Norwich Road Schemes

Ring Road
Martineau Lane at Bracondale [B788] 1933-10-08
It was in 1896 when a motor car first made its appearance in the streets of Norwich. The pioneer driver was Mt F.W.Fitt. By 1927 10,000 cars had been registered in the city and the traffic congestion was causing concern. One means of easing this problem was seen to be the formation of a "ring" road to send the traffic around instead of through Norwich. It was considered the more practical since considerable portions of it were already in being, consisting of Martineau Lane to the south, Mile End Rd and Colman Rd (to North Farm Teahouse only) to the west, Farrow Rd and Guardian Rd, Sweet Briar Lane, Boundary Rd, and Mousehold, Heartsease and Harvey Lanes.
Martineau Lane at Barrett Rd [B789] 1933-10-08
Barrett Rd at Long John Hill [B790] 1933-10-08
Barrett Rd at Mansfield Lane [B791] 1933-10-08
Barrett Rd at Hall Rd [B767] 1933-09-10
Lakenham Rd beyond.
Lakenham Rd at Ipswich Rd [B768] 1933-09-10
Daniel's Rd beyond.
Daniels Rd construction from Newmarket Rd [B637] 1933-07-22
Daniels Rd at Newmarket Rd [B770] 1933-09-10
Daniels Rd construction from Newmarket Rd [B601] 1933-06-28
Daniels Rd at Newmarket Rd [B769] 1933-09-10
Mile End Rd beyond.
Mile End Rd at Unthank Rd [B771] 1933-09-10
Colman Rd beyond.
Colman Rd at North Park Ave [B782] 1933-10-05
The scheme of linking existing roads together into a circular route was commenced in the early 1920's by extending Colman Rd northward from Sabin Rd (now the eastern end of South Park Avenue) to Earlham Rd at a point immediately opposite Farrow Rd. This followed the line of an established footpath across what were known as the "Three Fields".
Colman Rd at George Borrow Rd [B657] 1933-08-10
And Elizabeth Fry Rd.
Colman Rd at The Avenues [B649] 1933-07-30
Colman Rd at Earlham Rd [B650] 1933-07-30
Farrow Rd beyond.
Farrow Rd at Bowthorpe Rd [B651] 1933-07-30
Guardian Rd beyond.
Guardian Rd at Dereham Rd [B652] 1933-08-05
Sweet Briar Rd beyond. Work was commenced on the new road between Bracondale and Newmarket Rd towards the end of the 1920's, a scheme designed with a view to relieving unemployment. At about the same time work was also taking place on that section of the road between Guardian Rd and Sweet Briar Lane. This was commenced in 1930.
Sweet Briar Rd at Hellesdon Hall Rd [B653] 1933-08-05
Sweet Briar Rd at Drayton Rd [B654] 1933-08-05
Boundary Rd beyond.
Boundary Rd at Aylsham Rd [B655] 1933-08-05
Until the construction of Chartwell Rd, linking Mile Cross Lane, in 1962, the signposted route of the ring road was by Oak Lane, George Hill and School Lane. An alternative and less circuitous route was by Woodcock Rd and Wall Rd.
Woodcock Rd at Aylsham Rd [0076] 1934-04-05
Woodcock Rd at Catton Grove Rd [0077] 1934-04-05
Woodcock Rd Wall Rd at St Clement's Hill [0078] 1934-04-05
Wall Rd at Constitution Hill [0079] 1934-04-05
Wall Rd at Sprowston Rd [0080] 1934-04-05
Mousehold Lane at Sprowston Rd [0611] 1935-08-05
The year 1949 saw the widening (on its south side) of a small part of Mousehold Lane. From Sprowston Rd to the Duke of Norfolk Public House (a distance of about one-eighth of a mile) the overall width was increased from 28 feet to 50 feet, the carriageway being widened from 19 feet to 30 feet. In 1963 the widening of Mousehold Lane was completed.
Mousehold Lane at Salhouse Rd [B773] 1933-09-10
Heartsease Lane beyond. Gurney Rd right.
Heartsease Lane at Plumstead Rd [B792] 1933-10-08
Harvey Lane beyond.
Harvey Lane at Thorpe Rd [B774] 1933-09-10
Because of the railway, river and extensive industrial development, the south-eastern section had to take a devious route via Thorpe Rd, Carrow Rd, King St and Bracondale.
