Sprowston Lodge (off Constitution Hill)
SPROWSTON LODGE (off Constitution Hill)
Sprowston Lodge. The First House of That Name
Despite prolonged searching for details of the building nothing was found in the way of information regarding to the age, design, number of rooms etc. Also no photographs or prints were found that could be of help. The Tillett family lived there for over thirty years had some eight children and up to five staff so to accommodate all of these the house had to be of some size probably in the region of fifteen to twenty rooms.
The Location of The Lodge
Location of the Lodge and its adjoining land was given on the O/S map of 1884 as being from Church Lane (later to be known as Denmark Road) in the south to Ash Grove in the north and along North Walsham Road as it was then known as, later to be named as Constitution Hill. Another building shown in the area at that time was the still standing flint built Star Cottage this could well have been part of the estate, its otherwise isolated position from any other buildings in the area at the time but close to the Lodge suggests that there could well have been some connection.
The Owning Family
The earliest resident found was in 1861 when William Pratt a merchant was listed as living there in the census of that year. Ten years later in 1871 the property had a change of ownership and was now the home of William Henry Tillett 1840-1895. William was the son of Jacob Henry Tillett a solicitor by profession and his wife Emily nee De Caux. (hence Tillett and De Caux Roads) William had married Janette Elizabeth nee Turner 1841-1935 in 1861 at Trowse Newton where her father John Turner had farming land. William as his father was also a solicitor, he and his wife Janette together with their children and staff lived at the Lodge at least until William`s death in 1895. It appears Janette did not remain living there much longer after the death of William as in 1900 she was residing at 94 St Giles Street Norwich.
The Demise of The Lodge and Subsequent Land Development
It is not known when or if the house and land was sold, it is possible that William`s sons may have remained in control of the land and its future development. Building on the site seemed to have taken place at quite a slow pace, by 1905 there had been some houses built on Constitution Hill with spaces between to allow for the inclusion of the future roads of Tillett Road, Sewell Road and De Caux Road as well as Capps Road off Denmark Road. By 1911 there were no houses on Tillett Road or Massingham Road but the roads were shown on the map of the time, however a few houses had been built on De Caux Road and Capps Road. 1914 saw that some houses had now been built on Sewell Road, Tillett Road and Massingham Road. As with most developments building appears to have been curtailed for the duration of WW1. Further building slowly continued after the war and it was not until well into the 1930s that work was completed in the area this being quite a long-time span for what was a relatively small project. This suggests that the work was carried out by a small firm of builders or perhaps even more than one as there are several different designs of houses within the development. Large building companies were busy at that time with the construction of the new council estates so perhaps work such as this fell to the smaller independent firms.