Drew Family Diaries provides details of the Drew and Parkin families by providing notes on diaries kept by Sheila Drew nee Parkin and her father Charles Gordon Parkin
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 in 2021
Grandad made three different types of windmill – tower, post and smock.
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.
Grandad made the post mill between November 1967 and March 1968. He laid a concrete base for this in the back garden.
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.
Front of the House
The front of the house is largely as I remember it.
The living room is also pretty much as I remember it although the orientation of furniture is different.