The brand names below
are well known in Dereham's history - How are they connected
to ECKLING GRANGE, see below.
CHARLES NORTON ELVIN
ECKLING GRANGE was built sometime about 1871 by
Charles Norton Elvin a Coach Builder and Heraldic, although
early electoral rolls only record an address of Freehold-land,
Norwich Road. Charles was born on December 7th 1820 at
Russell House, Commercial Road, and baptised on the 31st day of
the same month at St Nicholas Church, he was the son of James
Elvin a coach-maker and Susanna Norton. His father,
James, who was born in 1796, at Great Moulton, near Long
Stratton, Norfolk and had come to Dereham in the early 1800's.
On Sunday July 9th 1820, he married 18-year old Susanna Norton,
the daughter of Robert Norton and Susanna Mortimer.
It is said James started his business about 1817 doing
repair and hire work progressing to building new broughams, landaus,
gigs and wagonettes. He bought a property on Norwich Road, Dereham,
now The Memorial Hall, where he soon established
a name for building quality coaches. His workforce at times was
said to have been over 50 workers. As his repetition grew he was
soon commissioned by the wealthy and the nobility throughout Britain
and Europe, one of his clients was the Czar of Russia. It was
fashionable in those times for families to have their own coat
of arms painted on the carriage doors. Each was recorded by Charles
who after being educated a Gresham's School in Holt went on to
Cambridge and studied the subject of Heraldry, becoming recognised
as an expert in the field and publishing several books. Susanna
Elvin died in 1860, aged 57 and James remarried on
September 19th 1861 to Maria Moore a 43-year old spinster
and daughter of William Moore the founder of Norfolk Nurseries
on Norwich Road which was later taken over by Hobbies of Dereham.
When James died in 1880, Charles inherited the business
and in turn following Charles's death in 1894 it went to
his son Thomas Willoughby Norton Elvin. However trade was
now changing with the coming of the motorcar and orders stopped
coming in which ultimately lead to the closing of the business.
Charles Norton Elvin a bachelor married
Anna Stebbings a spinster in the September quarter of 1850.
Anna was the daughter of Thomas Stebbings a Farmer
of Woodrising and Esther Hogg. Charles and Anna
had five children, Maria Louisa Elvin born in 1851, Helena
Augusta Elvin, was born in 1853, Charles Robert Stebbing
Elvin, born 1854, Thomas Willoughby Norton Elvin, born
1856 and James Aubery D’Vere Elvin, was born in 1864.
All children were born and baptised at Swaffham except for James
who was born at East Dereham. In the 1851 census Charles
was living at White Hart Lane, Swaffham and recorded as a Master
Coach Builder, employing 14 men and boys. From the electoral roll
his premises was off London Road. This could indelicate Charles's
business, at this time was separate to his father's as there is
some 12 miles between the towns. However, by 1861 the family had
moved to Elvin Terrace, Dereham although Charles still
retained the premises at Swaffham until 1890. In the 1869 electoral
roll Charles's address was Freehold Land on Norwich Road,
East Dereham, the 1871 census gave an address as New Road Dereham,
but by 1881 the name ECKLING GRANGE appeared. From all accounts
Charles was a much loved man in Dereham. He was a philanthropist
and was known as ‘the poor man’s friend.
1886: - an announcement appeared
in the news-papers that Mr Charles Norton Elvin proposed
to publish by subscription a Dictionary of Heraldry, with upwards
of 2,000 illustrations.
1894: November 13th - Charles
died suddenly at the age of 74.
1894: Nov 17 - Norfolk News
- Death of Mr C N Elvin of East Dereham - We regret to record
the death of Mr Charles Norton Elvin M.A. a gentleman who has
been a resident of East Dereham nearly all his lifetime, who passed
away somewhat suddenly at his residence, Eckling Grange on Tuesday
night, having attained the age of 74 years. The deceased gentleman
had been in failing health for some time, but it was not until
recently that his condition excited any anxiety among his friends,
and he was allowed by his medical advisor to drive about, and
as late as Tuesday was about the town. Mr Elvin for many years
conducted an extensive business in the town as a carriage-builder.
