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It's time to bathe in park nostalgia

PUBLISHED: 07:37 16 April 2012

IMAGES OF NORWICH BOOK ON THE WATERFRONT CHAPTER Wensum Park during the 1930s Children bathing in the paddling and wading pools.

IMAGES OF NORWICH BOOK ON THE WATERFRONT CHAPTER Wensum Park during the 1930s Children bathing in the paddling and wading pools.

Archant

For the children growing up in the humble courts and yards of Norwich - the parks and gardens were a slice of paradise.

Memories of happy days messing about in the river at Wensum Park in Norwich have come all the way from Australia plus a plea for your help.

Just take a look at this picture from our archives taken in the 1930s which illustrates just what a popular place it was years ago. The others, from later years, also come from our files.

Margaret Nesbitt, who you may remember as Margaret Dye, has happy memories splashing around in the water at what was the city’s “own beach” in those days.

Born in one of the rough-and-tough Oak Street yards in 1933, she now lives on the other side of the world but has fond memories of growing up in Norwich during the ’30s and ’40s.

“We Dye kids played on ‘the steps’ which were at the end of Tillet Road. We often went to Sewell Park to play and sometimes even as far as Wensum Park, especially in the summer to the swimming area there.

“Part of the river was fenced off to create a swimming pool. On a summer day it would be crowded,” recalled Margaret.

It certainly was.

“And then there was Mousehold Heath. We spent hours there. Blackberry time would see us going home with stained faces and hands, but what happy times.

“Only recently my brother in New Zealand asked me if I remembered the big nut tree at the top of Blackhorse Opening. We couldn’t remember what type of nuts they were. They were tiny but delicious,” said Margaret.

She went to Mousehold Avenue School. Then George White before getting a scholarship to Blyth Grammar School where Mrs Whitaker was the headmistress.

“My first job was with Norwich Union. I was there for six years but had to leave when I got married as that was the then policy. No doubt the powers-that-be soon realised the folly of such waste. They trained me for six years then Caleys, where I next worked, got the benefit of that training,” said Margaret.

She and her husband became ‘£10 Poms’ heading off for a new life in Australia in 1964 but she has never forgotten happy days growing up in Norwich.

There is one old playground which Margaret would love to see a photograph of. It was called Pearce Field off Sprowston Road. A favourite place for children in the 1930s and ’40s.

Here are a few names she can remember: Moore, Pinfold, Dunthorne, Thorn, Wade, Randall, Vincent, Dunnell, Cork, Williamson, Hutson, Curtis, Goodson, Batson, Nobbs, Bush, Vines, Lovett, Howes, Rayner, Steward, Spurgeon, Bunn, Durrant, Morris and Goff.

If you can help with pictures email her at nesbittdsl@tadaust.org.au or write to Margaret Nesbitt at PO Box 1830, Bairnsdale Vic 3875, Australia or telephone 0061 3 5152 7627.

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