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Business as usual amid all the change in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:30 28 March 2012 | UPDATED: 11:43 28 March 2012

Grove Road, Norwich a century ago.

Grove Road, Norwich a century ago.

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A century on - this delightful Norwich corner shop is still serving the community

The way we were and the why we are – photographs which illustrate there is still a future for the corner shop.

While so many of our little local shops have gone, unable to compete with the large supermarkets, others have adapted to meet the ever-changing commercial challenges thrown up by the 21st century.

It’s always good to see an old postcard for the first time and this rare one of Grove Road in Norwich at its junction with Southwell Road comes from Ralph Pooley of Dereham.

This is a glorious picture, full of life – a window on a lost world. There are men and women, soldiers, boys and girls, all going about their business. Even the postman is emptying the mail box.

At the time the corner shop was a general stores selling a range of high-class provisions and opposite was a public house called the Surrey Inn.

While the buildings on the left, including the pub, were bombed during the war, those on the right have survived and are looking better than ever.

The corner shop is now Libby Ferris Flowers, a popular florist’s, and next door is the much-loved Little Red Rooster coffee shop.

Ralph tells me the old postcard belonged to his great aunt Violet Bush who lived at Beech House just round the corner from the shop in Grove Road.

“The tree in front of it has certainly grown over the years,” he said. “Her husband was a member of the Norfolk Regiment and I still have his silver-topped cane,” said Ralph who remembers the bomb shelter in the garden.

They were lucky to have survived on that side of the street during the second world war.

Bombs fell on the other side and Victoria Street and along Southwell Road causing death and destruction. Several people, whole families, lost their lives.

But the fine-looking properties on the shop side survived.

The railings have gone, the postbox has been moved but the corner is still looking good – thanks in the main to enterprising business people – providing a service that people want.

It is rather ironic that the old picture was taken from where Tesco store stands today.

That date on the front, 1837, is too early for postcards so it may have been the code number issued by Browne’s.

I think it is more likely to have been taken around the time of the first world war.

Perhaps you can shed more light on it?

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