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
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
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
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 alive.
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.