Sprowston Road

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Sprowston Road

Early ordnance survey maps show Sprowston Road starting from the Prince of Denmark public house through to the junction with School Lane and Mousehold Lane as "Wroxham Road". It is not clear from these maps when the change to Sprowston Road took place but in all probability when the city of Norwich extended their boundary in 1907. The road continuing through Sprowston parish was then known as Wroxham Road.

Sprowston Road as we shall call it even before 1907 had something of a reputation for being a something of a rough neighbourhood. One should remember in those days much of the employment for the residents was provided by the brick yards and quarries either side of the road which were interspersed with workers dwellings. Without putting too fine a point on it many of these houses were not much better than hovels, pictures of the Sunday school outing showing children with ragged clothing and frequently shoeless.

From the records of the 1850s there were already quite a number of businesses along this thoroughfare being one of the exits from the city. There were of course the normal retail premises and as the years progressed the range became ever more extensive by the early 19 hundreds they were available. Fishmongers, fruiterers, bakers, boot and shoe repairers, cycle agent and post office. There were of course public houses, Black Horse, Brickmakers Arms, Norfolk Arms, Prince of Denmark but one public house The Ship had already closed. On the business side they were lime burners, boot and shoe makers, brickmakers, millers and corn dealers, hay dealers.

By the 1930s the above businesses had been supplemented by ladies hairdressers, fried fish shops, ice cream companies, wholesale confectioner, Ironmonger, garage and filling station and greyhound racing stadium had opened utilising for its site a worked out brick earth pit. Much of the business development had been brought on by the building of new houses for what were then becoming commuters to the city. In 1933 the landmark which should save Sprowston over the years the old post mill was ravaged by fire and so little was left it had to be demolished.

Much stayed much as it was until after the Second World War when much of the older housing was swept away to be replaced by modern developments. Gone were the old dwellings of Shipfield and the older Methodist chapel on the corner demolished a new one having been built on Wroxham Road. This development continues to the present day the garage and filling station which had been remodelled over the years being swept away for an Aldi supermarket