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Swaffham

Swaffham

Our town museum has been successful over the past few years and not least so because of local interest in its archives of old photos.

These get the tales going at open days and it shows how important it is to have good quality records of events and views of the times we live in.

Future generations of Swaffham residents would expect no less of us and we should not be found wanting. Many townspeople have given audio accounts of times they remember, which are now stored and held in perpetuity by the museum.

I understand they are being used as part of the museum displays. It is equally important that we produce photographic records of our changing town landscape.

It is a great regret of mine that there appears to be no decent record of the old Angel Inn and its progressive demolition. This wonderful building stood where the Iceland store now stands. Its basic framework was timber and almost certainly Tudor or earlier.

If that building still stood and had been sensitively preserved, what a splendid addition it would have been to our impressive market place, with Montpelier House nearby and also standing proud, albeit with part of it now most inappropriately renamed.

Many have also commented on the loss of the Retreat in the Pightle. Older townspeople will remember Malcolm and Molly Frost living there.

Again Swaffham history has been lost and one can only hope there are decent photos of that property which show what it actually looked like in its prime. It is very unlikely that the housing replacing this fine old house will have anything of its predecessor’s character.

Another property now demolished is the bungalow where George and Jean Davey lived at the entrance to Princes Street. What a joy that was to walk past, with its well-tended lawns, roses and hollyhocks.

Wandering past there now fills one with a sense of gloom. The bungalow is a pile of rubble, the garden long torn up and the front fencing untidy and weed strewn. It looks more like a bomb site.

However, time moves on and no doubt before long more new properties will spring up here, more of the modern functional housing with postage stamp-sized gardens, all that we have now come to expect, and dread, around our town.

It may be what the demand is for these days, with space at a premium and finances as tight as they are, but many will undoubtedly crave for those earlier days when our town had more colour, life and character to it.

It has also been big news that the land at Swan’s Nest Farm is now to be developed with housing. It is not that many years ago that Walter and Betty Bayfield farmed there. Walter was an uncle of my mother. More history and green space lost to urban development.

 

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