Reminiscences of Martham People

Having a Mardle: L to R: Geoffrey George, Mayer Tugate, Bob George, George Myhill, Bob Knights

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1st World War

William Buck:  (Facebook 11.10.2019). I found an interesting story regarding the first air raid on Great Britain during the First World War which happened 19th January 1915 when Great Yarmouth was bombed killing 2 civilians. Three Zeppelins took part L3,L4 and L6 but L6 returned to base with engine problems. Their intended target were towns in the North East but due to bad weather and poor navigation they ended up off the Norfolk Coast 70 miles off course making landfall at Happisburgh. The L3 turned left passing over Ingham and Stalham heading towards Great Yarmouth and apparently nearly collided with the spire of Martham church before dropping its first incendiary bomb in a field at Little Ormesby and then bombing Great Yarmouth. I was wondering if anyone had heard about this story of the Zeppelin nearly hitting the church spire.

Desmond Michael: Yes! I was involved in a WW1 project and heard this from the gentleman who has written several books on the WW1 in the air.

2nd World War

William Buck (Facebook 10.10.2019)

On Tuesday 6th July 1943 at 9.30 in the evening two low flying FW190’s from SKG10 attacked Martham with machine gun and cannon fire causing a few casualties. The village school was hit and Mr and Mrs Knights were injured in nearby cottages. Mrs Temple and her son who were within a few yards of the school escaped injury. Cottages near the village green were hit and Mr and Mrs Minns were injured and Mrs Minns was taken to hospital with serious injuries. There were two minor casualties in other cottages caused by flying debris and a young girl named George who was in bed at the time was injured in the face and also taken to hospital. All this happening in less than 60 seconds. The two enemy aircraft then went on to attack Herbert Woods boatyard at Potter Heigham damaging the roof and three boats before flying across Ludham airfield at 0ft then pulling up to about 400ft turning and heading back towards Potter Heigham. Two Typhoons of 56 Squadron were scrambled to intercept the two enemy aircraft. Flt Sgt “Vic” Plumb and Flt Sgt Joseph Clucas gave chase but could not find the enemy aircraft then suddenly Plumb and Clucas were attacked from behind and Clucas’s aircraft was hit and smoke was seen coming from his engine. His aircraft was seen to dive into the sea by a nearby naval vessel which searched the area but nothing was found. Sgt Plumb managed to land his damaged aircraft back at Ludham. Flt Sgt Joseph Kenneth Clucas 1074249 Age 22 RAFVR is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 135.

Paul Sparkes: Where was 56 squadron based?

William Buck: They were at Matlaske but were on detachment at Ludham for a few days.

Pat Jordan: My mother told me that she had to run fast as gunfire followed her down the garden and there were bullet holes up the side of the doorway. This was at my great Aunt Ada & Uncle Jack’s cottage in Black Street. They lived next door to Cynthia’s hairdressers.

William Buck: Thank you for that do you know if this happened at the same time because Martham was also machine gunned 27th February 1941.

Tricia Bye: We lived at No16 at the time and although I can’t remember the actual attack my mother told us how she grabbed my brother in from the back-yard seconds before it happened. I still remember the row of bullet holes along the adjoining garden wall were still there after we moved in 1946.

Terry Turner: I think it was Margaret George that was injured in the attack, her sisters were Sheila and Audrey.

Rebecca Woods: Fascinating. Mum (Moyra Ribbands) told us of one occasion when she thought a bomb dropped which caused all the glass in the windows of Sheppey House, Repps Road to fall out. Do you know when that might have been?

William Buck: Not sure when this happened but Martham was bombed on seven separate occasions during the war.

Margaret Porter: Yes, and I went to hospital in the same ambulance as Derek Applegate who lost his ear.

War time memories by Pat Sutton: I can remember soldiers being billeted at:

  • Martham House in White Street which was a large house standing in its own grounds, it was demolished a few years ago and new houses were built in front of it.
  • The Old Granary on the south side of The Green which has since been turned into a house next door to the former Barclays Bank.
  • Repps Road. In the buildings behind what used to be the vets house at The Wilderness.

A search light battery was on Repps Road on the other side of the road opposite Rectory House.

Defence posts known, as pill boxes, were on the corner of Repps Road & Rollesby Road opposite the Methodist Chapel and on the corner of Staithe Road & Somerton Road.

Just before Hemsby Road council houses on piece of land that leads to the Back Road.

Bombs were dropped along Somerton Road; one of the council houses suffered a direct hit and a young girl was killed. Two more fell either side of the railway line at what is now Rowan Road estate.

Incendiary bombs were dropped one night on the former railway station and on Repps Road  council houses. If you look at the first row of roofs you can see different tiles where they were repaired and blacked by fire.

Several villages, including Martham, were lit up one night by flares from German planes and they thought Horsey was an aerodrome.

Propaganda leaflets were dropped from a low flying German aircraft on a field by the station that is now Rowan Road.

Black Street was machine gunned one foggy afternoon.

