Donald Bradfield of Martham (1925-1995)

Mushroom Farm presentation. 2nd left: Donald Bradfield. Far right Ronnie Holllis.

Donald James Bradfield was a true local businessman and entrepreneur. He had links with a number of village businesses and activities. Born as the first child of Charles Percy Eyre Bradfield and Marion Pyman his maternal grandfather was James Pyman who ran Pyman’s Stores on White Street. When James died (in 1899) Donald’s mother continued to run the stores so Donald was no stranger to business.

Donald and his brother John decided to set up a mushroom growing business in sheds to the rear of Pyman’s Stores in the 1950’s. The business grew and grew and became so successful that by the 1960’s the brothers moved to new bungalows across the other side of White Street and their old house and Pyman’s Stores were demolished to make room for an improved access road to the mushroom farm.

In the 1970’s Donald expanded his interests still further by taking on Church Farm visitor centre. Re-branding it the Countryside Collection it blossomed as an agricultural museum, tea shop, brass rubbing and gift centre which was a popular destination for holidaymakers.

Yet another connection with the community came about when Donald moved into Elmside House at the front of the Countryside Collection. He was the last occupier before the house was demolished.

Finally Donald could claim to have a rather unusual connection with village history in that whilst running the Countryside Collection he sold metal detectors when the hobby became popular in the 197o’s and it was those detector owners who went on the make finds in the village that contributed to our understanding of its history.

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