Thorpe Rd at Carrow Rd [0042] 1934-02-22
Carrow Rd at Clarence Rd bridge over rail [0041] 1934-02-22
Carrow Rd rail bridge [4760] 1964-04-25
Built 1892 by Josiah Westwood and Co.
Carrow Rd Clarence Rd Thorpe Hamlet Stores [4805] 1964-08-08
In 1964-65 work went ahead in replacing the bridge spanning the railway at Carrow Rd (built 1892 by Josiah Westwood and Co). The need had long been felt for a wider structure, and one placed at as less acute angle to the traffic flow. At the same time its height was raised several feet to allow for future electrification of the railway. The "Thorpe Hamlet Stores", at the junction of Carrow and Clarence Rds, was demolished to make space for the improvement.
Carrow Rd temporary footbridge over railway [4876] 1964-11-28
Carrow Rd rail bridge reconstruction [4885] 1965-03-13
Carrow Rd rail bridge SE side [6214] 1981-07-21
Carrow Rd at Kerrison Rd [0040] 1934-02-22
Carrow Rd at King St [0050] 1934-03-04
King St at Bracondale [0039] 1934-02-22
Orford Place and Brigg St [4104] 1952-09-28
The island site formerly occupied by Curls and other shops, largely destroyed during air raids in 1942, was originally earmarked for an open space in the City of Norwich Plan 1945. It was later considered to be too valuable for this, but the former street plan was altered to divert all road traffic via Brigg St - Rampant Horse St (which was widened); Orford Place being reduced in width to be used by pedestrians only.
Orford Place Curls building site [3624] 1946-04-19
Orford Place sewerage system alterations [4235] 1953-10-25
Orford Place view NE from Rampant Horse St [4236] 1953-10-25
Orford Place Brigg St view north [4237] 1953-10-25
Orford Place entrance from Haymarket [4263] 1954-06-23
Orford Place Curls girderwork Brigg St [4276] 1954-08-25
Rampant Horse St corner.
Orford Place Curls girderwork St Stephen's [4277] 1954-08-25
From St Stephen's Plain.
Orford Place Curls girderwork Red Lion St [4278] 1954-08-25
Orford Place Brigg St east side complete [4312] 1955-06-17
Pilch and C.E.Y.M.S buildings complete. Curls still under construction.
Orford Place Curls Rampant Horse St [4345] 1955-08-05
Brigg St corner.
Orford Place Curls Red Lion St view south [4346] 1955-08-05
Orford Place reduced width [4347] 1955-08-05
St Stephen's St 1 to 3 demolition [4239] 1953-11-29
The question of widening St Stephen's St, first arose in 1915, the Great Eastern Railway Company offering the City Council the sum of £10,000 towards the project. The railway company wanted a grander approach to its terminus Victoria Station (more recently the site of Sainsbury's). The offer, however, was refused (perhaps because of the war) and in consequence the following year Victoria Station was closed to all except goods traffic, passenger trains being diverted to the main terminus at Thorpe.
With the increase in motor transport in the 1930s the Council began studying the problem in earnest, but agreement could never be reached on the question of which side should be set back. On the east side stood the mediaeval Boar's Head inn and Crown and Angel public house, while on the west were two large department stores.
In the end the air raids of April 1942, solved the problem, the old thatched Boar's Head inn among many neighbouring buildings providing a vulnerable target.
After these losses, the City of Norwich Plan - 1945 found the street to have "few buildings of outstanding merit" and proposed that it be provided with dual carriageways and pavements 15 feet wide - the new buildings to be controlled in so far as materials, height and design were concerned. In 1953 a start was made by widening on the east side at the city end, the whole scheme being completed in the early 1960s, leaving nothing to attract the historically minded.
St Stephen's Plain 6 to 7 St Stephen's St 1 [4234] 1953-10-25
1 to 3 St Stephen's St on right.
St Stephen's St NE entrance building lines [4646] 1961-09-03
Showing new and old building lines.
St Stephen's St 1 to 3 [2794] 1938-09-05
3 would be partially destroyed by enemy action.
St Stephen's St 5 to 7 Boar's Head Inn [2793] 1938-09-05
Destroyed 1942. See also 2 Surrey St.
Surrey St 1 with weavers' window [1048] 1936-06-21
Side of 9 St Stephen's St.