There were no  private cars as all petrol was rationed for only necessary grounds, no petrol was allowed near the coast except for the army. Private roundsman had to go to Potter Heigham for petrol, the nearest place allowed .

The garage in the centre of the village was called Martham Motors (E W Church & Co) – next door to the Co-op – they had their pumps taken over by the army. Everything came and filled up there from villages all around, tanks, Bren gun carriers, lorries of all sizes, jeeps, officer’s cars, armoured cars and motor bikes.

All types of torch and cycle batteries were scarce and people had to put their names down for them for the next delivery and only about a dozen batteries were allowed every two months.

Alcocks Store

Facebook 26.3.2020

Peter Dawson: Talking to David Watson the other day I think he said he could remember Alcocks Cash Store, which at one time was in what is now Norwich House, being a pawnbrokers. And, when a grocer they sold sugar loose from a barrel.

David Watson: I do remember going in there when doing the errands for Sophie Ward 1967-68 ish. Can’t remember what for but something that was weighed.

Elizabeth Toll: Yes, it was a grocery and off licence. When my son was born 1961, I became anaemic so Dr Royden said “get round to Alcocks/Banes for some bottles of Guinness and Mackeson that will get you right”. We used Clowes shop on the Green where such as sugar/tea/and much more was weighed when purchasing.

Christine Williams: This is all very interesting- my ancestor was James William Bane and it was his daughter Marguerite who married Marshall Alcock.

Elizabeth Toll: Yes, it was Nan that always called it Banes.

Martha Baker: Remember it well, used to shop there with my Mum after school. My Aunt Sophie had the shoe shop next door that is now called Cobblers Cottage. My grandfather mended shoes and boots and saddlery.

Susan Page: Yes. I remember and it’s the loose sugar that sticks in my mind.

Dorothy Allen: We used to have our groceries from there. A man used to come and sit at our kitchen table, my Mother would dictate, and he wrote out our order. It was then delivered. I wonder why we didn’t use the telephone, we had one, Winterton 259!

Lisa Webber: He came Monday, groceries delivered Tuesday!!

Bristol Beaufighter

William Buck (Facebook May 2020)

The aircraft pictured above is a Bristol Beaufighter and for over thirty years I have been trying to identify a Beaufighter which force-landed at Martham 11th May 1943. The only information I have is from a Civil Defence report which says Beaufighter crashed/force-landed at Morton Farm, Martham – no casualties 12.55hrs. My dad told of an aircraft being taken away from Damgate on a lorry during the war and in June 2010 a piece was in the Yarmouth Mercury telling how Joe Larter and Tony Gallant, as children, both remembered the aircraft landing in a field of poppies behind Pikes shop at Damgate Lane. Recently, by chance, I came across some information by a Dutch researcher which identified the Beaufighter. The aircraft was JM109 from 143 Squadron Coastal Command stationed at North Coates, Lincolnshire and was one of two aircraft on a shipping reconnaissance flight off the Dutch coast. The crew were Flying Officer R K Roberts and Sgt J Stephens, they spotted a German Ju88 which they attacked and claimed as being shot down into the sea but the Ju88 was only damaged and managed to make it back to it’s base. JM109 was damaged by return fire from the Ju88 which knocked out the radio and damaged the port (left) engine. The Germans also claimed the Beaufighter as being shot down into the sea but F/O Roberts manged to make it back to England force-landing in the field behind Pikes shop and near to Moregrove Farm. Mystery solved.

Black Street Shops

From Facebook October 2019

Bertie Murrell: There used to be three shops in Black Street one on the Oddfellows Hall  side of the road owned I think by James Robert Watson & Emily and the one on the other side of the road I seem to remember was Clara Watson & Elizabeth’s dad Mr Maggs had the tailors shop opposite I think I have got it right.

Linda J Rae: Yes, that would’ve been my grandfather Robert. Apparently, he was known as the midnight grocer as he used to do deliveries up the coast late into the evening.

Bertie Murrell: Without saying my age I remember going in those quite well getting our penny bags of crisps and our Black Jack’s. I have an idea there was also a blacksmiths shop going down towards the village. There was also a man who used to repair bicycles. I think after him Lew Watson used to sell fish from there and push his barrow around parts of Martham.

Heather Hogg: There was also a shoe/boot maker and tailors on Black Street that Cynthia turned into a hairdressers.

Bertie Murrell: I think the Tailors was Mr Maggs wasn’t it I think Cynthia came a lot later.

Elizabeth Toll: Yes, my father Russell Maggs was the tailor. No knowledge of a boot/shoe repairer in Black Street. The blacksmiths was in the workshop building at the end cottage where Mr/Mrs Garman then latterly Mr/Mrs Bob Futter.

Bertie Murrell: Yes, I remember that Mr Futter was the Bookie wasn’t he?

Bertie Murrell: If I remember the times I went in your dad’s shop to get my trousers turned up he nearly always had a primus stove going with an old fashioned iron on the top I suppose the primus was also his central heating.

Elizabeth Toll: Yes, glad someone remembers all that mentioning having trousers altered Michael Gallant (Waddy) was a regular calling at the house wanting his trousers tapered I think 15-inch bottoms during the Rock n Roll early days.