A few years ago the business was transferred to his son Mr T W
Evlin, who still carries on the same, and although Mr Elvin may
be said to have lived a comparatively retired life of late years
he took a keen interest in local matters, and was always ready
to assist with both council and help. At the time of his decease
he was representative of the town on the Norfolk County Council
and was also chairman of the School Board, having been a member
thereof since its formation, and was unsparing in his exertions
to promote the educational advancement of children. He was also
a member of the Local Board and Burial Board, and up to last Easter
was parish churchwarden, at which time he sent in his resignation,
after holding that office for seventeen years. His literary works
are well known, and he was considered one of the beast authorities
on "Heraldry" upon which subject he had compiled a book.
He was engaged upon another work at the time of his death.
1895: Nov 27 - Norwich Mercury
- East Dereham, House TO-LET - ECKLING GRANGE a good house, about
a Mile from East Dereham Railway Station, containing 3 reception
rooms, 6 bedrooms, 2 Dressing rooms and a Servant Bedroom, also
Conservatories; and if required about 6 Acres of land and double
Cottage. Rent for whole £55, or without Cottages, £45.
Apply Messrs, Barton and Vores, Solicitors, East Dereham.
1896: April 18 - Norwich Mercury
- The Elvin Sale at Dereham - In a two day's sale brought to the
hammer, without reserve, by order of the trustees of the late
Charles Norton Elvin, the furniture, library, and pictures, removed
from Eckling Grange to the residence taken up by his widow (recently
deceased), adjoining Quebec and Elvin Roads, East Dereham. A sale
of some of the late Mr C N Elvins effects lately took place at
Eckling Grange, and it was evident at this week's sale that the
more valuable section of his library, &c, and his silver had
been privately dispersed. The sale on Tuesday comprised antique
and modern household furniture, oil paintings, Franceschino drawings,
old china, silver and 700 volumes of books. The auction attracted
a large number of buyers, many coming down from Norwich and London.
Amongst local buyers were Jarrold and Sons and many other names.
The household effects made indifferent prices, a mahogany inlaid
eight day grandfather's clock, with brass and slivered dial, was
sold for £5 to Mr R Baldry; a marqueterie 14-day timepiece,
by Markwick, London, to My Hudson, of Dereham, for £10;
and an antique inlaid cabinet with brass furniture, to Mt Mace,
for £6. The furniture and effects raised about £350.
On Wednesday a well preserved edition of Scott's works in seven
volumes was knocked down to 26s. Farrer's "Church Heraldry
of Norfolk" in three vols, 30s; followed by a list of other
books raising only small sums - Amongst the pictures was a 16
x 12 pastel by Reubens, a lot for which it was stated a Londoner
had come down prepared to bid a hundred guineas. The picture which
was in good condition was a representation of the "Virgin
and Child with St Elizabeth" only realised £1 15s.
A W Crome entitled " Roadside with Cottage" fell to
Mr Boswell for £8 10s, as also did two landscape scenes
by unknown painters, for £3 5s. The library and pictures
raise about £250.
1896: Jul 18 - Norwich Mercury
- In Norwich Road - All that Pleasantly-situated, Substantially-built,
and Well-arranged, FAMILY RESIDENCE, known as "Eckling Grange"
with Two Cottages and large Orchard, the whole containing 6a.
2r. 33p. or thereabouts, with possession at Michaelmas next which
T H Warren is favoured with instructions to SELL by AUCTION, at
the Kings Arms Hotel, East Dereham, on Wednesday 22nd of July
1896 st Three for Four o'clock in the Afternoon, in Nine Lots.
JOHN HENRY SKINNER
ECKLING GRANGE was purchased next by John
Henry Skinner the founder of Hobbies Ltd of East
Dereham. Their name was known worldwide through their products
which they advertised in a magazine which printed their selves,
first simply Hobbies but later became Hobbies Weekly, selling
for a penny which also included a free fretwork design. John
Henry's first company 'J H Skinner' was formed in the early
1880s, making wooden box cameras similar to the Brownie box camera,
he was also selling imported American fretwork machines and German-made
fretwork blades. His factory's were based locally in the town,
one in Church Street and the other on the site opposite the old
Dereham Railway Station now occupied Morrison's supermarket and
garage. He was one of the towns largest employers.
John Henry Skinner was born on June 29th
1860 at Wisbech, on the boarder of Norfolk Cambridgeshire the
son of John Young Skinner a Printer/Stationer and for a
time a Clothier/Outfitter and Frances Simpson Harris. His
mother died when he was only 6 years old on a trip to Liverpool.
