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Part of Norwich’s roadside heritage restored thanks to work of dedicated enthusiast

PUBLISHED: 09:28 04 April 2012

Nigel Ford of the Milestone Society with the 1868 stone he has restored on the Dereham Road near the Waterworks Road junction. Picture: Denise Bradley

Nigel Ford of the Milestone Society with the 1868 stone he has restored on the Dereham Road near the Waterworks Road junction. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

They are signs of a bygone era which line our roads almost unnoticed and which could have been lost forever were it not for the work of one dedicated enthusiast who is committed to preserving Norfolk’s roadside heritage.

Careful work to lovingly restore three 1868 milestones, which line the way for part of the journey from Norwich to Dereham, is now complete largely thanks to the work of Nigel Ford, a member of The Milestone Society - which, established in 2001.

Mr Ford, a retired window cleaner who has taken on the job of locating, repairing and repainting these relics as part of the Norfolk Jubilee Milestone Project which aims to restore 60 of Norfolk’s neglected milestones to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.

As part of the first phase of the Dereham Road Bus Rapid Transit scheme, Norwich City Council, with support from the county council, wanted to help local projects that improve the natural and historic environment.

Three milestones, which count down the miles to Norwich and up to Dereham, were identified as valuable historic features and the city council paid £600 to cover the cost of creating and replacing the cast iron plates that were missing from two, including one near to the junction with Waterworks Road.

Mr Ford said; “It is known that these two iron plates were removed at the beginning of the Second World War. What is not sure, however, is why. Some have theorised that these could have been salvaged for the war effort. Others say they could have been put in storage for security, as people may have believed by removing these it would help confuse enemy invaders. What happened to the original mileage plates in 1940 remains a mystery.”

Mr Ford worked on the project with RG Carter and other businesses including Norfolk Motor Company, Ben Burgess, Read Bros and BD&H Ltd.

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