Brooklyn House

From Facebook

Linda Rae: I remember my nanny’s garden in Providence Yard backed onto the house and scrumping their apples. Lovely house always seemed a bit run down . I can remember going there to the Bank around 1978.

Ann Reeve: Barclays (across The Green from Brooklyn House) was managed by the late Tony Rush for a long time when we first moved here. I’m talking 70s and 80s. Peter Jordan was the manager of Lloyds and his father might have been connected to it as well.

Coach Trips

Facebook 24.4.2020

Philip Wakeman: Who remembers the school holiday trips my dad used to organise with Bensley‘s coaches, we went to place in Devon called Maker Camp an old M.O.D camp on a hillside and we would walk down to the village of Cawsand. I remember going to Plymouth with Dudley Harris (Tweed ). The school maybe went there three times. There was another trip to Clevedon Somerset, with a sea water fed swimming pool and an organised trip round The Fry’s chocolate factory together with a complimentary tin of chocolates.

There was a trip to Aberfoyle Scotland where we split the trip at North Shields, numerous day trips out, and there was possibly three trips to Belgium, visiting Holland and the first world war battlefields. Brian and Ivan Kirby where regulars on the trips, Mrs Davey and her daughter Rosemary came on one trip.

There also was the Martham Canoe and Sailing Club (MCSC). Dad acquired a canvas covered canoe from my cousin in Birmingham it was shipped down to Martham put in the woodwork shop stripped down and numerous copies were made. Next came the purchase of a fibre glass hulled sailing dingy Coypu which again was built in the woodwork shop on completion the boats were kept in a boat shed on Thurne Staithe.

Linda J Rae: Was your father the Headmaster at Martham Primary

Crew Turner: I went to Devon, Cleveland and Aberfoyle. Seem to remember there was a traffic accident outside the hostel in North Shields while we were there. Very exciting coming from sleepy Martham, never seen one before.

Barry Hall: You were lucky to go, I had to help with the harvest.

Barry Hall: I left school Christmas 1962, snow came January 1st as I started working at Kirby petrol garage.

David Stretton: I went to Aberfoyle; I remember you and Mick Jenkins also Jean Davy from Thurne.


Terry Turner Many happy memories there. Playing on the marshes, building dens all over the place, going fishing. What more could you need? c1952.

Farm work

William Buck: This is my grandad with my dad (Brian) standing in the small field opposite the railway station were the fire station now is. He used to grow cauliflowers and cabbages there for market. I think it was taken in the early ’30’s. There’s a board advertising Clowes and could the lorry be one of Kirby’s. I can remember going and cutting cauli’s with dad and putting them in the crates and watching the trains.

Bertie Murrell:  I can remember ‘Smoo’ Grimble doing that, can also remember you father’s horses going to the marshes. Tom Nichols used to take his down Staithe Road and along what we used to call the middle wall. Billy Hudson and his dad used to take his to a marsh opposite the end of the boat dyke. I seem to think there was once a fair or circus on that marsh a long while ago. Jimmy Grant used to go down there twice a day and milk his cows on the marsh opposite the boat dyke.


Facebook 28.1.2018

I can remember as school kids after school going down to the ferry in the summer we would be straight out and down there. In those days there were no ‘private’ signs. On the right-hand side Mr Kirby had a boat shed which housed a really beautiful launch when it was on the river it always flew a Union Jack – really impressive. On the other side (Somerton Side) local farmer Willie Alston had a speedboat named ‘Miss Roberts’ I used to love seeing that go and would encourage him to go fast. On the other side George Gallant (Millum) had rowing Boats for hire. There was always something in it to bale it out and if you were really in with him you could hire one with a seagull outboard. I don’t understand how it all worked then but there were no private signs anywhere.
Willie Alston owned most of the marshes over the Ferry, now called Heigham Holmes by the National Trust.
If we saw a cruiser coming from Candle Dyke we would close the Ferry to river traffic and when they got near we would shout and ask them if they wanted to come through, if they said yes we would open it and they would throw you either two bob or half a crown or other money if you couldn’t catch it it went in the river – must be loads of money in there.

Crew Turner: Pulled the ferry open and closed many times, boats want to go through or fishermen wanting to go to far bank

Lisa Webber: That’s where I learned to swim, dog paddling from one bit under the ferry to the next… yaaay, and squirmy mud on the bottom made you keep your feet up!

Terry Turner: I can remember Carl Gallant swimming the ferry, we were in awe. I went back there about twenty years ago and it didn’t seem half as wide. I never did swim it myself; I doubt I will now.

Bertie Murrell: When we came out of school, we would all congregate down the ferry I can remember Roger Annison and some more of the older boys used to climb on the top rail of the ferry and dive in – quite frightening.

Terry Turner: I often used to see Roger at Freddie Colk’s when I was buying timber and stuff. I’m told he passed away some time back.

Bertie Murrell: I don’t know but I have an idea you might be right about Roger.

