Broadlands Mushroom Farm, to give it its full title, started as a small family business in the early 1950s, in a shed on land behind Pyman’s Stores in White Street. By the late 1950s, the business was supplying markets in Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester. The business, owned by John and Donald Bradfield, became more successful and more sheds were built. In the early 1960s the access road was found to be inadequate due to it being very narrow so the Bradfields moved into new bungalows and had their shop and old house demolished to make way for a new access road.
After the closure of the railway at Martham in February 1959, alternative arrangements for transporting the mushrooms were made and it was decided to only deliver to Birmingham. A lorry was purchased and a night-driver hired; two vehicles and drivers were used for deliveries to Yarmouth and Norwich. Mushrooms not required for local sales were taken to the wholesale markets by a contractor. Over the years more sheds were constructed and a canteen with facilities for the workers, who by then numbered about 100, was also added. New types of mushrooms were developed, the business thrived and there were plans to update the premises or move to another site, but these plans never materialised.
The mushroom farm was sold in the early 1990s and closed five years later, in 1995. The buildings stood empty for many years until a fire destroyed most of them in March 2014. At the height of the blaze more than 40 firefighters were tackling the flames which spread over three buildings.
In 2018 Persimmon Homes and Norfolk Land Ltd obtained planning permission to redevelop the site and by 2020 many of the 225 new homes had been completed.
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