Visiting 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023

Grandma and Grandad Moved to Norwich in 1963

Grandma and grandad moved from Kirkby to Norwich in October 1963, following our earlier move in 1960, see Chapter 76. Initially, they rented a flat, 45 Lilburne Avenue.

45 Lilburne Avenue in January 2022

Building a Bungalow

Grandma and grandad purchased land on Drayton High Road and had a bungalow built there. Building work took just over three months. They moved in on 13 May 1964.

Bungalow during construction (above) and after completion (below)
Copy of deeds for 166 Drayton High Road which the Browns shared with me when visiting the bungalow in May 2023. It shows conveyance of the land from the builders, Draper and Nicholls, to grandma and grandad, Mr and Mrs C G Parkin.

Backdrop to My Childhood and Teenage Years

I have strong memories of this bungalow. When grandma and grandad moved in, I was not quite four. So, I do not really recall where they lived before this. They lived in this bungalow throughout the entirety of my childhood and teenage years. Grandma was still there when I moved away to go to University in 1978. We went there for tea pretty much every Sunday afternoon during that period, see for example Chapter 106.

Grandma and grandad in their back garden with their bungalow as the backdrop
Playing cricket in grandma and grandad’s back garden

Recent Visit

Grandad died in 1975 and grandma later moved into Cromwell House. In 1980, the house was sold to Patrick and Ann Brown. The Brown family have owned the property since. I have been in touch with them since early 2022 largely over a windmill which grandad had originally built and which Patrick had maintained and kept in their front garden. I am extremely grateful to his daughters Louise and Sara for allowing me to visit the house and gardens in May 2023.

Extract of conveyancing document related to sale of 166 Drayton High Road by my grandmother, Ethel Parkin, to Patrick and Ann Brown in February 1980

Back Garden

We started off by looking around the back garden. Certain things had not changed. The garden still backs onto a field. However, while the back garden still has a central grassy area, this is smaller than previously with much more extensive plants and shrubbery than before.

Rear boundary of the garden of 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023
Rear garden of 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023 looking back towards the house

Crazy Paving Area

Grandad made a crazy paving area from broken slabs in November 1964, see Chapter 85. This is still in place. I believe this was variously used by grandma and grandad as a base for one of grandad’s windmills and also for a garden bench/seat.

Crazy paving area at 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023
Grandma and grandad’s rear garden. It shows the slabbed paths, the field at the end of the garden and a garden bench on the crazy paving
Boxing Day 1968. The picture shows Tricia, Liz, Caroline Douglas, dad, Alan and me. Grandad’s post windmill is standing on the crazy paving. The garden bench has been moved to the left where the tower windmill stood previously

Slabbed paths

One of the main features of grandma and grandad’s back garden that I recall was that it had a slabbed path all around its edges. Grandad laid this in September and October 1964, see Chapter 85. Some, if not all, of that path is still in place although some of it is hidden by vegetation.

Slabbed path at the bottom end of the garden at 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023
Grandad and grandma in their rear garden. The photo shows their large lawn, the field at the bottom of the garden and the slabbed path. It also shows some of the large pine trees which they eventually had removed
The four of us riding our bikes in grandma and grandad’s back garden. This photo again shows the large lawn, the slabbed path and the pine trees. Behind Tricia, grandad’s post windmill is just visible
We used to ride our bikes, and various go-karts that grandad made, on the paths around their back garden. This photo shows Caroline Douglas with Alan, me, Liz and Tricia on a wooden trike that grandad made for us. The slabbed path running down the side of the garden is visible. The next garden beyond that I think belongs to Barbara Carpenter at 164 Drayton High Road.
This photo is dated September 1971 and appears to have been taken in grandma and grandad’s back garden. It again features on eof the slabbed paths. It shows me, Tricia and Alan standing with Caroline Douglas and Liz seated

Veranda and Rear Patio Area

At the end of 1964, grandad constructed a veranda over their back door and patio area, see Chapter 85. That is still in place and the rear patio area is largely unchanged from how I remember it.

