Objections to City of Norwich 1907 Incorporation Proposal.

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The Argument Against The Proposal.

In 1907 the City of Norwich applied to annex a considerable area of the Parish of Sprowston. Until this date many facilities such as Sprowston Elementary School had been approximately in the centre of the parish and if the transfer of area envisaged took place both the school and post office would then be on the border. Likewise, Sprowston Post Office would then fall within the city boundary. In an attempt to resist this land grab by the City the Parish and St Faiths and Aylsham District Council produced the following document alas to no avail as the Local Government Board approved the Norwich Corporation’s claim. Rather than having to read the scans the text is appended.


To the Right Honourable the Local Government Board. The Memorial of the SPROWSTON PARISH COUNCIL, the OVERSEERS, and PARISHIONERS assembled in Parish Meeting of the Parish of Sprowston, County of Norfolk. The area and population as stated in the Memorial of the City of Norwich may be taken as correct. The Rateable Value, as per current rate, is: Agricultural Land, £1,616 12s. 6d. ; Buildings and other Hereditaments not being Agricultural Land, £6,001 12s. 6d., or a net rateable value of £6,809 18s. 9d.


We claim that the boundaries as laid down on the Ordnance Map of 1885 are correct, and are such as were fixed and laid down by the Commissioners appointed under the Sprowston Inclosure Act, 1800 ; which Act gave power to such Commissioners to settle and define the boundaries of the Parish, the said boundaries being shown and laid down on the Award Map of the Parish, and we challenge the Norwich Corporation to show that at any time jurisdiction was ever exercised over the area proposed to be included in the City by the authorities of the City, or that any rate has ever been legally paid by any of the inhabitants of that part of Sprowston claimed as belonging to the City. We are prepared to prove from rate-books in the possession of the Parish, that for at least a period of 140 years the inhabitants living in that District always paid rates to the Parish of Sprowston. Of the proposed boundary (the Corporation of the City of Norwich, not having had the courtesy to deposit a map with the Parish Council, or Overseers) we are not in a position to know exactly where it is.


We believe that the Citizens of Norwich are very heavily rated, the average for the last three years being nine shillings and sevenpence in the pound, whereas the rate for the Parish of Sprowston for the same period being only four shillings and seven-pence in the pound.


In the Memorial of the City of Norwich it is stated (page 20), " that included in the area is a building estate known as the Sprowston Lodge Estate, having an area of 40 acres." We humbly submit that the above statement is grossly incorrect (and goes to show the very careless way in which the case for the City has been laid before your Honourable Board). The area as shown in all old Valuation Lists is under 12 acres. Also on the same page your attention is directed to a District known as Ship Fields. We believe we are correct in saying that there are hundreds of houses in the City of Norwich and other large Cities built in the same way, and we assert without fear of contradiction that the state of the road will compare very favourably with many roads in the City of Norwich.


The Schools in the Parish are County Schools, in which provision is made (as required by law) for all the children of the Parish, the furthest any of the children have to go from the City Boundary is not more than eleven hundred yards, they are well staffed, the average attendance for the year ended November 2nd, 1906, is Infants 88%, and for the Mixed School 95%, which is higher than many schools in the City, and while some of the City Schools have been closed through sickness, the Sprowston Mixed School has remained open, and the Infant School only closed for 3 weeks for Whooping Cough.


The Report of the Medical Officer of Health for the St. Faith's District, proves that the Parish of Sprowston cannot be a source of danger to the health of the City of Norwich, because while fever, diphtheria, and other diseases have been and are prevalent in the City (so much so that the Isolated Hospital is full), very few cases have occurred in Sprowston, some of those can be traced to the attendance of children at City Schools, and so became a source of danger to the inhabitants of the Parish of Sprowston, and we also believe that the people of Sprowston are as intelligent as those living in the City, and that it is not correct to say as stated (on page 21 of the Memorial of the City) that the proper use of disinfectants are objected to any more in the County than in the City.


On page 21 of the Norwich Memorial it is inferred that the inhabitants of Sprowston have advantages for which the ratepayers of Norwich pay for. The words are " and by reason of the share which the inhabitants of such area have, and must have, in the many advantages provided at the expense of the ratepayers of the City." We are at a loss to understand what advantages the inhabitants of the Parish of Sprowston have at the expense of the ratepayers of the City of Norwich, beyond that which they pay for. The County Council provides for the Education of all the children of the Parish. The police are provided by the same authority, and we claim that Sprowston is as free from crime as any working-class district in the City. Our poor are provided for out of the Common Fund of the St. Faith's Union. The Parish Council have made provision in cases of fire by entering into an agreement with the City for the services and use of the Fire Brigade and appliances, for which the Parish pay the City the sum of fifteen pounds per year, and during the six years since the arrangement was made only one case of fire (which was extinguished before the Norwich Brigade arrived) has occurred. The gas and water supplies do not belong to the citizens of Norwich, but to private Companies, and in cases of fire the Water Company supply free of cost that which is necessary to extinguish the same. Undoubtedly many of the inhabitants of Sprowston, as do the people from villages for miles around, go in the City for hopping purposes; it may be an advantage, but at the same time it is conferring a benefit upon the City.


Your Memorialists therefore humbly suggest that the District Council of St. Faith's should be allowed to lay before your Honourable Board plans for the drainage of the area in question : also that for the proper and regular emptying of bins, cesspools, and the removal of house refuse, the District Council should constitute the Parish Council a Sanitary Committee for that purpose, we feel the importance of this, for although the health of the Parish has been satisfactory, yet we believe an improvement should be attempted in better sanitation. We find from a Report issued by Dr. Cooper Pattin, M.O.H. for the City of Norwich for 1905 (page 30), that bins and pails are as healthy as water-closets, the Report shows the percentage of typhoid in Districts where water-closets, bins, and pails are in use, the percentage given is : Water-closets 45 %, bins 33 %, and pails 22 ;we submit that the Report shows that in Districts (as in Sprowston) where bins and pails are in use the health of the people is as good and better as in Districts where only water-closets are used, and we are of opinion that the District Council should adopt such Acts or Clauses of Acts, or apply for Urban powers so as to secure a better and proper sanitation of the Parish. Your Memorialists do hereby protest against any part of the Parish of Sprowston being included within the boundary of the City of Norwich, we therefore humbly pray your Honourable Board not to grant the request of the City of Norwich. H. B. BROOK, CHAIRMAN OF PARISH COUNCIL AND PARISH MEETING. W. A. HARRISON, H. B. BROCK, OVERSEERS. H. HOOPER, W. PEAK, CLERK TO THE PARISH COUNCIL.