Rose is a link to Norwich’s history

Rose Lovick shares some memories of our fine city with Derek James.

Ninety-four-year-old Rose Lovick is a living link with a time when St Andrew's Hall was a workhouse, Dunstan Hall was a building site, the art world was still pre the pre-Raphaelites and Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species had not quite evolved into a book.

The Norwich nonogenarian has very clear memories of her grandfather, who was born in Norwich back in 1859.

Frederick Sinclair went on to have nine children and at least 10 grandchildren, including Rose.

He worked in a sweet factory, ran a small boot and shoe factory at the back of his house in St George's Street, and then ran the Artichoke pub at Magdalen Gates for five years.

He was also a fine singer, performing as principal tenor with St John's Roman Catholic choir and with the Norwich minstrels. He lived until 92 but Rose remembers him telling her about one claim to fame from when he was just 11.

He became the first paperboy to deliver copies of the Eastern Daily Press – founded 12 years before the Evening News – and just look at this picture of the Evening News paperboys more than a century ago. The morning paper was launched back in 1870 and Rose said 'He chose to deliver the EDP along Newmarket Road. I think he thought he'd get good tips from the people in the big houses!'

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Later young Frederick took on another paper round, this time in Thorpe where, again, he was delivering to the gentry of Victorian Norwich.

She remembers visiting her grandparents at their Denmark Road home most Sundays during her childhood – although it was more an ordeal than a joy. 'In those days children were supposed to be seen and not heard!' said Rose.

Frederick Sinclair remained an Evening News reader all his life.

One of his great grandsons, the son of Rose's cousin Russell Wilde, who also still lives in Norwich, has researched the family history and discovered that the links with local newspapers remained. Two of Rose's cousins kept a newsagents in St Giles.

Rose herself married twice, first to Robert Thomas and then, as a widow of 76, to John Lovick. Romance blossomed, late in the life and in the unlikeliest places.

'We first met when he was behind me in a Post Office queue and kissed me on the back of the neck! Then we met again in Anglia Square!' said Rose.

She remembers a childhood spent roaming Mousehold Heath. 'We used to just about live out there!' she said.

As a young woman she worked at Goffs Box Factory in Fishergate, until the terrible wartime morning when she arrived for work and found just a twisted mess of metal and rubble. The factory had been bombed.

'All you could see was just a shell of a building and the machinery, all twisted,' she said.

And today, at 94, although she could easily pass for someone more than 20 years younger, her memories of the grandfather who himself lived until he was 92, make her a living link through more than 140 years of Norwich history.