First School Canteen

Facebook July 2019

Alistair Kirby: Bad memories from that canteen! They would not let you leave until you had eaten it all!

John Turner: When I was at Hemsby school we used to go there for woodwork and Old Ben drove the coach.

Andrew Peachey: Wow! It looks so much smaller than I remember. Quiet a perspective!

Carol Plumley: Hatches are like I remember, did not like the food. Lumpy mash, chewy meat. Salads were ok, no chips back then.

Rosie Davey: Good memories of the canteen. Mums did Christmas parties for the children from 1968 to 1970.

Rosie Evans: So many memories in that place. After the fire happened, we were allowed to eat in the actual kitchen if our name got pulled out of the hat once a week it was fish finger and chip day.

Kev Cutter: Remember getting free milk from there back in the day.

Nigel Brown: Fond memories from 1968 to 1974. Remember a green bike shed standing left of front of canteen.

Carol Gidney: So many happy memories, bloody freezing in the winter though.

Rita Turner: Oh! I can remember having my lunch in there, and the Youth Club used to be next door.

Bertie Murrell: I can remember before the woodworker building was built, that was beside the canteen, it used to be part of the school gardens which had fruit trees and soft fruit, the other gardens were the part that is now the burial ground.

L to R: Betty McDowell; Joy Ward & Gwen Nudd

Ann Reeve: Lovely pics. Thanks for sharing. I still make Joy Ward’s cowboy hotpot, liver, chipolatas, onions, baked beans. What other epicurean delights were served?

Maxine Maddison: Toffee cream tart.

Bertie Murrell: I remember the white cabbage with everything.

Dawn Robin Ward: The lady in the middle is Joy Ward my late mother-in-law. I think it is Gwen Nudd on the right.

Julie Ellis: You are right it’s our mum on the left and yes, you are right on the other two.

Paula Leech: Loved school dinners there. Always put my hand up for seconds, lovely chocolate pudding with chocolate custard, 1954 – 1959.

Philip Dowe: Mrs Ward was always a lovely lady and used to ask us if we wanted some more.

Bob Warnes: I think Winnie Durrant used to be in charge back in the day, didn’t she?

Bertie Murrell: Yes, she was Bob.

L to R: Dallas Murrel; Mrs Futter & Blanche Grimmer.

Heather Hogg: The maypole holds memories of us infants getting all tangled up in the ribbons on practice times.

Ann Mattocks: I worked with Dallas at the Mushroom Farm.

Graveyard & burials

(Facebook July 202)

As a 15 year old I went to work at H M Harriss who were Builders, Wheelwrights and Undertakers. We had to dig the graves at Martham and Somerton churchyards. I am now 82 years old, so you know it was a long time ago. We had this funeral at Somerton and the day before I had to go with my uncle Alfred and in his language ‘dig some of the soil out’. I would have to go next day on my own and finish digging it out, put some evergreen in and get some flowers out of my aunt’s garden to make it look better. Well that normally worked out alright but this time it was a double grave. Someone was buried about 17 or 18 years previously. I was digging away quite happily, when all of a sudden the ground gave way and I was suddenly up to my knees in the coffin below. I jumped out as quick as I could, got on my bike and back to Martham in record time. I suppose you could say I was sh!!!!!!!!!g myself. My uncle was making another coffin when I got back and asked why I was back so soon and I promptly replied I was not going back there. I told him what had happened and was told I would have to go back and finish it off. He said go indoors with your Aunt have a cup of tea then go back, which I did but was quite scared. I was told to put soil back in the grave to make a solid base for the new coffin.

St Mary’s had a wheeled bier for use at burials. It was kept at Martham in a shed behind the Church. (Now it is kept in the church). When we had a funeral at Somerton I used to get it out, rub a linseed oil rag over the Bier and then push it to Somerton Church. In the 1950’s there were no motor hearses. People used to walk from the house to the church following the beir and coffin. The problem was as some of you know from Somerton War Memorial to the Church is a very steep hill and took a lot of pushing but after the burial it was downhill and I had a job to stop it going across the road. PS the trouble with the linseed oil rag was all the muck and dust would cling to the oil.

Lisa Webber: My Mum died in 1957 and I walked up to Somerton church behind that beir, along with my three sisters, our ages ranging from 9 to 18. I can just imagine the challenge of the hill. Sad memories but it is interesting to hear the other side of a 1957 funeral. Someone has to be a gravedigger!

Bertie Murrell: Hi Lisa, I wasn’t a gravedigger as an occupation. I was starting an apprenticeship as a carpenter with Harriss Builders but in them days you didn’t 24/7 stick to one job being the ‘boy’. I didn’t finish my apprenticeship until I was 20 years old then had to do my National Service. Guess what my job in the Army was – I was a cook in the Catering Corps. A long way from making coffins and digging graves.

Elizabeth Toll: Not sure but I think my father Russell Maggs was the last to be taken on the Bier that was 1965.

