Sunnyside – the Sail Maker’s House
Perhaps unique to Martham is a house called Sunnyside which can be found at the far (northern) end of Damgate and was once the home of a sail maker.
The present owners are Paul & Jane Janusz and their family. They say the house was built in 1890 and the 1911 census tells us that in those days the sail maker Samuel Pike lived there with his wife Elizabeth and their son, Samuel William who was 12. Samuel senior was at least a third generation sail maker following both his father and grandfather in the trade. His grandfather was listed in the Great Yarmouth Register of Electors as a sail maker as early as 1826. They had all lived in Row 31 off North Quay. Row 31 still exists near what is now the Kingdom Hall.
It seems that Samuel, his wife and son had left Great Yarmouth to settle in Martham by 1904 because he was listed in Kelly’s Directory in that year as being a sail maker living at Damgate. What brought them to Martham is not clear, perhaps it was the availability of a large loft at Sunnyside where he stored (and probably made) his sails or the growing sailing industry on the Broads.
Above is a copy of the 1911 census form for Sunnyside showing Samuel with his wife Elizabeth Amelia, nee Newark and their son Samuel William Pike. This confirms that Samuel was a self-employed sail maker. He was born in 1851 at Great Yarmouth and died on 29th November 1927 at Martham and was buried at St Mary the Virgin, section H, plot H27. Elizabeth died in 1932. Samuel also has a sister Harriet Claxton Pike (1854-1906) who is buried at St Mary’s at section H, plot B19. These are their headstones:
The Pike’s son Samuel William Pike (1898-1964) grew up at Sunnyside and attended the village school from 1908 to 1912. He married Ethel Cissy Broome on 3rd July 1932 at St. Mary’s, Southtown, Great Yarmouth and by 1939 they were living at Damgate where he was a self employed smallholder/carter.
Sunnyside, or the site it stands on, has older origins. On the left below is a copy of part of the Martham Inclosure Award Map of 1812. The plot that Sunnyside stands on now is shown with a dwelling on it so there was a building there as early as 1812. On the right below is a copy of part of the 1842 Tithe Map showing Damgate. What is now Sunnyside is shown at plot 406 and clearly has a dwelling on it. The schedule that goes with the Tithe Map shows that plot 406 was a house/premises and pasture owned by William Womack and occupied by John Dawson. The Womack family were from the North Lopham area and were extensive landowners. What this shows is that there was a house on the site pre-dating Sunnyside. It was probably a 16th/17th century farm dwelling that fell into disrepair and was replaced in 1890.