View Full Version : Thorn Lane, Norwich

22-09-2007, 9:28 PM

I'm reseaching FREEMAN family in Norwich. I'm especially interested in Thorn Lane as my family spent at least 100 years around there (1830 ish-1930).
I would like to know as much as possible. For example when was it built up, how it changed while they were there and what was it like etc.
If anyone knows anything about the road at all or can point me to somewhere I can find out more, I would be most gratefull.


22-09-2007, 9:52 PM
If you want to see what it looks like now,


type in Thorn Lane Norwich, then switch to aerial view and zoom in. The are a few new looking flats, and a couple of industrial units, and what looks like a shop, and hair dresser.

22-09-2007, 11:09 PM
Thanks for the link. I've just gone and had a look. That is a pretty cool site!
I'm going to have to do some exploring.


23-09-2007, 1:22 PM
The history of this area is a big subject which will take the reading of several books!

Originally Thorn Lane (or St.Michael at Thorn Lane) was called Sandgate - it was still known as this until the end of the 18th century. Thorn Lane is a little to the south of the city centre and runs east off Ber Street. The Parish Church of St.Michael at Thorn stood at the junction of Ber St and Thorn Lane, but was destroyed by bombing in WW2.

A trawl of any census return will help to give you an understanding of the area - the usual mix of trades and occupations, butchers, tailors, carpenters; I would guess that many worked in the brewery and malsters in nearby King Street. Cattle was driven along Ber Street from the large cattle market to the abattoir and the drovers were known for fighting in the pubs along Ber Street. As the 19th century progressed, there would have been the noise, smell and smoke from Thorpe Station - behind King Street.

So, think of the smell of the brewery in the morning, the sounds and smells from cattle being driven after market, the odd fight in pubs, the sound of the railway, people mixing together in close built houses and working in many different jobs.


10-10-2007, 6:12 PM
My Grandfather was born there, he always said they called it 'Blood and Guts street' because of all the fights in and around the local pubs, i am not too sure but i think some of the houses were 3 storey tenement flats, he had quite a few brothers and sisters and they all had to sleep 'top and tail' in bed....one with feet up the bed and the next with the feet down and so on, so you laid next to your brothers (smelly) feet, his family was so hard up he had to wear his sisters 'hand me dress' until he was about 2 yrs old, one of the yards they lived in had the lovely name of Ratcatchers yard.:)

Try this site for old photos....look for Ber St or Thorn Lane


ps Sharon i think i have seen your post on norfolkroots 24 where i have left a reply which maybe of help to you