Skip to content Skip to search
My Norwich

A century of stories: David's story

I was born in the 1930s and lived in council accommodation for most of my years there. I have moved away now but still consider myself a real Norwich boy, return to visit often and have the fondest memories.

I was born in a flat on Bullard Road, part of one of the first council estates in the city, later moving to Motum Road. I have very pleasant memories of living at Motum Road.

I know my parents were delighted with the space in the house and garden, electric lighting, bathroom and inside toilet. We also enjoyed Earlham Park, the river at Lower Hellesdon, fields off Dereham Road and Earlham Green Lane Woods.

I have many memories of bold community characters, using shared toilets and living through the war years. I remember watching ‘dog fights’ between war planes from our back garden in Motum Road. Planes came very low, low enough we could see the pilots. We also had to build an Anderson shelter in the garden.

When we lived at Bacon Road, my brother and his friend started a little lending library in our back gardens, lending books out for a penny a week! This inspired me to use the public library on Colman Road which fed my growing addiction to reading.

Here we spend the winter of 1946-7, one of the worst winters of the century. We had 6-7 feet of snow, and there were wonderful sledging opportunities in Eaton Park. With only one coal fire in the house, it was very difficult to keep warm.

On all of the estates I lived on, I felt part of a vibrant, tight-knit community, mainly of working class families with aspirations to improve their lives while also working together to improve the community. I remember especially the 1951 Festival of Britain celebrations in Eaton Park.

I feel very angry that council estates can sometimes be criticised, they are special places that produce some excellent people.