Veranda and rear patio area of 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023 from behind (above) and from the side (below)
Auntie Dolly (Dorothy Rose) and grandma sitting on the back patio in front of the back door

Grandad’s Cabin

Grandad had a purpose-built cabin to the rear of the house which he used for woodworking and other practical jobs, see Chapter 85. It is smaller than I recall it and has been used largely for storage. Sadly, I don’t think I have any photos of the inside of the cabin from the time grandma and grandad were living there.

Above and below – views of the cabin at 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023

Bird Table

Grandad constructed a number of bird tables during the time he lived in Drayton. In June 1970, he pulled the bird table to pieces, that he had made in June 1968 (see Chapter 94), to put it on a new base. He concreted a drain pipe to fix the bird table in. Grandma painted it. In August 1973, grandad pulled the bird table to pieces as it had rotted badly. He was going to make a new one. He worked on this from August through to October with Arthur Elsegood helping him. When he first put it up, the birds would not go to it because it had been painted.

There is a bird table in place in the garden of 166 Drayton High Road. It differs in shape and design from photos I have. But, it could have been a later design. From the design and weathering, it looks like one of grandad’s constructions!

The bird table in place in the rear garden of 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023. I suspect grandad built this originally


At the time we visited, the windmill that grandad had built, and Patrick Brown had maintained over many years, had been vandalised and had not yet been repaired.

Windmill Currently

Windmill base at 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023
Rear wheel from windmill that grandad made

Windmill in 2021

I took this photo of the front of 166 Drayton High Road in December 2021. It shows the windmill when it was still in functional condition

Three Windmills

Grandad made three different types of windmill – tower, post and smock.

Tower Mill

Grandad’s first windmill was of tower type. He built this between October 1966 and January 1967. Initially, this stood in the back garden but he moved it to the front when he made the second windmill.

This photo shows grandad’s first windmill, the tower mill, circa March 1967. It features the four of us. It is also possible to see the field at the back of the garden, one of the slabbed paths and a bench on the crazy paving.
Photo showing the tower mill in place in the back garden. I think this is taken on Easter Sunday 1967. People in the photo are mum, dad, Alan, Liz, grandma, Auntie Dolly, Tricia, Auntie Renie, Uncle Jim and me. I love the way people are positioned to showcase the windmill!
The four of us playing on play equipment that grandad had made. This was in grandma and grandad’s back garden. One of the slabbed paths is visible as is grandad’s tower windmill

Post Mill

Grandad made the post mill between November 1967 and March 1968. He laid a concrete base for this in the back garden.

Post mill on the crazy paving area in the back garden. I am not sure if this is the original crazy paving area or something grandad specifically built for this windmill
Liz and Alan with the post mill in the back garden
Amy and grandma (back row), Tom and grandad (seated) and me, Liz, Caroline Douglas and Alan (kneeling or sitting on the floor).  I believe this photo was taken on Sunday 19 August 1973 which was the day Amy and Tom arrived at grandma and grandad’s the last time they both stayed with them together. Tom does not look particularly well. Grandad noted that day that mum, Alan, Liz and I had come for tea. It seems Tricia did not come which fits with her not being in the picture but grandad did not say why she had not come

Smock Mill

Finally, grandad started his third windmill, a smock mill, in August 1970. He completed it, after a winter break, in March 1971. He put the smock mill at the front and moved the tower mill to the back.

Later smock mill in grandma and grandad’s front garden. From the shape of it, I think this is the windmill that is still in existence

Front of the House

The front of the house is largely as I remember it.

Front of 166 Drayton High Road looking towards 168 in May 2023
Front of bungalow in the sixties showing dad, me, Uncle Tom, Tricia, Auntie Amy, Alan, Auntie Bertha and grandma

Living Room

The living room is also pretty much as I remember it although the orientation of furniture is different.

Living Room at 166 Drayton High Road in May 2023
Grandad and Tom Wilson in grandma and grandad’s lounge. Through the window, it is possible to see the front garden, Drayton High Road and the playing fields opposite

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