This is an extract of a letter written by
Mr R.C.L. Smith - a Normandy Veteran. It was addressed to Joy and Charles
Boldero (dated 5 Feb 2006) in response to their Spooner Row Walk which featured
in the EDP.
"I was born in the railway cottages near
the station, the end nearest the road. It is the house in your photo near
the signal box. You put the signal box
was built in the 1880's but this
isn't correct as I remember it being built probably in the 1920's. Before
this there was a single storey box there and I remember it being dragged away.
I was born in 1918 and my father was ganger platelayer on the Spooner Row
I well remember the Three Boars
was going to Sunday school with my brother and we saw smoke coming around the
corner. We went to the Boars and there was smoke coming from the roof in a
2ft 6in circle, and Mr Blythe the Landlord was up at the bedroom window with a
pail of water, which he tried to throw on the roof. The eave of the thatch
was so low he was unsuccessful. A man then cycled into Wymondham to raise
the alarm. The firemen caught the horses on The Kings Head Meadow,
harnessed them into the fire engine and galloped to Spooner Row. By the
time they arrived the inn was well alight.
My dad was one of the men who pumped the
engine, there being four men on each side.
I can also remember the village
hall. It was
originally a grain store, then it was used for building sheds and chicken huts.
A Mr Martin used it and built rooms in it and lived there with his family.
Later it was used by Eclipse Caravans who moved to the top of Station Road.
There is a story about the village that I
don't expect you were told. During the war people collected for a
"welcome home fund" for ex-service people. My dad told me he
gave a little from his wage every week. Then when we came home we got
nothing. The money was used towards the village hall fund. The
village hall for a time was called "Robbers Hall".
Mrs Routh Clarke and the W.I. were so
incensed by this, they arranged a bus trip and took us ex-service people on a
trip to a hall. I believe it was Somerleyton
and then on to Yarmouth where we had a meal.
The moat you mentioned was to do with Wick
Hall. There was no building there when I went to school. We used to
go for walks there regularly.
I attended Spooner Row School from 4 years
old until 14. My mother was school cleaner all the time I attended and
used to light the fires early in the mornings."