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The picture which revived memories of Bath House Yard in old Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:30 01 March 2012

Patsy Coates (left) outside her home at Bath House Yard.

Patsy Coates (left) outside her home at Bath House Yard.

Archant

How the controversial City of Norwich Plan of 1945 is still causing a stir all these years later - and bringing so many memories back.

It was a photograph taken in Norwich almost 70 years ago which brought back vivid childhood memories for Patricia Webster.

The picture was one of a collection I used from the fascinating City of Norwich Plan of 1945, looking at life on and around the River Wensum and other waterways.

At the time the planners were urging those in power to give the river and its surroundings the new lease of life it deserved, making it more attractive both for the people and for commerce.

In those days many goods came in and out of Norwich via the river.

One picture, looking up river from the old City Station bridge, pointed out that builder’s materials in the foreground and the railway had spoilt this otherwise pleasant reach.

Patricia got in touch because it brought so many memories flooding back.

She was a member of the Coates family who lived in the row of cottages, the third along, from 1952 until 1958 when they were pulled down.

Her dad was Herbert also known as “Slippery” Coates – an ice-cream man who worked for Peruzzi’s, first selling ice-cream and than as a scrap metal merchant. He enjoyed a drink, did Herbert.

“Although it looked like an idyllic scene, the access was from a yard off Oak Street with the wonderful name of Bath House Yard – called this due to the presence of a brick-built shed at the end of the yard with had two coppers lit by fire underneath, where the women boiled up their linen and water for the tin baths we used,” she said.

There were six cottages in the row, two up and two down, with a back yard containing two taps on a opposite wall and three toilets between the whole row.

“I was about seven when we first moved in and have some wonderful memories. All the summers seemed long and hot.

“Our mother would take us to Cromer on the train, the station being just round the corner.

“There were also quite a number of bomb sites to play on, one being where The Talk now stands and another on the corner of Sussex Street,” added Patricia.

“When you think of it this was the only picture where the houses were replaced with industry instead of the other way round,” she said.

She went on to work at Clark’s shoe factory on Sussex Street and then Mansfields before getting married and starting a family.

Watch this space for more rare photographs of the way we were next time we open the City of Norwich Plan of 1945.

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