Grimes Shoe Shop & Free Shoes

(Facebook May 2020)

David Nunnerley: Does anyone remember the shop next to the Methodist Chapel owned by Mrs Grimes? This would be back in the 60’s. I was living in the manse. Was it a shoe shop?  I was only primary school age so memory is a bit distant. (Shown below).

Sue Brown: Yes, it was a shoe shop we used to get our school shoes from either there or the other one in the village. That one later became Mounfields.

Ellie Symonds: Yep, it was a shoe shop, my great grandparents owned it.

Sam Garrod: Mr Grimes was a musical man.

Heather Hogg: Think in the day we had our shoes from there my first pair were Clarke’s brown sandals.

Bob Warnes: Hiya we think it was a shoe shop for Dicky’s years before Beryl took it on it was all her family.

Alistair Kirby: Yes, remember getting shoes there.

Terry Turner: Somewhere I’ve got a receipt from Beryl’s shop for our free boots, I’ll see if I can find it.

Terry Turner: This is the list of Free Boots from Harry Cobb’s shop . 1949. Several names on here that I remember:

 Terry Turner:  I had a root around and found up this paperwork relating to the free boots from Beryl Grimes’ shop .There are several names you might recognise and I think that a lot of people on these lists probably still live in Martham.

Terry Turner: This is the last of my bits and pieces on the Free Boots . The application form that had to be filled in to request the boots. We were still living in Damgate then so must have been before 1955, I think.

Free Boots application form that had to be filled in to request the boots. c1955

Norma Leader: We used to get our free shoes from Beryl think her dad was a cobbler.

Lisa Hewitt: It was a shoe shop and the husband also did bicycle repairs there as well.

David Stretton: Brenda Cox served in there with Beryl

David Watson: And her brother-in-law Billy was a cobbler in the shop next to the Gables Farmhouse.

Lisa Hewitt: Wasn’t that also a tailors at one point?

Terry Turner: Was Beryl’s husbands name Clifford?

Elise Mitchell: I had my school shoes from there. They weren’t exactly the height of fashion and, despite my best efforts, they never wore out.  I’m fairly certain they would’ve survived an apocalypse.

Maxine Maddison: Mum used to take me in there for my school shoes, I can remember getting really upset because they weren’t trendy enough.

Elise Mitchell: I remember mine had enormous soles on them which, before the days of Kickers, was not trendy! However, I do remember they helped me stay upright in the snow, when everyone else was going base over apex in their pointy flats with leg warmers, and Gola hi-tops.

Penelope Yeates: Yes, I remember the day when a lorry crashed into the side and took the wall down.

Linda J Rae: My Mum is on there Shirley Punchard but interestingly the spelling is Punshard

Linda J Rae: Anyone know what the free boots thing was about?

David Nunnerley: My dad was the Rev G Nunnerley. We were at Martham between 1963/69. At five years old Heather Hogg was my first girlfriend. She might want to kill me for that piece of information but it was fun. Anyway, this as you will know is the Methodist Manse where we lived. At the time all the Rockers use to congregate outside our house with their BSAs or Triumphs etc. Dressed up in leather jackets it was all very impressive to a five-year-old me. I don’t think they were so impressed by me wanting to stand with them in my grey shorts and Wellington boots.

Peter Dawson: In the late 18th and early 19th centuries three people gave donations to help provide education for children of poor families of the village. In 1883 The Charity Commission ratified the replacement of the original three charitable donations from Amies, Creasey & Bowman into one new scheme called the Martham Educational Charity. In 1891 elementary education became free with the Government funding it. As times changed the Charity Commissioners again reviewed the purpose of the Educational Charity and set up arrangements for the Vicar and churchwardens to use the money as they felt appropriate for others needs. This was generally used to buy boots and shoes for poor children. The scheme discussed here was no doubt the result of these arrangements.

Heather Hogg: I phoned mum awhile ago she told me almost too much information to remember in one go. She must have been before 1949 as these were for children for going to school in if the parents were low incomes

Terry Turner:  I generally had hobnail boots, I liked sparking them on the road, spectacular when it was getting dark.

Alistair Kirby: Remember my Grandad telling me he was not allowed them. They told him his father had enough money to buy his kids boots.

Diana Brooke: Remember getting these shoes.

David Nunnerley: Wow that’s going back. I recognise some of the surnames. I remember an old lady called Myhill who lived on Repps Road. Established in 1901. Interesting. Thank you for taking the time out to find these.

Kirby’s lorries

Facebook 23.2.2020

Andrew Brooks: My uncle Joe used to drive for them.

Judith Ward: I knew Joe, he lived on Black Street and was a member of the CB group

Tracy Batt: When did the Oak Tree Close houses get built?

Alistair Kirby: Around 1991

Tracy Batt: Was the big house opposite near the church the Rectory? And what was the other big house that used to be a house of multiple occupancy before the new owners moved in and renovated it?

Alistair Kirby:  No, the house opposite was Fairview,  owned by my parents who sold it in the early 1970s. It was converted to a home and one of the owners added a granny annex and then could not sell it so sold it to the Council who converted it.

Alistair KirbyAndrew Brooks – was that Joe Laurie ?

