NORWICH 1945-1960 – A Journey From Austerity To Prosperity

At our June meeting we welcomed back Frances and Michael Holmes, this time their talk accompanied by appropriate photographs was entitled “Austerity to Prosperity” -  the story of Norwich from 1945 to 1960. 

Starting in May 1945 with Winston Churchill’s speech, dancing in the streets and street parties together with the bomb damage to Norwich.

We heard of temporary housing, which some members recalled –Nissan huts as on Rackheath old air base. The prefabs which most of us remembered. There were lots on the Marl Pit estate; but did you know that it cost more to build a prefab than a traditional built house. There was lots of house building in the city including the  one estate referred to as - the best - Heartsease.  

During this time there was an expansion in household goods – the kitchen cabinets and Jarrolds sold a washing machine call the Parnell Wringlet twin tub. The advent of the ‘never never’ helped people update their homes. We were also told that at this time  ‘window shopping’ emerged as a pastime. And we were reminded of those stores like  Looses and Willmotts store with large displays.

 Regarding transport Norwich was full of cycles,  but with the increasing production of small cars like the Morris Minors and Ford Populars; police were needed to conduct traffic at those well known bottlenecks - the bottom of Grapes Hill and at St Stephens / Westlegate/ Red Lion Street junctions.

Entertainment was provided by ‘ABC’ minors on Saturday mornings and city dance halls, cinemas, football (the 1953 cup run) and speedway.  

And, of course, there was the hole in the ground, the carpark where Debenhams was subsequently built.    

We do not have a meeting in August but we welcome members and visitors to our 15th September meeting – Weatherquest – Climate Change with Chris Bell.


                                                                                                            Judy Leggett  

Thursday, 16 June, 2022 - 19:30
Frances and Michael Holmes