December 9 an inspector to Messrs Sainsbury applied the candle test to 22 duck eggs and 18 hen eggs and found that 13 of the hen eggs were preserved. The box was sealed and the eggs taken away to the County Analyst.

When informed of Spinks’ complaint Mrs Lovick said: “I know I sent about nine preserved eggs to make up two score. I didn’t think there was anything wrong in that.”

Mary Lovick was fined £5 and £3 18s costs.

Janet Archer

Hiltons’ Stores in Reepham Market Place (now the police station)

  • 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