For whatever reason John was sent to live with his father's sister
Emma who had married William Stebbings a wealthy
Timber Merchant of Norwich Road, East Dereham. He also had business
premises in Dereham Station Yard, plus owning considerable properties
elsewhere which included premises at South Gate Wharf, Kings Lynn.
On leaving school John Henry became a clerk to his uncle,
but he also had a keen interest in the manufacture of plywood
by hand and the hobby of fret-working. He recognised the potential
of plywood for this application, meaning thin, but strong sheets
could be produced, often veneered with exotic timbers. This was
the birth of would become a world-wide major industry based in
the small market town of East Dereham. John Henry was soon
importing fretwork machines from Germany and America, for at this
time nothing was available in Britain. At the age of 27 John
Henry had formed a company called 'John Henry Skinner &
Co'. As it's business address was the same previously used by
his uncle it is assumed John Henry had taken over his timber
business. John Henry's other interest was photography and
like fret-working he saw the potential of turning his interest
into making money and started to make plywood camera bodies. On
May 14th 1889 John Henry made a patent application retaining
to a rapid focusing device for camera bodies. By 1889 it is said
his company had a workforce of over 100 workmen. The camera manufacturing
factory was situated in Church Street where the old Inland Revenue
build was. Throughout 1889 and 1890 John Henry advertised
his Eclipse camera at 3/6d.
John Henry's younger brother Frank also had an
interest in the business, he was recorded working as a Journalist
in 1891, although started his career as a Draper's Assistant at
Newton Abbot, Devon. He also shared an interest in photography.
Up to 1895 John Henry had been advertising his business and items
for sale in other magazines but by October 19th of that year the
very first edition of 'Hobbies' magazine for amateurs of both
sexes was launched. Maybe it was no coincidence that round this
time we find Frank and their father (John Young Skinner a retired
printer) living at Dereham, maybe it was a collective pool of
knowledge that saw the potential of such a venture, although it
is thought it was the brainchild of Frank. There are a few romantic
stories of this creation, however the Hobbies magazine, which
included a free fretwork design proved to be a great success reaching
out, far and wide throughout the country and by 1898 had a circulation
of 50,000 to homes not only in Britain but worldwide. They even
expanded with several retail outlets through the country --- There
is a wonderful book by Terry Davey called 'The Hobbies Story'
which is a 'Must Read' for those interested in Dereham's history.
On June 14th 1883 John Henry Skinner married
Elizabeth Isaac at the Baptist Tabernacle at Great Yarmouth.
Elizabeth was born in Dec quarter of 1861 at Great Yarmouth,
the daughter of John Joseph Isaac a wealthy Carpenter,
Builder and Timber Merchant and Margaret Day of Market
Road Great Yarmouth. He also had timber mills at Middle Market
Street and South Denes Road, Great Yarmouth. John Henry
and Elizabeth (Bessy) had six children, John William
born 1887, Conrad Arthur 1889, Adelaide Frances
1891, Reginald Stebbings 1892, Dorothy Margaret
1893 and Cyril Frank 1897.
In 1903 John Henry Skinner decided to part
company with Hobbies to emigrate to Durban, South Africa, to start
a veneer and plywood manufacturing business. Frank Skinner (brother)
took over as Managing Director of Hobbies, however for whatever
reason Frank left in about 1907 together with a least two other
former employees taking the Hobbies mailing list and designs with
him and set a rival business called 'Handicrafts'. Over the years
a least two court cases are recorded between Hobbies and Handicrafts.
The judge described as their actions as robbery of trade secrets,
Hobbies won the day and was awarded damages of £1,500 plus
costs. This was not a slap on the wrist - today's equivalent would
be at least £86,000. The judge also stated that it was lucky
for Frank Skinner that the criminal law hadn't yet been extended
to such cases.
On the November 4th 1903 an advert was found in
the Norwich Mercury for a Good Plain Cook and Housemaid, together
preferred, Apply giving particulars and wages to Skinner, Eckling
Grange, Dereham - This is a little confusing as the family were
to soon immigrate!!!
|1903: Nov 14 - Norwich
ECKLING GRANGE EAST DEREHAM
SALE OF VALUABLE AND ORIENTAL AND
MODERN HOUDEHOLD FURNITURE
Including the contents of Drawing, Dining, and Breakfast
Rooms, Hall and Study Furniture, Bear, Russian Wolf, and
other Skin Rugs, Appointments of Seven Bedrooms, a very
useful Bay Broughton Horse, a Promising Brown Hackney
Filly, rising 3 years. Two Donkeys, a fine Pedigree St
Bernard Dog, Carriages included: A Light Running Single-horse
Chirurgeon Brougham (nearly new), an American Surry with
rubber tyres and collapsible hood, high running Dog Cart,
Donkey Tumbril, Feur Ladies' and Gents' Bicycles; Harness;
a Choice Assortment of POT PANTS, FLOWER VASES, and other
THOMAS CRANMER is favored with instructions from Mr JOHN
HENRY SKINNER who is leaving for South Africa, to sell
On TUESDAY and WENESDAY, November 17th and 18th, 1903
ORDER of SALE.