Andrew Brooks:  Yes, my uncle.

Alistair Kirby: I remember him well. He left us and went to Murfits and then finished up with Coopers

Andrew Brooks; Alistair Kirby he used to drive the Leyland Marathon

Andrew Brooks; Alistair Kirby – yeah then and drove for Whites I think.

Michael Newton; My brother drove for Coopers, took over by Matthews, then went broke I believe?

David Nunnerley; Didn’t Kirby’s have a yard opposite the Methodist Church. I remember fireworks and bonfire nights there.

Alistair Kirby: Yes, the BP garage

David Nunnerley; Yes, that’s right. I was just a kid then. Are you related to the Kirby family?

Alistair Kirby; Yes, I am. My family were in business for 95 years in Martham. Started by my great, great grandad James.

David Nunnerley; I remember Nigel and Rosemary as they used to come to the youth group that my parents ran. Also, Heather Lawson/ Kirby.

Alistair Kirby; They are my Dads cousins

David Nunnerley; That’s interesting. Quite a big family then. There was also Christopher and James I seem to remember. I certainly remember the Kirby lorries.

Alistair Kirby: James’ father Jimmy had the BP Garage on the Green and my grandad had the lorries and combines up Black Street

David Nunnerley; Yes, I remember both yards. James use to drive one of the lorries I think but I was only about eight then so I might have got that wrong. I also recall going through the lorry yard with a few other kids and one of them threw a banger at Mr Kirby and we all ran off. Worst thing was that Christopher was in this group. Happy days. Not so much for Christopher when he got home I guess.

Jennifer Banham; My Dad (Wally Bell) used to drive one of the lorries.

Alistair Kirby; Jennifer Banham I remember him well!

Gail Watson my dad Eddie Proctor drove for Kirbys eons ago.

Elizabeth Toll; Yes, my husband Basil drove for Kirbys with Eddie. Joe Laurie and think it was Ernie Wiseman

Neil Shepherd; Andy’s bike repairs was at the top of yard. Kirby did farm contract work also can remember as a lad standing the sacks of barley up on the trls (sic). Everything went into sacks then off to the old chapel at Somerton to unload the sacks for storage.

Lewis George Watson

Facebook 13.4.2020

Terry Turner: I remember Lou pushing his cart around Martham, my Mum often bought fish from him. The Cheyney boys from Hemsby used to come to the village on their trade bike selling shrimps too.

Bertie Murrell: I can remember him well his old two wheeled barrow did a few miles around the village.

Pauline Utting: Lou was my Grandad’s brother I remember him calling at our house with his barrow when I was a child, I rented the cottage on Black Street the smokehouse is now a bathroom.

David Watson: Pauline Utting The smoke house was a tall wooden shed construction in the back garden.

Pauline Utting: David Watson This is what I was told by Mr. Sewell.

David Watson: The cottage is much altered from when Lou lived there. It was 2 up 2 down, with an open yard then and brick shed / outside toilet. There was a wooden shed round the back and the smokehouse down the garden. Terry and Glenda bought it after Lou passed away. Glenda had the ground floor as a shop and the upstairs was taken into their property. When it was let to Lloyds the yard was covered and the shed became the toilets that is now the bathroom.

Norma Leader I remember old Lou he used to call at my Grandad and Nanny Sales who lived in the thatched cottage opposite the church on White Street.  He used to call there on a Sunday afternoon, we had just been to Sunday school.  l was born in one of the cottages just passed the boat building and there was a lady next door called Edie.

Mary Blake: I remember Lou’s, white two-wheeled barrow, and Lou pushing it around the village selling fresh fish.

Oddfellows Hall

Jeff Watson:   Believe it was like a insurance company you paid a sub to be a member. Manchester Independent Order of Oddfellows, we got a life insurance policy.

Jackie Hollis: Loved playing snooker at the Oddfellows Hall.

Oddfellows Hall, Black Street

David Watson:  The picture is dated May 1993, it was done up! late 60’s. George Cooke was the main man (probably not his official title, he was also involved with the Methodist Church). The hall was little used, probably just an AGM and was used as the Polling Station, don’t remember when they finally closed but it was on the market for several years before a Mr Douglas bought it and converted it to residential.

Arthur Ribbands – The barber

Facebook 24.3.2020

Victoria Mobbs: My mum was a Ribbands. And my grandad was Arthur Ribbands the barber.

Terry Turner: Your grandad used to cut my hair and he would give you a spray of Bay Rum to finish the trim. I think I can remember Moyra, was she sister to Cynthia?

Victoria Mobbs: I bet the barbers don’t do that these days! Yes, that’s right. Mum and Cynthia were sisters. Sadly, both gone now. I loved going into my grandad’s barber shop.

Terry Turner: Sorry to hear about Cynthia and Moyra. There aren’t too many of us left now it seems, they were older than me I was born at the very end of 1944. I can remember your grandad shaving people using his cut throats, it looked really dangerous to me. He would wrap a hot towel over their face after finishing the shave.

