Wroxham Road

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As the name suggests, Wroxham Road is so called because it is the road (originally track) from Norwich to Wroxham. It is shown in an 1883 Street Directory starting from Point House (junction between Sprowston Road and Magdalen Road) and on a 1908 OS map it is shown starting from The Prince of Denmark public house. By the time of a 1914 OS map, further boundary changes show it starting from the Brickmakers public house (where it still starts from today). The major events and developments on the part of Wroxham Road stretching out of Norwich to the present boundary were the founding of Lazar House (or Leper House) of St Mary Magdalene in 1119, the building of Sprowston Mill in 1730 (accidentally destroyed by fire in 1933) and the development of brickworks on either side of the then Wroxham Road.

Sprowston's 14th Century Parish Church of St Mary and St Margaret would most likely have been built in or close to the centre of the original village and stands about 200 yards from the current Wroxham Road. About 0.5 mile from the Church is Sprowston Hall. Originally built in 1560, it was rebuilt by John Gurney in 1875 and converted into an hotel in 1973.

A map of 1828 clearly shows two quite distinct communities. The old rural hamlet of Sprowston remained located around the Blue Boar Farm and the Blue Boar public house (a hostelry since about 1750) on Wroxham Road close to the church. The growing "New Sprowston" is clearly marked running from the city boundary to the mill and brickworks just beyond.

In 1885, the church authorities recognised that the population was fast increasing in the "New Sprowston" and opened St Cuthberts Church opposite the Brickmakers and about 1 mile from the old parish church. The OS map of 1908 shows that buildings were extending from St Cuthberts northwards and from Blue Boar Farm southwards.

By the time of the Second World War, Wroxham Road had a few shops including a Grocers, Garage, Newsagents and Post Office with the old Blacksmiths and Farm still remaining. Sprowston Hall was used during the War for meetings of those involved in the planning and implementation of military strategy. It was still the most significant residence and building in the community although it had long ceased to be a real manorial Hall.

With the continuing post war housing development in the area, by the early 1960's much heated discussion was reported regarding the condition of Wroxham Road and the need for upgrading to accommodate current levels of traffic. Consequently a compulsory order was put into effect to purchase part of 72 front gardens to enable the road to be widened to 33 feet and to widen the pavements to 6 feet.

In 1989, the Blue Boar had its own set of traffic lights at its car park exit, subsequently removed when the Blue Boar Lane junction with Wroxham Road was truncated to accommodate the new retail superstore and even more housing in the area. In the mid 2000's, a Park and Ride facility was built near Sprowston Hall and during a particularly heavy storm in June 2007, sustained very heavy flooding and resembled a large lake.

Wroxham Road is very much a major route into Norwich and with further building work being undertaken and planned, it is very far removed from the quiet village road of the early 20th Century.