We built this city: Meet the firm behind some of Norwich's famous landmarks
- Credit: Archant 2022
From Castle Quarter to the Lotus test track and from bypasses to university buildings, the very foundations of the Fine City can often be traced back to just one firm.
Thanks to family-run Longwater Gravel, architect drawings have become a reality courtesy of the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sand and gravel extracted from its three quarries.
Will Littleboy, 51, whose grandfather William Littleboy set up the Costessey-based company 70 years ago, said: "It is nice we have been with so many projects. The projects would not have got off the ground without the gravel. The material is an unsung hero."
The company has supplied projects including Castle Mall which opened in 1993, the University of East Anglia in 1963, the A47 southern bypass in 1992 and parts of Norwich Prison.
Further afield it has also been involved in the construction of the new buildings at Colney training ground for Norwich City players.
It also aided the construction of overflow building for patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital during the Covid pandemic and the project to rebuild the Lotus test track at Hethel.
Simon Smith, operations director of the firm, said the most challenging build was the new RAF Marham runway in west Norfolk two years ago.
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He said: "It was for the arrival of the RAF's new F35 Lightning II aircraft which are now based there.
"This job was probably one of the most challenging we've taken on mainly due to the fact that every single tonne of the 70,000 tonnes that was supplied over the 18-month period had to be produced to a consistent high-quality specification.
"In addition to RAF Marham, we have supplied sand to similar work at RAF Lakenheath ready for the United States Air Force’s fleet of new F35 jets."
On the business side, challenges included the price of diesel for its vehicles and the availability of land to quarry in.
It produces 200,000 of tonnes of aggregate each year out of its sites in Coxford, Horstead and Wymondham - two thirds of which is used on smaller building projects like driveways in the city.