On the southern corner of St Stephen's St and Surrey St was a four-storeyed building of red brick, some two and a half centuries old, occupied before the Second World War by Gerald Spalding's stationer's shop and post office. A prominent stringcourse of moulded brick divided the first and second floors, but the chief feature was the long range of weavers' or thoroughlight windows, which lit the top floor on the Surrey St side. This lost its glass and was boarded up in 1942, but the building escaped the serious damage suffered by its neighbours. The whole building was, however, taken down some years later when a start was made on widening St Stephen's St.
For centuries weaving was one of the city's staple industries. In the 14c artisans from Bruges and Ghent began to settle in the city because, it is said, of the initiative of Philippa, Queen of Edward III. Towards the close of the 16c the industry was considerably augmented by a "great wave" of Flemings seeking refuge from the religious persecution of the Duke of Alva, followed a century later by French Protestants escaping from the consequences of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
From this time onwards the production of silk fabrics was greatly increased. A comprehensive account of the Norfolk and Norwich silk industry communicated by Walter Rudd will be found in Norfolk Archaeology Vol.21. Rudd gives a vivid description of its flourishing state during the 18c, followed by an account of its general decline when from 1812 yarns spun by power looms began coming from the Yorkshire mills. Nevertheless, despite the fact that about 1830 the East India Company ceased to export Norwich camlets to the east, sufficient business remained to inspire the building in 1836 of the great yarn factory in St James's (now Jarrold's printing works) and the following year of the Albion Mills in King St (now flats).
Unfortunately the optimism, expressed by these building proved unfounded, due at least in part to the city's considerable distance from any coalfields. Nevertheless, in 1901 some 60 men and 643 women were still being described as silk weavers, although it was then feared that in the process of time the old textile industry would disappear from Norwich completely. In fact the large silk mills of Courtaulds (formerly Francis Hinde and Hardy) were demolished only in February 1983, having closed down two years previously.
For reminders of this once-great Norwich industry one must now visit the Bridewell museum to see examples of the old looms, with specimens of their products, or inspect the main doors of the City Hall, where a bronze plaque, one of 18 by James Woodford ARA, depicts a girl operating a power loom.
St Stephen's St 9 to 11 from site of 12 [4248] 1954-05-25
View across to Milletts, Purdys, Graftons and Sennitts from cleared site of 12 to 14.
St Stephen's St 15 to 31 [4611] 1961-06-18
Prior to demolition for street widening.
St Stephen's St 21 to 25 rear [4684] 1962-06-24
Prior to demolition for street widening.
St Stephen's St 27 to 29 rear and archway [4683] 1962-06-24
Prior to demolition for street widening.
St Stephen's St 25 to 31a [4398] 1955-09-26
St Stephen's St 35 to 37 [1023] 1936-06-14
37 partially destroyed 29th April 1942.
St Stephen's St 39 to 41a [1068] 1936-06-28
Destroyed 29th April 1942.
St Stephen's St 41 Crown and Angel PH to 43 [1423] 1936-09-20
Another casualty on 29th April 1942 was the Crown and Angel inn. This interesting old building, comprising Nos 41 and 43, originally formed one large house but was divided in its later years into two, the smaller portion becoming part of the inn and the larger (No 43) Page and Son's corn store.
It was the late Mr Ernest Kent who first drew attention to an interesting external feature, a stone bracket that supported the first-floor jetty at the right-hand end. On it was a coat-of-arms which Mr Kent made out to be "Argent, on a fesse Azure, three eagles displayed Or (for Clere) impaling Argent, a cross moline Gules (for Uvedale)". From this it was deduced that the dwelling was erected sometime between 1434 and 1492 as a town house, possibly on the site of an older building belonging to the Uvedales, for it was just inside the city walls and on the highway leading to their country estates at Tacolneston and Wymondham. Although the original town house of the Cleres was sited at the Old Barge inn, King St, the family was for long connected with St Stephen's district, as is shown by the register of that parish.
The upper storey of the building with its two substantial dormers was severely damaged in the blitz of April 1942, and the whole house was demolished four years later. The stone bracket with the coat-of-arms was transferred for safe keeping to one of the city's museums.
St Stephen's St 45 to 51 [4639] 1961-08-27
Prior to demolition for street widening.
St Stephen's St Wheatsheaf Yard [4612] 1961-06-18
Between 51 and 53. Prior to demolition for street widening.
St Stephen's St 65 to 75 [4613] 1961-06-18
Prior to demolition for street widening.
