The changing face of Norwich Riverside

Following on from the previous post about the Horning water pump and Boulton & Paul, I thought that I’d add another couple of photographs from the John Chesney collection which show views of the Port of Norwich c1979.

Reads Mill, King Street Norwich

Reads Mill, King Street Norwich – John Chesney 1979

The first photograph on the right shows a scene which looks dramatically different today! On the left, where the cargo ship is moored, was Boulton & Paul’s engineering works – as previously mentioned, this area is now the Riverside Retail Park. On the right you can see the buildings of R.J. Reads flour mills – Carrow Road Bridge is just out of site in the background, obscured by the coaster. The company had moved to the old Albion Yarn Mills site in King Street the early 1930s. The business closed in 1993 and the buildings spent the next 10 years or so becoming ever more derelict until it was finally sold, and work began on redeveloping the site in 2005. The complex of apartments, which were built by the PJ Livesy Group, can be seen in the background of the photograph of Carrow Bridge in the Norwich section of the Then & Now pages of the Broadland Memories website. The Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration website which I mentioned in the previous post also has an interesting potted history of R.J. Reads which can be found here.

Norwich Riverside c1979 – John Chesney

The second photograph shows the view looking upstream from a similar location – it is actually taken from roughly the point where the Novi Sad footbridge now crosses the river. Once again, Boulton & Paul’s works were on the right and a sign for the Ferry Boat Inn is seen just beyond the coaster on the left. The land on the right is now occupied by the Wherry Road development of modern apartments. My thanks, once again, to Joyce Chesney for allowing me to publish some of John’s photographs on here. These are just two of several fascinating images of Norwich Riverside taken by John during the mid to late 1970s which show various aspects of the city’s industrial heritage, most of which has sadly been lost to property developers over more recent years. We used to drive into Norwich via King Street regularly during the 1990s and I always saw a kind of perverse beauty in the decaying Victorian industrial architecture which lined the route. Whilst there is an obvious necessity for new housing in the city, I do feel rather sad that so much of the old was swept away or has been completely overshadowed by the modern developments.

Coincidentally, whilst sorting these photos out to post on here I discovered that Steve Silk, who published a book on the Wherryman’s Way last year, is now planning to write a new book on Norwich Riverside and is appealing for help with information and old photographs via his new blog.

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