Month: March 2015

Mystery: Albert and the returning troops 1916

A mystery photo. Last week Bethan Holdridge who works for the Museums service in Norwich invited me to have a look through her Great Grandfather Oliver Isaac Brown’s collection of photos. He was a Suffolk man but lived in Great Yarmouth, a sapper in the Royal Engineers, No. 19753. And it would appear that he had a camera with him and recorded various aspects of the front. The collection has been recently digitised by Norfolk Record Office and added to NROcat. It comprises of about 160 prints of the Western Front, mostly from the Somme with a few from...

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Lost in a Landscape: Pudding Norton

There’s a lot to be intrigued about in towns like Fakenham. Not unlike North Walsham, it sits on a small winding road that makes it’s a much less direct but more interesting trip than somewhere like Attlebourough or Wymondham. The drive is less direct, you get more of a feel of old transit routes, the curves of the road marking an ease of passage in a landscape where the roll of the ground made the route. It starts almost from the start of the old Fakenham Turnpike now Drayton Road on the inner edge of the  Mile Cross estate...

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Lost in a landscape: Wretham Circles

There’s a lightness about Breckland, A dryness and pallor to the soils that make it feel somehow different from the rest of Norfolk. It’s in the earth, the thin sand with it’s luggage of chalk and flint, the exhausted soldierly lines of Scots pine twisting away as you drive through the gentle roll and swell of the land. It’s been a hard job to cultivate here since man first put trowel to ground. A land far better suited to animal’ paring the stumped grass and those species of tree that thrive where root and fruit don’t fatten. There’s something...

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Forgotten outposts: The Bure line at Oxnead

You will, as you drive around north and east Norfolk, pass these all over the place. In fact you’ll find them all over the county as you will tank blocks and mortar spigots, even the odd trench line still exists all still protecting us from a long dead, now non-existent threat. Norfolk was seen as one of the most likely areas to be hit by an enemy landing, it’s seen ships nose in and disgorge invaders before, over a thousand years ago. This one is another fairly typical Type 22 Pillbox; reinforced concrete and brick, it sits in the...

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Lost in a Landscape: Oxnead

A pasture for the oxen, that’s what it means so say various sources. Others indicate that the Ox- may come from the word Ouse (Udso), which is an older form from our ginger forefathers possibly of Celt or proto-Celtic origin probably meaning River. It maybe a rare survival of the celtic tongue in the East with King’s Lynn one of the few words left behind as they where pushed west and north or interbred  into the soup of British DNA. As you cross the bridge and look down at the swollen Bure pushing along you can see why it...

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