St Stephen's St 63 to 75 Great Eastern PH [4638] 1961-08-27
Prior to demolition for street widening. Site of St Stephen's Gates.
St Stephen's St 6 to 8 Row and Taylor [4261] 1954-06-23
Old and new premises of Row and Taylor.
St Stephen's St 2 to 6 Marks and Spencer [4400] 1955-09-26
8 to 20 St Stephen's St were destroyed by enemy action in 1942 and when the premises were rebuilt the line was set back a few feet to improve the entrance at this end. It was also proposed to arcade below 2 to 4 to widen the road there, but the estimated cost proved prohibitive and that part of the scheme was abandoned.
St Stephen's St 8 to 12 after completion [4373] 1955-09-01
Saxone and H.Samuel.
St Stephen's St Barwell's Court view east [4399] 1955-09-26
St Stephen's St 12 cellar air raid damage [4247] 1954-05-25
12 to 14 St Stephen's St. Mediaeval brick vaulting of cellar damaged by enemy action in 1942. Barwell's Court in background.
St Stephen's St west side [4755] 1964-04-18
Site of 40 to 46 on left. 38 to 2 standing.
St Stephen's St 58 [5429] 1975-06-13
The Co-op.
St Stephen's St 52 to 62 [4658] 1962-03-28
Prior to street widening.
St Stephen's St 74 St Stephen's Gates [4657] 1962-03-28
Prior to street widening. Caley's chimney.
Inner Link road
Grapes Hill 12a to 30 [4804] 1964-08-05
It was in 1931 that Robert Atkinson F.R.I.B.A., referring to the City Wall, said "in almost every position are slum dwellings put up during the last 50 years. It would be a great adventure to clear them all out and open up the road following the wall which has always been a natural highway. Do this, and you will have a wonderful circulating boulevard all round the city and its cost would be comparatively nothing." It was not until after the Second World War that a start was made upon the construction of this "inner link" road, by which time the cost had risen considerably!
St Giles' St 64 to 66a and R Bethel St 70 [5239] 1968-08-23
Before c1900, numbers 56, 58, 60, 62, 64 and 66 St Giles' St were called numbers 60, 59, 58, 57, 56 and 55 St Giles' Broad St.
St Giles' St view SW to upper St Giles' [5148] 1967-05-29
View towards future site of Cleveland Rd.
Grapes Hill 45 Paul Pry PH to 53 [5147] 1967-05-29
Site of Inner Link road.
Grapes Hill view north from St Giles' Gates [4808] 1964-08-11
Site of Inner Link road.
St Giles' St 96 to 100 St Giles' Gate PH [4784] 1964-07-19
Site of Inner Link road. Before c1900, number 96 St Giles' St was called number 52 Upper St Giles' St.
Chapel Field Rd 5 to 9 convent [4802] 1964-08-05
Little Sisters' Convent. Site of Inner Link road.
Chapel Field Rd 8 Volunteer Stores PH [4783] 1964-07-19
Site of Inner Link road.
Chapel Field Rd 42 to 44 [4782] 1964-07-19
Site of Inner Link road.
Chapel Field Rd 66 to 96 [4781] 1964-07-19
Site of Inner Link road.
For 109 to 113 Chapel Field Rd see 1 to 5 St Stephen's Rd.
St Stephen's Rd 1 to 5 and Chapel Field Rd [4732] 1963-07-14
109 to 113 Chapel Field Rd on right.
St Stephen's Rd Chapel Field Rd rebuilding [4753] 1964-04-18
St Stephen's Chapel Field Rd subway trench [4754] 1964-04-18
Key Markets supermarket behind.
Queen's Rd car park construction view NW [4750] 1963-10-05
Bishop Bridge Rd east side view north [5134] 1967-04-01
Site of abandoned proposed Inner Link road extension.
Ber St 81 to 83 [6541] 1989-04-08
In 1989 Norfolk County Council agreed to continue the development of the city's Inner Link road by adopting a line from Queens Rd across Surrey St and by a tunnel below Ber St to Rouen Rd. Thence by new bridges over the river and railway to Lower Clarence Rd and Thorpe Rd. This idea was later abandoned.
Surrey St Notre Dame School part [6576] 1989-07-21
Former Surrey Rd Boys school. Site of abandoned proposed Inner Link road extension.
Ber St 83 rear from Chapel Loke [1800] 1937-07-17
Site of abandoned proposed Inner Link road extension.

Text and photographs copyright George Plunkett