Tuesday, 17th, Horses, Carriages, Plants, and Outdoor
Effects, 300 Lots
Wednesday, November 18th , Household Furniture and indoor
Effects, 550 Lots.
On Boxing Day 1903 the family embarked
on board the "Briton" and sailed for South Africa where
a new successful firm was set up, Plywood (South Africa Ltd).
This would be his home for almost the next 30 years but in 1932
John Henry Sinner and his wife Elizabeth retired and returned
to England on only to set up another firm 'Skinner and Thomas
& Co' based in London, his son Reginald Stebbings Skinner
was an assistant managing director. On Christmas Eve 1948 John
Henry Skinner died in his 89th year. He was visiting his son in
South Africa and it is said that in failing light he opened a
door which led to a cellar and fell down the steps and died of
John Henry was still on the Electoral Roll
until 1904 but in the 1911 census there appears to be no occupant,
Charles Buscall, age 48, who was living in Eckling Grange cottage,
was recorded as Caretaker and Gardener. The other cottage was
occupied by George Thomas Jarrett, age 37, Nursery and Gardener
Was it possible that during this
period ECKLING GRANGE had remained the property of the Sinner
family or somehow was under the Hobbies care for it seems quite
a coincidence that the next occupants had an affiliation with
CARLES PLUMPTON WILSON
1922: Electoral Roll - Charles
Plumpton Wilson was living at ECKLING GRANGE - he remain occupant
until his death in 1938 - he was the nephew of Eldred Winteringham
Wilson who was living at Quebec Hall - More HERE.
Charles Plumpton Wilson was born on May
12th 1859 at Freebridge Lynn, the son of Rev Plumpton Sravenson
Wilson, curate of Ringstead and later of West Pinchbeck Parsonage,
Spalding, Lincolnshire and Elizabeth Walker. They had married
in the June quarter of 1858 at Kings Lynn - Charles was
educated at Uppingham School and Marlborough College where he
was a member of the cricket eleven in 1876 and 1877 and of the
football team in 1876. He went up to Trinity College, Cambridge,
where he proved an outstanding all-round sportsman. He represented
the University in the twenty-five-mile bicycle race against Oxford
in 1879, won his "blue" at rugby football in each of
the years from 1877 to 1880, and at cricket in 1880 and 1881.
On graduating, he became an assistant master at Elstree School,
Hertfordshire from 1881 to 1898, and from 1898 he was headmaster
of Sandroyd School,Cobham, Surrey -
Rugby Union: Wilson came to
note as a rugby player when he was selected for the Cambridge
University team whilst studying at Trinity. He won four sporting
Blues in rugby, playing in The Varsity Match from 1877 to 1880,
and was made team captain in the 1880 encounter. He made his solitary
international appearance for England in their first match against
Wales played on 19 February 1881 at Richardson's Field in Blackheath.
England recorded their largest victory, defeating the Welsh 30–0
and scoring 13 tries in the process. -
Cricket: He represented Cambridge
University ten times in 1880 and 1881. With the bat he only scored
157 runs in the two seasons at an average of 14.27. He was more
successful as a right-arm medium pace bowler, taking 22 wickets
at an average of 19.95. His best performance came against Surrey
in June 1881, when he claimed 5 wickets for 34 runs in Surrey's
second innings, as the university won by 9 wickets. He played
minor counties cricket for Lincolnshire in 1880 and for Norfolk
from 1881 to 1884.
