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:                                

Dear Noel,

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 (1).

Another photo shows me on the station with pet dog Nettle, ready for the sands at Great Yarmouth (2).

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 (3).

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 (4). It was a struggle playing on the stubble.

I attach photos of Hannah as a young woman, c.1925 (5) and older at Rollesby Road, 1952 (6) also Herbert standing (7) and horse-mounted at work near Martham, c.1925 (8). 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 (9) and Sutfield House, Martham (10), 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 future. 

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.

Best Regards,                                                            

John E. Wilson

Cousin Pauline and Mum

(Above: Mum and Cousin Pauline, Martham Station)

(Right: John Wilson with Nettle at Martham Station)

Dog at

(Left: family portrait)

(Above: Cricket in Martham)

(Left: Hannah in 1925 and (above) in 1952)


(Left: Herbert, and (above) mounted, 1925)

(Below left: Home Farm, Somerleyton, with
James and Phoebe Hewitt)

(Below right: Sutfield House, Martham, 1924)

                      Farm, Somerleyton
                      House, Martham

[Return to home page]cog