From Agriculture to Housing

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From Agriculture to Housing

The ever increasing population of Norwich required ever more land for housing, naturally they looked outwards towards the country. It could never be called a rapid expansion beginning in the 1800s with a gradual ribbon development taking in the area up to the Prince of Denmark Public House. The brick making industry was to bring housing to the area in which the people were employed mainly from the Prince of Denmark Public House to what is now the ring road. Brick making took place on land that had originally been agricultural but brickmaking is a transient process, once the brick earth used to make the bricks is exhausted the industry moves on to the next available site leaving land suitable for redevelopment, this change of usage was almost finished by the beginning of the Second World War and there was ribbon development apart from one or two gaps along the whole of Sprowston Road.

Beyond what is now the ring road there were areas of brick earth to be exploited but also much of the land was low grade sandy agricultural land and local builders began building dwellings on this area. The Second World War caused much devastation within the city and a small amount within Sprowston, this is exacerbated the need for new housing on the outskirts since the bombing had destroyed whole areas of high density but low quality housing within the city which the residents did not want replaced, preferring to move to the outskirts.

Starting in the 1950s there was a gradual swallowing up of the agricultural land as new housing estates were constructed until by 1975 all agricultural land between the ring road and Blue Boar Lane/Church Lane/Barkers Lane was covered by housing swallowing up Wood Farm, Stonehouse Farm and Wilks Farm in the process. Apart from a small development close to the parish church building ground to a standstill. After much consultation and planning building work is under way again swallowing up much of the remaining farmland although there will be what they term as green lungs for recreation purposes and Whitehouse Farm for the time being will remain in production as a pick your own and farm shop venture.