John Wilson's photographs, received 2020
John Wilson kindly sent his family photographs to the Martham Local History Group. They are copyright (c) John Wilson and collected by his Aunt and cousin. There is a strong link to the Strawberry Fruit Box story [see The Strawberry Fruit Box]. You may recognise some of the names in his letter, and the faces in these pictures. If you do, please let us know and we can contact John. This is his letter:
I'm not an internet addict, so have only recently found your website. I thought you and your group might like to see some photos relating to one or two holidays I enjoyed in Martham as a young boy. I'm an only child, born in Sheffield in 1944, but living with Mum and Dad in Worksop, Nottinghamshire 1946-52.
We would travel by train to Great Yarmouth and catch what we called the 'Paddy' train (perhaps 'cos most navvies were Irish) to Martham. In 1952 my cousin, Pauline, came with us and she and Mum can be seen at Martham station.
Another photo shows me on the station with pet dog Nettle, ready for the sands at Great Yarmouth.
We always stayed with Dad's Aunt
Hannah and Uncle Herbert Wilson,
who lived just down from the station
at 12 Rollesby Road. Their sister,
Mary, married a man surnamed,
Tubby, a local name I believe.
Hannah and Herbert were sister
and brother. Herbert's wife died
during the 1918 'flu epidemic. They
did however have a daughter, Edith,
who married Fred Duffield and lived
quite near St. Mary's Church. They
had two boys, Ernest and Arthur -
see family photo.
We were so desperate to play cricket one day that we played in the stubble field opposite 12 Rollesby Road. The photo shows Ernest batting, Arthur wicketkeeper and me leg slip. It was a struggle playing on the stubble.
I attach photos of Hannah as a young woman, c.1925 and older at Rollesby Road, 1952
also Herbert standing and horse-mounted at work near Martham, c.1925. Herbert was a P.O.W. in WW1 - don't know where - and came home to be a market gardener, in or near Martham, with his stepfather, James Hewitt.
James Hewitt married Phoebe, after her husband died at Upper Fulwood Farm, Hope, Derbyshire. He cared for my Granddad, George, Herbert, Hannah and Mary as if they were his own.
James and his parents, who came from Woodbastwick, Norfolk, farmed Edale End Farm, next to Upper Fulwood. These 2 farms combined in 1974 to become the National Trust's Dark Peak Estate Office and farm, managing that area of the Peak District.
The family moved to farm near Ewden village c. 1900 and James became gamekeeper at Broomhead Hall (now demolished), where he met Lord Somerleyton during the grouse shoots. Lord Somerleyton said the family would be better off running his Home Farm, but initially they settled at Church Farm, Bradwell, c.1911; then on to Somerleyton during WW1 when the position became vacant. My Granddad, George did not go to Norfolk - he settled in Sheffield to get work and hence Dad and I were born there.
James was a man of many talents, supervising the joiners and carpenters during the building of Sheffield Town Hall, 1895, but I think working the soil was in his blood. Photos include Home Farm, Somerleyton and Sutfield House, Martham, from where the market garden venture, from 1922 was managed. I'm not sure why they moved from Somerleyton or even why the Hewitts moved to Edale End from Woodbastwick.
In their twilight years,
James and Phoebe, lived in a
converted railway cottage,
near to Hannah and Herbert.
I still have James's brass
inlaid pendulum wall clock
and a picture he drew for me
of Santa Claus wishing us 'A
Happy Christmas'. My two
sons may appreciate them in the
As you can guess, all my relatives
respected and adored James for
rescuing Phoebe and family from
virtual poverty. They were a lovely
couple and Aunt Hannah in
particular inherited their
Christian nature: somewhat shy
and innocent, but a well respected
little lady by the Martham villagers.
Martham seemed to be permeated by the wonderful aroma box hedges
can give. Every time I encounter box hedges and get a whiff of that
aroma, all the happy holiday
memories come flooding back.
Most of this information and our
family tree were painstakingly
gathered by Dad's sister, my Auntie
May, and I hope it will add to your
interest in Martham's local history.
John E. Wilson