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The Industries of Sprowston

Until the 19th century nearly all industries within the parish were agricultural based, either processing the commodity as in milling, or in servicing and support. These came into the categories of agricultural contractors doing threshing and sawing and the artisan's such as blacksmiths and wheelwrights looking after both the farm machinery and the many horses employed in agriculture in those days. The only exception to this was the retail and service sector as it is now called taking in everything from the humble shopkeeper to local builders, painters and decorators. It was the building industry which was to have the most profound effect on Sprowston industry the parish being blessed with a considerable amount of suitable brickearth the clay used for making bricks. It was this industry that was to shape the Sprowston for several decades until the supply of brickearth ran out. The increase in output of many factories within the centre of Norwich made it a viable proposition to set up satellite production facilities in Sprowston in the 20th century. This process was aided by the necessity of increased production during the First World War and was to continue once again spurred on by the Second World War. Production methods changed, company mergers played a role and many of these industries were either relocated or simply swallowed up. It seems strange to this day the First World War aircraft hangars are still playing host to various industries these being added to by modern developments with yet more planned.