Park life: The lost cottages of Earlham Park in Norwich

Cottages Earlham Park front view pulled down 1938/39. Charlie Rush and daughter.

Charlie Rush and daughter in front of their Earlham Park cottage in Norwich that was pulled down in 1938/39. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

A glimpse of the past and the way we were… these are rare photographs of a little community which once stood in Earlham Park, Norwich.

The photographs come from James and Sonia  Chamberlain and many years ago members of their family lived in one of the two cottages near the river and the old bridge. Their neighbours were the Rushes.

Cottages Earlham Park front view, pulled down 1938/39. Shed tiles at front, baby near door.

Shed tiles at the front, baby near door, a glimpse at the cottages of Earlham Park in Norwich that were pulled down in 1938/39. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

View from Earlham Bridge 1937. Jay's dad's home

View from Earlham Bridge in 1937. Jay's dad's home. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

Charles Chamberlain and his wife Margaret moved from Aylsham to Earlham Park with some of their children and Charles worked at the Makins farm. Jimmy – James’ father – was born in 1912, the youngest of eight children.

He always told the tale of how he, when a toddler, fell into the river and was pulled out of the water by the family dog.

A toddler stands with a dog.

James Chamberlain's dad as a toddler. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

The Chamberlain’s moved to Colney where Charles died in 1942. Jimmy was married by then to Joan Starland, who lived in the cottage by Earlham gates. Her father had been head gardener for the council at Earlham Hall.

Laura Starland outside Earlham Hall

Laura Starland outside Earlham Hall in Norwich. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection


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The Bartram family cottage was opposite St Mary’s Church and Mrs Bartram made tea for the Sunday afternoon cricketers while two sisters, Lavinia and Gardinia Bartlett, lived in a thatched cottage opposite the park gates where flats are now.

Cottages Earlham Park opposite St Marys Church. Pulled down 1938/39. Bartrum lived there, little boy

Cottages Earlham Park opposite St Marys Church. They were pulled down in 1938/39. Bartram lived there, this little boy (grandson) is Derek Matthews. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

Norwich Corporation eventually took over the park, once the private grounds of Earlham Hall, and the properties.

Mrs Bartrams cottage - Earlham Hall, Norwich in 1937. Opposite St Marys Church. She sold teas in summer.

Mrs Bartram's cottage at Earlham Hall, Norwich in 1937. Opposite St Marys Church. She sold teas in summer. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

Cottages Earlham bridge 1937

Cottages near Earlham bridge in 1937. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

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It was in 1937 when  George Plunkett photographed and wrote about Earlham Bridge Cottages, describing their design in detail. The “Churchwarden Gothic” style of the arches and the chimneys which may have come from the Costessey brickfields.

The Norwich Society called for them to be saved but to no avail – they were demolished in the late 1930s.

With thanks to James and Sonia Chamberlain and to Bill Smith for preparing the photographs for publication.

For more old photos and articles about Norfolk history and heritage, subscribe to our new fortnightly Through the Decades email newsletter. Sign up by clicking here

Cottages in Earlham Park

Cottages in Earlham Park in Norwich in the 1930s. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

Cottages on Earlham Park near Bridge 1937

Cottages on Earlham Park, Norwich near the bridge in 1937. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

Earlham Park cottages with St Mary's Church in the background. 

Earlham Park cottages with St Mary's Church in the background in Norwich in the 1930s. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

Cottage opposite Earlham Park gates 1937. Lavinia and Gardenia Bartlett lived there.

Cottage opposite Earlham Park gates 1937. Lavinia and Gardenia Bartlett lived there. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection

Flood goingtoward Earlham Bridge. Building in background is now Spire Hospital.

Flood going toward Earlham Bridge. The building in background is now Spire Hospital. - Credit: Chamberlain family collection


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