Norwich in the roaring twenties: Life on a bustling city street 100 years ago

A look at life in Ber Street during the 1920s

A look at life in Ber Street during the 1920s. - Credit: Archant Library

Much of the character of this important Norwich thoroughfare has disappeared in the mists of time… so join us on a journey down old Ber Street.

Boisterous Ber Street has a rich history. Full of shops, courts and yards, along with schools, famous public houses… and once a week the cattle took over when they were driven up and down the street to the market and back.

Cattle being driven along Ber Street.

Cattle being driven along Ber Street. This picture post card is looking towards the city centre. - Credit: Archant Library

With King Street at the bottom and Ber Street at the top, this was the village on the hill. A proud community.

Saturday was THE day of the week in Norwich when the country came to the city. Market Day.

A faded old picture of the Dady butcher’s shop, one of many in Ber Street.

A faded old picture of the Dady butcher’s shop, one of many in Ber Street. - Credit: Archant Library

The cattle market was held in the centre of Norwich from the 17th century until the 1960s. I remember seeing the cows and feeling sorry for them as they made their way over the cobbles.

The photographs we share with you today are of some of the butchers and their families who ran shops along the street. In 1920s and 1930s there were seven butchers shops between Bonds (John Lewis) and Horn’s Lane (where the school was), plus four or five further along.


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They illustrate the life and times of the Peek, Dady and Goodson families who ran shops along the busy street.

All dressed up for a day out

All dressed up for a day out. We believed they are members of the Peak, Dady and Goodson families who ran shops in Ber Street. - Credit: Archant Library

The families would put on their bib and tucker and head off on their pony and traps or bicycles into the Norfolk countryside.

Members of the Dady family on a day out.

Members of the Dady family on a day out. - Credit: Archant Library

Mrs Dady on her horse and trap with her dogs.

A wonderful picture taken by Manby of Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, of Mrs Dady on her horse and trap with her dogs. - Credit: Archant Library

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Many years ago a reader, who gave me these photographs, said they would head out to various public houses and a particular favourite was The Globe at Blofield.

Mr and Mrs Dady travelled in style on their pony and trap - apparently she was a good piano player.

Members of the Dady family out for a ride.

Members of the Dady family out for a ride. - Credit: Archant Library

A picture of an outing of the Ber Street boys on their bikes believed to have been taken in the late 1920s.

A picture of an outing of the Ber Street boys on their bikes believed to have been taken in the late 1920s. - Credit: Archant Library

There was never a dull moment in old Ber Street but let’s not forget many of its residents lived in appalling slums with a communal loo and a single tap.

During the 1930s more than 35 yards with almost 300 homes were flattened. The area was bombed in the Second World War and then in the late 1950s/60s much of the rest of the area was pulled down to make way for new developments and Rouen Road.

Explore thousands of old photos of Norfolk, create collections and share your memories with our new vintage photography service The Story Of. Visit thestoryof.uk to create an account and revisit the locations that mean most to you.

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