It’s reunion time for the “Ruympsters” of Norwich

A city firm with a proud and long history is holding its first reunion and reaching out to find old friends.

It is a company which helped to build Norwich. Today, it's called Keyline, but for many it will always be known and loved as Ruymp.

And now it's reunion time for anyone who worked for this famous old builders' merchant, which has such a long and rich history.

So many 'Ruympsters' kept saying how good it would be to have a get-together, so two men stepped forward to take on the challenge of organising it.

They are Eddie Balls and Roy Bartram and today they are asking fellow workers to join them later this month.

'We already have more than 80 people who are coming along, but it would be good to have some more,' said Eddie.

'So many people worked for Ruymp and its associated companies over the years,' added Roy. 'It was the kind of firm where people stayed.'

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The origins of the company go way back to 1795.

By 1801, James Rump (the spelling of the name was changed much later) of Old Catton set up as a builder, carpenter and joiner in St Stephens, while Robert Rump was a pump-maker.

Fast-forward to 1877 and the business was based in Chalk Hill Terrace, Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich. The name got a 'Y' and by 1890 it was a big concern, with two businesses, operating from what was known as Ruymps Hole before it became The Nest – home to Norwich City FC.

It was not until after the first world war that Ruymp's only delivery vehicle – a horse-drawn trolley – was replaced by an old motor lorry. By the 1920s Ruymp was booming along with the building industry and was helping to put up estates at Earlham, Drayton Road, Mile Cross, Plumstead Road and Lakenham.

Times were hard during the second world war. Various companies were formed and then, in the 1960s, Charringtons fuel distributors took over some of them. Ruymp went on to take over many other builders' merchants and had a dozen depots across East Anglia and the Midlands. It was operating from St George's in the city. Later, it moved to big new premises in Weston Road, where it sold a huge range of goods. At one time Ruymp employed about 140 people.

It was later taken over by Keyline, which carries on the tradition of good service in Norwich – in the same way James Rump did all those years ago.

The reunion for all workers, men and women and their partners, is taking place at The Oaklands Hotel, Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew, on Wednesday, March 28, from 7pm. More details from Eddie Balls on 01603 867249 – email or Roy Bartram on 01603 406871 – email

If you have any memories or pictures of life at Ruymp please drop me a line at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE, or email me at