Football: While teaching at Elstree he joined
Hendon Football Club and took part in their FA Cup matches, including
that in the 1883–84 First Round on 10 November 1883 when
they defeated the previous season's FA Cup finalists Old Etonians
3–2. He also played once for the Corinthian amateur side
in a 3–1 victory over Cambridge University on 21 November
This brought him to the attention of the England
selectors, who picked him for the inaugural season Home International
Championship match against Scotland on 15 March 1884. In a close
match at Cathkin Park, the Scots won 1–0. Despite the defeat,
Wilson retained his place for the next match against Wales on
17 March, which England won comfortably 4–0, including two
goals from William Bromley-Davenport. - He was thus one of only
three players to represent England at both Association football
and Rugby football, the others being Reginald Birkett and John
Headmaster of Sandroyd School:
Sandroyd School was founded by the Revd. L. H. Wellesley Wesley,
at his home, Sandroyd House in Cobham in Surrey (now the home
of Reed's School) in 1888, although as the Times Digital Archive
reveals, he had been tutoring boys there ad hoc at least since
1882. Wellesley Wesley was a great-grandson of Charles Wesley.
From 1898 the school owed its further development, and success,
to two able men, until then assistant masters at Elstree School,
Charles Plumpton Wilson [1859 - 1938] and William Meysey Hornby
[1870 - 1955] who took over from Wesley that year, as Headmaster
and Deputy Headmaster respectively. Wilson retired in 1920, Hornby
then took his place, until his own retirement in 1931 - Sir Anthony
Eden was just one of the famous names who were pupils
Taken from the internet:
His middle name, Plumpton, was passed down from the de'
Plompton family, knights who dated back to the the time
of the Norman Conquest of England in the 11th century. The clan
held land in an area now called Plompton, in North Yorkshire,
England. By 1168, Nigel de' Plumpton owned land there,
and his successors remained in the area into the 18th century.
By the 19th century, the ancestor Reverend Plumpton Wilson
was the Rector of Mowsley in Leicester, a hundred miles to the
south of his family’s heritage. Reverend Wilson’s
eldest of 14 children was Plumpton Stravinson Wilson,
(Charles's father) a smart and athletic lad who went on to study
at Exeter College, Oxford. He followed in his father’s
footsteps and found his way to the clergy.
Charles's younger brother Geoffrey made
two appearances for the England national football team in 1900.
Charles sister Mary Agnes Wilson a socialist
and suffragette married Arthur Stanley Ramsey (1867 -
1954) - they had children: Frank Plumpton Ramsey (1903
- 1930) and Arthur Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury,
(1904 - 1988) - Mary Agnes was killed in 1927 in a road traffic
accident where she was a passenger in a car driven by her husband
which turned over when Arthur lost attention trying to
adjust his coat whilst driving - Frank Ramsey was only
the second person ever to be elected to a fellowship at King's
College, not having previously studied at King's. In 1925 Frank
married Lettice C Baker and they had two daughters. In
1926 he was appointed as a university lecturer in mathematics
and he later became a Director of Studies in Mathematics at
King's College. Suffering from chronic liver problems, contracted
jaundice after an abdominal operation and died on 19 January
1930 at Guy's Hospital in London at the age of 26.
Arthur Michael Ramsey, Baron Ramsey of Canterbury,
PC (14 November 1904 – 23 April 1988) was an English Anglican
bishop and life peer. He served as the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury.
He was appointed on 31 May 1961 and held the office until 1974,
having previously been the Bishop of Durham and the Archbishop
of York. He was known as a theologian, educator, and advocate
of Christian unity
1938: Mar 9 - Charles Plumpton
Wilson died at Eckling Grange, East Dereham, Norfolk on 9
March 1938, aged 78 - Charles Plumpton Wilson (12 May 1859
– 9 March 1938) was an English amateur footballer who played
at wing-half. He made two appearances for England in 1884. He
was also capped for the England national rugby union team in 1881,
and was one of only three players to be capped for England at
both Association football and Rugby football.
BERNARD ARTHUR SMART
We can only assume Bernard Smart purchased
Eckling Grange after Charles Wilson's death for we know
he was recorded in the 1939 census as living there with his family.
Bernard Arthur Smart married Cicely
E Keens in the Jun quarter of 1924 at Luton
Cicely was born Ella Cicely Keens on April 1st 1901
at Luton, the daughter of Sir Thomas Keens the man whose
efforts to attract new industries to Luton, early in the 1900's
did much to make it a thriving industrail town, and his wife Ella
Sophia S Batchelor. They had married in the Jun quarter of
1896 at Luton.