Victoria Mobbs: Yes, they look terrifying. Thank you for sharing your memories of him.

Dr. Paddy Rochford

(Facebook – March 2020)

Anita Joanne Mardon: I loved Paddy Rochford, he lived for his football I remember, as a child, I went to see him in his little surgery at Winterton.  I had to have an injection – my God, he stuck that into my cheek of my backside so quick as he was going see City play. Watched him and the nuns deliver two of my brothers lovely man.


From Facebook October 2017

Tony Bowgen: When I was very young I remember a footpath between Staithe Road and Somerton Road and Mr Grimes had a shop on Somerton Road.

Bob Warnes: Smo (Grimbles) had a sweet shop there I think, I have heard the cat used to sleep in the box of sweets.

Tony Bowgen: Can’t remember the name Smo Grimbles. But definitely remember Mr Grimes and his cats.

Rita Turner: I can remember that shop and the cat that use to sleep in the boxes of sweets. Does anyone remember my nannies’ shop? Pike down bottom of Damgate Lane?

Jane Janusz – Where was the shop, bottom of Damgate on the left-hand side? I live opposite Patrick Pike’s in what was his father’s house. 

Ian Gallant – Where you turn right to go to the Council houses just carry on past that turning and on the left. Don’t now if you can still walk down that way but it used to take you to a farm and some gravel pits where my dad and his brother use to swim in them.

Jane Janusz -So it was the house where Patrick Pike still lives, which is dead opposite mine.

Terry Turner – Remember it well. Happy days living down Damgate.

Ian Gallant – My nan and grandad lived there for years. I use to go in and get some sweets when we went to see them.

Bertie Murrell – Can remember very well ringing the bell and waiting for Mrs Pike to come.

Brenda Frost – We lived at 25 Damgate Back Lane and I often used to go to the shop at lunch times when I came home from school for dinner. I even have an old book my Mum (Phyllis Brooke) used for her weekly grocery order there.

Eleanor Warnes – Yes sweets and 1p. lbs of broken crisps to take to school.

Rita Turner, nee Johnson – Yes, my nanny’s shop was very poplar with children getting their sweets. She had a fridge with goat’s milk collected daily and kept in jugs.

Graham Bowgen – Also got eggs from the Morton’s opposite.

Anita Joanne Mardon – Facebook memory 14.11.2019: My grandparents and their children lived in Damgate, the Gallants. I loved that place spending time with my granddad’s racing pigeons. My nanny made lovely saffron buns with butter and a cuppa. The happiest time of my life was spent at my nanny’s house. I loved old Mrs Pike’s shop where she sold everything, lovely lady. Got loads for a few pennies.

John Gallant: Sure do remember your Nannies shop, when I delivered her newspaper on a Saturday, payment day, I used to lean on her doorbell for a laugh and she always used to say to me, “I must get that doorbell fixed”.  Memories it’s nice to have them.

Bertie Murrell: Remember having to the ring bell and wait. Also remember Sam Pike sawing up his firewood.

Bob Warnes: I know there used to be a butcher up Repps Road near Bosgate Rise and a laundry on the other side, but I seem to remember hearing about a printing business there as well. I don’t mean the one that used to be just into Cess Road, this was on Repps Road and I had a feeling a Mr Grimes was involved.

David Stretton: Sidney (Siddy) Gowen was the butcher & the laundry used to be where Liz Roll lives now. I don’t remember a printer only the one in Uttings Yard at the corner of Cess Road where the joinery works is now.

Bertie Murrell: When I was young Sidney Gowan had a butcher’s shop where the entrance to Bosgate Rise is. I lived in the house opposite. The only Grimes I knew of was a man called Clifford Grimes that did some sign writing. When I first went to work at Harriss on White Street I used to have to take the brass plates that went on coffins for him to sign write names and dates on. He lived on Repps Road in the houses next to the Chapel beside what used to be a shoe shop and shoe repairers. Smo Grimbles shop was on the Somerton (east) side. There was a pathway on the other side called Grimbles Hill because it was quite a slope and we were always getting in trouble for going fast on our bikes through it . But it wasn’t a public right of way.

Tony Bowgen: Your right Bertie Grimbles not Grimes.

David Stretton: The only other person that I knew that did sign writing was squiggles, John Hodds, he used to do Bensley’s Buses signs.

Bob Warnes: I think it was Clifford Grimes and it was some kind of printing or plastics, where Ernie Watson used to live, and I think (no doubt I will be proved wrong ) it was after the laundry shut.

Bertie Murrell: At the place Bob mentions there used to be a man with the name of Eric Hudson. In later years he lived at Winterton but it was nearly all plastic work with some printing he did in a shed. The shed is still there, end on to the road beside Ernie’s old house.

Bob Warnes: Apparently, the plastic factory in Repps Road was in a set of ‘cart sheds’ and was owned by some people called OKE? They used to make things like egg cups, serviette rings and stuff like that. A Mr George Nichols used to work there—- PS this info came from a lady who is 92/93 and has lived in Martham all her life.

