Mousehold Lane

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Mousehold Lane between Wroxham Road and Salhouse Road has since 1907 being the boundary between the City of Norwich Borough and the county. Becoming the A1074 in the national road numbering scheme in the late 1920s or early 30s. In the 1970s the road number was changed to be A47 when this road was diverted from the city centre but resumed its A1074 numbering when the southern bypass opened as the A47. Until 1963 except for a small portion adjacent to the Wroxham Road roundabout the road was extremely narrow having only a 19 foot carriageway. In all developments along the road since the 1940s land had been left vacant for this improvement when new developments took place.

Starting from the roundabout at the junction of Sprowston Road, School Lane, Wroxham Road and Mousehold Lane the road gradually inclined upwards. The roundabout had originally been a signposted cross roads up until the early part of the 20th century. Starting along the road on the left-hand side where the flats now are there was a woods which belonged to the vicarage its horse chestnut trees providing many conkers for the local children. Opposite here was a row of what I take it to be early council houses or was it just that they were all built exactly identical beyond these was a large open plain that seemed to be an un-used entrance to the greyhound track. Beyond this plain was the Duke of Norfolk public house, built in 1938 its license was transferred from a closed public house of the same name in Southwell Road, Norwich. Immediately beyond this was the works and yard of Grange and Samuel the builders. The works were purchased by McLaren's who extended the building making it into a factory to produce handbags. With the demise of this business it became part of Start Rite shoes and has recently been demolished. Where Moreland close now is there seemed to have been a considerable rough area used for market gardening and keeping pigs it was in this area during the war that the Auxiliary Fire Service had their Sprowston Station. Then came Plaford Road which had been built in the 1930s. Beyond here on the city side there was a considerable scrap yard and rubbish dump Manses Dump. What is now the Esso filling station was built on part of this land in the early 1950s as a garage and a filling station owned by Mr Grimmer. Between this and the entrance to Mousehold was a single bungalow, Mousehold Heath continued through to the road junction with Salhouse Road.

Returning to the vicarage woods on the other side of the road they were then a few houses before Alford Grove beyond which there was a mix of detached and semi-detached properties both houses and bungalows. Only one of days could claim to be a business as a Mr Clarke had a cabinetmaking business in his garage and outbuildings. At this point Blackwell Avenue struck off on the left beyond which there was once again housing. It was a large house in this area owned by the Fryers who were bakers and had the business at the rear of the premises. Not far beyond this was the house where Miss Read the music teacher at Sprowston junior school lived. It was indeed a large house in a large plot of ground large enough to accommodate school fetes when necessary. Between here and Corbet Avenue were more residential properties the last of which was a Mumpus Dingle bungalow virtually buried in a wilderness of greenery. On the far corner of Corbet Avenue was the Mayfair stores run by a Miss Goff, this is now the Mousehold Garden Centre and it was outside here that the number 85 bus used to terminate. Carrying on towards Salhouse Road there was a wooded area locally known as Little Mousehold, this area was cleared and is now Thornham Drive built in the early 1950s. There then came the War Memorial Cottages built to house veterans of the First World War a second batch were added further along after the Second World War. We now arrive at Roundtree Way which in the 1950s and 60s was an aggregate quarry. Prior to the redevelopment of the area that is now Homebase had been occupied by Barnard's which had been served by an extension to the Norwich Tramway which ran over Mousehold crossed Mousehold Lane and went into the works. Just beyond this point came the crossroads with Salhouse Road, Gurney Road and Harvey Lane.