Bernard and Cicely had three children, Patrica
W Smart, born in the Jun quarter of 1925 at Luton, John
W Smart, born in the September quarter of 1927 at Luton and
Richard W Smart, born 1931 at Dereham.
||Captain Bernard Arthur Smart
moved to East Dereham about 1926-7, In the 1928, 1930 &
1931, Electoral Registers the family was living at High House,
Billingford - Bernard had come to Dereham from Luton to join
his cousin Geoffrey Bowman Jenkins where they formed
a company in 1926 called 'Bowman Models of Dereham' of which
Bernard and Geoffrey were both directors. Geoffrey had previously
been making models at a site in London but had cought the
attention of Hobbies who were impressed with his skill in
making model boats and yachts. He was persuaded in 1922 to
move from his site at Clapham, London to Dereham. From all
accounts it appear Geoffrey did not become an employee of
the company as he was also trading as 'The Woodcrafts Patents
Company' plus at the same time selling his products for Hobbies.
When Bernard joined, steam-powered models were produced.
Bernard Arthur Smart:
Bernard was born on December 24th 1891 at Luton, the son
of Charles Smart a Straw Plait Merchant of 17 Dunstable
Road, Luton and Kate Newham, they had married in
the September quarter of 1889 at Alderbury. Bernard was
working in the parents' company in 1911, producing straw
hats. At the age of 24 years, on July 24, 1916, he qualified
to become a pilot at Royal Naval Air Service. He became
a British pilot in single-minded
airplanes during World War I, which performed some of the
world's first aircraft attacks from aircraft carriers that
were actually rebuilt cruisers with catapults and a small
flying deck - On August 21, 1917, he took off from HMS Yarmouth
in a Sopwith Pup plane and shot down German airship L23
with 16 persons aboard over the North Sea, 40 km from Jutland's
west coast beyond Stadil Fjord
Downing of Airship L23
I could see a man and an object unpleasantly like a machine-gun
on top of the envelope, and I now realised the time had
come. I was now at 7,000 feet and the Zeppelin a thousand
feet below at an angle of 45 degrees and I was still heading
straight for her stern. I pushed forward the control stick
and dived. The speed indicator went with a rush up to
150 m.p.h. ... and rammed down the machine-gun’s
operating lever - and held it there. The gun spat out
and ... the Zeppelin was now a mass of flames and had
dropped so that the nose was pointing to the sky at an
angle of 45 degrees while the flames were fast licking
up towards the nose ... An object was adrift from the
forward end of the Zeppelin which I first took to be some
part of the fabric falling off, but on looking again I
discovered it to be a man descending in a parachute. He
was the only one, and as he floated down, he and I seemed
to be alone in space. I turned until my compass was in
the opposite direction to that when I had been chasing
the Zeppelin and then looked back to have a last glance
at the blaze. The wreck had just reached the sea, only
the very tip of it still being intact -- Bernard A.
Bernard Arthur Smart,
After destroying the airship Bernard A. Smart
was actually unsure of where his support ships were located as
he had been disoriented during the attack. Luckily the smoke from
the airship attracted a British Navy squadron and he was able
to ditch his plane in the water and was rescued by a British destroyer
- On July 19, 1918, he was sent from HMS Furious ca. 15 miles
west of Lyngvig lighthouse as a pilot on a Sopwith Camel plane
and led to the Tønder Bombing Raid of the airship base
in Tønder, where the air ships L 54 and L 60 were burned
in the big Toska hall - Smart was honored 9 weeks after the shooting
of L 23 with the DSO order. On board of HMS Furious in the presence
of Admiral David Beatty, he was presented on July 24, 1918,
to his great surprise for King George V, who decorated him with
an extra bar as he already had the DSO order in advance
1958: Captain Smart had
moved to Quebec Road - ECKLING GRANGE was left empty and placed
on the market for sale.
1969: Cicely Smart died
aged 68 at Dereham in the September.