John Gallant: Could the Butchers have been Sidney Gowen’s? Unless my memory is incorrect.

Bertie Murrell: Yes, it was.

Bob Warnes:  I think Squiggles passed a way a couple of years ago. Another Martham character gone.

Barry Miller: Think the Butcher was Sid Gowan, he was opposite the shed doing the printing. Believe there was some sort of scandal there, I was too young to remember properly.

Bertie Murrell: His butchers’ shop was a little further up the road.

Barry Miller: Remember them well as I use to do the paper round. They always gave me a large tip at Xmas. Every week I delivered fish and chips to them and others from Sophie Wards shop on the Green.

Bob Warnes: Can remember his next-door neighbour Mrs Dyble she rode a sit-up-n-beg style bike and she called a spade a spade. You did not cross that lady.

Bertie Murrell: No, you did not cross our Sybil.

Bob Warnes:  Yes, that’s the one. Our Sybil, I daren’t leave her a stale loaf or she would have wacked me round the head with it !!!

Bertie Murrell: What about he poor henpecked husband Fred?

Bob Warnes: Legend has it that Sam Pike used to cut jigsaws and his trademark was at least one piece in the shape of a horse?

David Stretton: I remember when I lived in the council houses on Repps Road I used to get my mum’s meat from Siddys Gowns butchers on Repps Road. If you played up in the shop he would threaten you to be put in his air raid shelter which was in his back garden so you behaved.

Tricia Bye: It was always better to go and get meat when Elsie was serving in the shop because she only ever charged about quarter of the price that Siddy charged. I wonder if he ever knew?

Bertie Murrell:  Can anyone remember Billy Riggs bakery on Black Street? I remember when I was quite young Bob Symonds used to deliver on a three-wheeler bike like the old ice-cream ones.

Lisa Webber: Siddy Gowen delivered meat on Tuesdays and Thursdays to Somerton. Sausages for Tuesday night’s tea. Yum!

Daphne Tungate’s sweet shop

Theses are just some of the memories local people had of Daphne and her sweet shop at Rollesby Road:-

John Grubb: Fond memories of the lovely smile whilst getting 10p worth of sherbet dips mixed with 10p worth of rainbow dust.

Jo D’Vonne Ramey: I’m sure lots of us of a certain age have fond memories of Daphne and her sweet shop!

Rita Turner: She was a lovely lady a great guide leader. And, I used to go in her shop for sweets.

Kim-Denise Hansen: She taught me so much in Girl Guides and always made me so welcome at her house. Spending my pocket money in her sweet shop was the highlight of my week!

Stephanie Keus Was Goodrum: She was my Guide Leader. A real inspiration.

Jacqui Crook: Daphne was a wonderful woman who brightened up Ealing House. 

Julie Ellis: I was one of her Guides, many years ago and we used to get sherbet dips from the shop 

Karen Skeggs: Such fond memories of Daphne in her sweet shop. We used to cycle there when we were allowed with our 2p and come out with loads of treats.

Elise Mitchell: I lived next door to the sweet shop for several years when I was little. Daphne was a very kind and patient lady. She always made a fuss of me and I loved living next door to her.

Emma Roberts: Fond memories of getting a 2p bag of sherbet from the sweet shop on my way to the park & being neighbours for many years. 

Mr Wakeman

Terry Turner: He was a brilliant Headmaster, one of the best we ever had.

Andrea Thompson: I remember Mr Wakeman as well. He had a very loud shout I was so scared of him.

Chris Hewitt: I can only remember that Mr Wakeman had a daughter Judith ? And we had film shows in the canteen.

Philip Wakeman: After each holiday a film show was held in the canteen. Judith is my sister and my elder brother is Trevor.

Barry Hall: I can remember getting the slipper for missing assembly when the bus was late. That wasn’t a good enough excuse, so whack three times. Apart from that nice headmaster.

Andrea Thompson:  I remember you telling mum that you did not have time to think about putting anything in to stop it hurting.

David Nunnerley: I remember Mr Wakeman and there was a Mr Powell I think.

Crew Turner: Looking back yes, he was a great headmaster. Late for assembly a few times and had to go to the office (wooden shed) to explain why and when I told him I had a large paper round he said in future go straight to your classroom and don’t disturb the rest creeping in.

Paula Leech: Remember Mr Wakeman very well, went to Maker camp and France, lovely memories, Paula Leech, was Cator.

Philip Wakeman: the trip to France was to a place called Rambouillet on the outskirts of Paris.

Paula Leech: That’s correct, we stayed in a school it was run by Nuns, the food was awful so were the toilets, we slept in a dormitory, I remember Mrs Davey’s daughter being there, I stayed with a French family for the day, they took me to a Zoo.

Michael Myhill: I went on one of the holidays to Maker camp had a great time. Sam Dowe was the driver of the bus and he could be found in the local pub most evenings called the Rising Sun. Mr Wakeman, the one thing I remember most about him was with Carl Gallant, Micky Davies I think Colin Nicholls and myself getting the cane for snowballing a man from Horsey in Somerton Road.