Norwich the Old City A History of Norwich Page 6

Victorian Norwich

The Victorian age saw the arrival of the railways. The line from Norwich to Gt. Yarmouth was opened in 1844, and the line to London was completed in 1846.
Victoria Station was opened in 1849 and City Station in 1882.

The only road into the city from Thorpe Station at that time was via Rose Lane.
In 1860, Prince of Wales Road was built across what was in medieval times a Franciscan Friary to provide direct access into the city. The present Thorpe Station was built in 1886.

In 1856 J.J. Colman moved from his mustard mill in Stoke Holy Cross to Carrow. Although Colman's will always be associated with mustard, after a few years the factory expanded to produce a variety of products including starch and barley water. Colman's was a remarkable company that was at the forefront in the care for itswork forcee. It had its own kitchen and canteen, sick ward, and fire service. Many of the workers lived in houses owned by the company.

Yet in this enlightened time, there was still a gruesome spectacle that was about to end... In 1867 the last public execution took place between the gatehouses of the Castle. This execution took place early in the morning to discourage crowds. Previous hangings had attracted crowds of up to 30,000. After the hangings, the cattle market became an area of entertainment with musicians and street vendors. And of course, the pubs around the cattle market did a roaring trade.

The decline of the weaving trade continued with the great mills of Yorkshire producing cheaper copies of the cloths made in Norwich. In a vain attempt to restore the trade the Norwich Yarn Company built a mill in 1834 and in 1836 St James Mill was built in Whitefriars but soon had to close. By the end of the century there were noworstedd weavers in Norwich.

Boot and shoe manufacture was on the rise. Howlett & White, Sexton & Everards, and Edwards & Holmes were the most successful, though several smaller firms existed. By the end of the century nearly 8,00 people were employed in the trade.

And engineering was expanding as an industry. Charles Barnard built the world's first wire-netting machine in 1844 (based on the cloth weaving machines) and soon the firm of Barnard, Bishop & Barnard were selling wire netting all over the world. The firm had its own foundry, and also made wrought iron gates and structures.
Boulton and Paul had a large foundry at the junction of King Street and Rose Lane. William Scott started making dynamos in 1883 and soon after Laurence & Scott's were formed.

A.J. Caley was a chemist in London Street. In 1863 he started making mineral water at his shop. he moved to Chapelfield in 1883 and was soon making cocoa and chocolate as well as mineral water. They ended the century by including Christmas crackers in their products.

The end of the century (and the end of Victoria's reign) was marked with the building of a tramway system in Norwich, which entailed new sections of road and the realignment of others.

History Index Georgian Norwich 20th Century

Copyright © Ken Ward 2004
Last Updated: 28 November 2006

Time Line
1845Railway line completed from Norwich to London.
1851Victoria Railway Station opened.
1856Swedish singer Jenny Lind gave concert in St Andrews Hall and donated £354 to start the Jenny Lind Childrens Hospital.
1860Prince of Wales Road built.
1871Population: 80,386.
1879First horse-drawn buses in Norwich.
1880Mousehold Heath given to the people of Norwich by the Church.
1886The present Thorpe Station built replacing earlier station..
1889Maids Head rebuilt with mock tudor front.
1895Spire added to St Peter Mancroft church.