War Memorial Gary Trouton


May 2008

A report on the third meeting in 2008 of the West dereham Heritage group

The third meeting of the year was held on the 20th March and the subject was Maps & Old Deeds. There was a good turn out of members which ensured a lively and interesting meeting. Claire Page brought along deeds and photographs relating to the "Cheques Inn". The photographs were the result of a relative of Box Bramwell who is living at Watlington finding a number of old pictures in family archives. They went round the villages to see if they could recognise any of the properties and eventually ended up in West Dereham at Claire's door.Box Bramwell was the Blacksmith at West Dereham from 1915 to about 1938. It is recorded that he died in 1947. The best photograph was of the Cheques with George Robertson and his Mother Lydia standing at the door taken about 1915-20. Another was an arial shot taken in 1982 which also included the shop and Post Office. Ron Hurrell was host of the Chequers then with Mr & Mrs Barton running the shop & P.O. They was also a nice one of the cottages on The Row taken before 1940. We know the rough date because both of the properties in the foreground were destroyed by bombs during the early part of World War Two.

Lindsay produced deeds and documents that related to the shop and Post Office and it appears that the date West Dereham opened it's own P.O. was 1908, although this is unconfirmed. Up until that time the nearest offices were at Stoke Ferry or Downham Market. The shop and Post Office closed under the last owners, Chris and Rosemary Douglas during the mid 1990s.

Richard had several old Ordnance Survey maps including the first one made of the West Dereham area dated 1884 together with 25 inches to the mile updates of 1904. These show the Village little changed from the private survey of George W.Kett made in 1825. He was also able to show documents and deeds for properties along the east end of Hilgay Road and much of Station Road. Before the coming of the Railway this road was part of Fen Drove. Also included was the first known lease for the property that became the "Life & Let Live" ale house. The site is where Abbey Lodge now stands but the ale house stood right by the road side in line with the cottages. It is dated 1891 and was granted to Eliza Germany who was a farmer like her father before her. We have no record of when the Live & Let Live closed but can only assume that when the railway closed to passenger traffic in 1930 the the pub went as well. Some of these old documents have been donated to the Village and will therefore always be available to anyone who wishes to look through them.

Richard C.French.

Secretary to West Dereham Heritage Group.

Tel 01366 500975

e-mail richardfrench@lineone.net

Richard French

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