When Boulton & Paul was at the heart of Norwich’s riverside

A reunion is being held later this year for former employees of Boulton & Paul. Derek James reports.

A picture which illustrates the way Norwich has changed as our industry has disappeared.

Just take a look at the way Riverside looked before factories and workshops were swept away.

For a couple of hundred years there was one firm at the heart of the Norwich industrial scene – Boulton & Paul.

A name which stood for style and craftmanship – its products and its workforce were respected and admired across the world.

In its heyday, B&P made an extraordinary range of goods – from buckets to aircraft – many still being used all over the world.

It's symbol was the leaf and the tree – from roots in a small ironmonger's shop in Norwich the plant grew into a many-branched entity, it's products satisfying the needs of a fast-changing world.

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Generations of men and women worked at B&P over the years, many following each other in to the factory based beside the river when it was used to ferry goods in and out of the city.

Slowly but surely the company got smaller and smaller before finally closing and being demolished to make way for the Riverside we have today. The only reminder of B&P is a steel statue near the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge and a blue plaque which I told you about yesterday.

But the memories live on in the minds of all those who worked there and there is a reunion coming up later this year for the boys from the CE (Constructional Engineering) department.

This years marks the 25th anniversary of the closure of the department when the skilled workers left for the last time.

To mark the date a special reunion has been arranged for Friday, October 28 at the Sprowston Sports and Social Club on Blue Boar Lane.

'We held our first reunion on the 10th anniversary of the closure and have been holding get togethers ever since but we thought it appropriate to mark the 25th anniversary,' said Barry Keymer.

So, if you ever worked there, please put this date in your diary and if you would like anymore information call Barry on 01603 890412 or Terry Haigh on 01603 412103. You could also email him at barrykeymer923@ btinternet.com