Exhibition opens a window on the past

Anyone wanting a look back at North Walsham through the years should head to The Atrium, where the North Walsham & District Community Archive group will be displaying a selection of old photographs.
The new exhibition will feature a host of recently discovered photographs collected as a result of the archive group’s highly successful Facebook group which now boasts more than 5,000 members.
Organisers said this success had enabled the group to access to the extensive collections of local photographer Fred Mace, the archives of the North Walsham Historical Society and collections from renowned historians as well as many private collections.
Central to this year’s exhibition, by popular request, the exhibition will focus on industries in the town, including organisations most people have worked at, or know others who have worked at, such as the Steam Laundry, the Canning Factory, Crane Fruehauf and the Cottage Hospital, as well as pubs and shops.
Barry Holden will be presenting his very popular collection of “Then and Now” photos, where he revisits the spots where the originals were taken to re-photograph them today and display them side by side.
The archive group is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers with the aim of collecting the town’s history and making it available for everybody. It does this via Facebook at and its website at:
Entry is by a £1 donation and the exhibition is being held over three days between August 17 and August 19. The gallery is open between 10am and 4pm.


Historic steam roller to return to North Walsham

A little piece of local history will be made on September 25 when a steam roller that spent most of its working life with the North Walsham road making company WB Gaze returns to the town.

The roller, named Success, will be on display in steam as a centrepiece for the September Sunday Farmers’ Market.

It was built in 1928 and supplied new to Carstons of Coltishall and then sold on in 1933 to WB Gaze of North Walsham where it worked until 1962. It was purchased for preservation, passing through several hands until acquired by the present owner Nick LeCount from Northamptonshire.

Success is now back in East Anglia having attended the Mid Suffolk Light Railway Gala on September 10 and 11 before its starring appearance in North Walsham.

Nick said: “I was delighted to be in a position to bring Success back home after all these years and hope that as many people as possible will come to see the engine back in the Market Place where it used to work.”

John Durrant, who has organised the visit, said: “WB Gaze was a major employer in North Walsham for many years and it would be wonderful if people came to see this little bit of living history back in the town.”

The roller will be on display in steam at the Market Place between 10am and 2pm.


History preserved for community at former RAF base

The pilots were the ones who were in the spotlight during RAF Coltishall’s long history but this spotlight was turned on those who toiled behind the scenes for the latest historic work at the site.

It was the ground crew who were the focus as dignitaries, Norfolk County Council representatives, including chairman and Elected Member Champion for the Armed Forces David Collis, saw the final restoration of two WW2 fighter pens at the former base.

David Gurney, the council’s historic environment manager, likened the role of the ground crews to the Formula 1 pit stop teams, saying: “Lewis Hamilton is the one people know in the driving seat but behind him are the teams of engineers keeping him on track. It was exactly the same in WW2.”

The pens and an adjacent shed were cleared from the undergrowth in 2012 and a grants of £14,000 were awarded to help restore them. This has included rebuilding of an end wall of the shed with help from the community, a video showing how the pens were used during war and information boards detailing the history.

The project has also involved the Spirit of Coltishall historical group and other members of the forces past and present.

Today’s events included a fly past by a Typhoon and a static display of model Spitfires and Hurricanes by Coltishall Memorial Flight.

Mr Collis said: “We are revisiting history from a services point of view and from a community point of view.

“We have to preserve what we have here and look after it, and encourage more people from the local community to come and have a look.”

Mr Gurney added: “We have this fantastic heritage site in the heart of the community and it has a place in the hearts of the people of Norfolk.”

Work experience students Molly, Tamzin and Liam, from Aylsham High, and Edward, from Broadland High, created this video of the day around the base. See