They still pull in
the visitors even though what we have now could be
called an “only pond”.
Facing our largest ever schoolroom
meeting, sprinkled with several local historians of long
standing and some reputation, Peter Dawson confessed to
feeling a little nervous. There was no need.
Even though it was his first effort
at this particular talk Peter kept his audience fully
engaged as he quietly took them through 130 years’ worth
of photographs, maps, Parish Council minutes, newspaper
cuttings and anecdotes.
Did you know that the twin of our
present principal pond was exactly where many of you now
sing carols at Christmas? It was called Cranes Green
Pond. This is it in 1890.
In its heyday Cranes Green was the
larger of the two and came dangerously close to the
surrounding cottages, as did the other to the “road”
near The King’s Arms Inn (as it was once known). Parish
Council meetings in the early 1900s anguished over the
problem. Should we strengthen the sides? How should we
do it? Costing how much, and to be done by
whom? Staggering sums were discussed, even
exceeding £30(!). There was only public subscription to
raise the funds, but eventually it was done.
It was still there in the early 1930s
when at least one sailor-suited small boy is known to
have fallen in and run home to his mother caked in mud.
Sadly, shortly before the Co-op was built in 1936,
Cranes Green pond disappeared, possibly drying-up as
better roads and sewers reduced the run-off that had fed
the pond. Parish Council minutes are strangely silent on
the matter. The pond still makes occasional efforts to
reappear but not enough to interfere with the singing.
And quietly the “other pond” has gone
from strength to strength. Its banks were also
strengthened with concrete which survives to this day,
whilst the recently repainted railings were installed by
a local council in the fifties after two wartime fatal
accidents. It seems that a combination of the
“blackout”, visits to the pub and an apparent shortage
of electric torches led two unfortunate men to lose
their ways, fall into the pond and, sadly, never emerge
But now we have railings, a proper
road with kerbs and excellent lighting, so we, the ducks
and the seagulls are safe to enjoy nature’s tamed
beauty. And of course its not an “only pond”. Martham
still has several, including the cousin pond on the
other end of The Green – generally known as “The Chip
Shop Pond!” I find myself forced to ask: is this the
most elegant name we can manage? Does the main pond have
a name? And what about the others? It’s a pity if the
only one we have chosen to name is one that has gone.