Durban House

Durban House in February 2015

Durban House once stood on the east side of White Street near the entrance to the former Mushroom Farm at what is now the roadway into the Persimmon Homes  development of about 100 properties built during 2019/20.

It was built on the site of a pair of semi-detached properties called Durban Cottages. The only reference to them is in the 1891 census when one was occupied by Hannah Miller who was single and a seamstress and the other was occupied by Mary Dye with her two daughters Elizabeth & Rachel plus Rachel’s daughter Hilda. Mary was the widow of James Dye. The cottages were still there in 1939 when Edward & Kathleen Church lived there. Edward was a motor engineer.

Durban Cottages and Pyman’s Store were next door to each other in what seems to be the same plot because they were demolished at the same time. The cottages were set back from the former Pyman’s Store which was demolished to provided a wider entrance to the Mushroom Farm and Durban Cottages were replaced with Durban House.   

Marion Pyman, the daughter of the founder of Pyman’s Store James Rix Pyman, had married Charles Bradfield in 1922. They had two sons Donald and John. They decided to grow mushrooms in some sheds at the back of Pyman’s Store. The business became more and more successful and more sheds were built but the access road was found to be inadequate due to it being very narrow so Durban Cottages and Pyman’s Store was demolished. This would appear to be in the very late 1940’s.

Barbara Warnes recalls her cousin Daphne, nee Grimes & husband Billy Tungate lived in half of Durban House when they were first married and thinks Molly Alexander, nee Bensley lived in the other side. Colin Tungate has confirmed this because his mum & dad, who were married in August 1950, lived in one half and Molly & Geoff Alexander lived next door. Colin was born there in 1955 and his family moved out about two years later and moved to Rollesby Road, where his mum ran her little shop.

John Bradfield lived in the new Durban House for a while, with its ironwork front gates that spelt out the name ‘Durban House’, made by Philip Mobbs.

Apparently the aunt and uncle of Christopher Stokes lived there for a while and Julie Ward’s husband, John, had the butchers shop next door.

c1940. Along the bottom: Jearys’ Butchers & house; Durban Cottages; Pyman’s Store; very narrow entrance to the Mushroom Farm.
c 1960. Centre: Drive into Church Farm; Bungalow; Jeary’s Butchers & House; Durban House has replaced Durban Cottages; Pyman’s Store has been demolished to provide a wider entrance to the Mushroom Farm.

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