1979: Bernard Arthur Smart
died in 1979 in East Dereham (Bernard Arthur Smart at East Dereham
– Jun quarter [10 1008] age 88)
2011: Some of his aftermaths
were sold, including His DSO medal, going under the hammer for
£ 63,000 (£ 69,200 in 2017)
More on Geoffrey Bowman Jenkins:
In 1922 Geoffrey Bowman Jenkins came to Dereham and was
renting part of Hobbies factory where he designed and built
a variety of boats, intially selling for Hobbies, but later
Hobbies - Bowman. Geoffrey had also been involved with The Woodcrafts
Patents Company which also made model boats and yachts. In 1934
Jenkins Productions was formed to make dining and occational
furniture (including a spring-powered gramophone). Metamac Ltd
was incorporated on April 6th 1941 and in 1942 the company name
was changed to Jentique Ltd. Plans to make electric clocks was
first considered in 1944. The Metamec trade marks was registered
on January 13th 1947. Metamac was part of Jentique each with
their own identity. At its peak Metamac was producing 25,000
clocks per week making them the largest clock manufacture in
DAVID CHARLES POTTER
1958: About - David Charles
Potter: Purchased ECKLING GRANGE
David Charles Potter
A Vision Fulfilled by
Mrs Bertha Potter née Horne
ECKLING GRANGE was the third and final home David Potter
converted. After bringing two homes into being, seeing and
experiencing their development, we were able to see what
was lacking. If the residents were to remain and enjoy familiar
surroundings and fellowship to the end, something else was
needed. An Outstanding case then developed. A dear missionary
couple who had faithfully served the Lord on the mission
field for fifty three years had to be parted because the
wife needed small daily nursing care. They were living at
Quebec Hall, where at that time there wasn't any nursing
care. Therefore following Doctor's orders Mrs Griffith's
was sent to a non-Christain home in Norwich. This upset
her husband and mine to such an extent that David could
not rest until they were united again and were able to spend
the rest of their time together - a large house on Norwich
Road was empty and up for sale. David and I went to look
round it and as we stood on the side lawn he saw the end
from the beginning of the vision that the Lord had given
him many years back. The house was enlarged with many rooms
added, and the grounds, consisting of an orchard with fruit
of evey kind, were made into a horseshoe of bungalows connected
to the main house in case of need and furnished with a cover
walkway all round to protect residents from the elements
of the weather.
The Lord was good, and with the help of the previous owner,
Mr B A Smart, ECKLING GRANGE was purchased. In due
course it was possible to open Eckling Grange with the day
and night nursing care facilities that would enable residents
to remain in the home, apart from "Doctor's orders".
Prior to this, however, a lot of work had to be done, both
inside and out, workmen were soon plumbing, re-wiring, decorating
|Mr & Mrs Payne together with a
nurse moved in, to initally help with preparations and first
residents. A room had been prepared upstairs overlooking the
side lawn, and all was now set for the return of Mrs Griffiths.
David drove to Norwich to bring her back to Eckling Grange.
She was a dear, frail little lady and as the lift had not
yet been installed, David carried her in his arms up the front
stairway to her room. There the couple spent one happy year
together, having meals in their room and being well looked
after until the Lord called her home.
David's parents were Charles Robert Potter
and Florence Emma Welton, they had married in 1903 at Shelfanger
- Florence, David's mother died in 1920, aged just 35. David started
work on a building-site and it was not long before he had his
own business and men working for him. At the age of 18, in 1932,
David was baptised at the Dereham Baptist Church. By 1938 Potter
Brothers Builders, Dereham was formed. His first building,
the Christian Brethren Gospel Hall, Shipdham Road, Toftwood, was
were he regularly worshiped from then to the time of his death.
Potter Brothers began in a small way but very soon graduated to
public work contacts, and David supervised the building of secondary
schools at Fakenham, Wells, Aylsham, Swaffham and Burnham Market.
He also built police stations in Dereham, Dersingham, Hunstanton
and Downham Market, and the large George Borrow housing estate
of Yaxham Road, Dereham. At one time there were over 200 employees.
In the June quarter of 1939 he married Brenda Roma Saunders
at Dereham, they had two daughters, Margaret and Beryl.
They lived at The Beeches, next to Yaxham railway station. After
a few years Brenda fell ill and on December 24th 1960 she died
age 49. In 1963 he remarried to Bertha Rosalind Horne daughter
of Arthur Edward Horne a builder and undertaker of Mattishall
and his wife Elsie Kate Fisher, at the Methodist Church
in Mattishall. David and Bertha also had two daughters, Rachel
and Leah ---- David closed his business in 1979 and retired,
but was well known for his hobbies, he had particular affection
for wind and steam power, and turned windmills at Saham Toney
and Hindolveston into homes. He also restored a mill at his former
Yaxham Home. He owned several steam vehicles - and during petrol
rationing at the time of the Suez crisis in 1957 he ran a fleet
of them ---- On October 31st 1980 David died suddenly at his home,
25 William Cowper Close, Toftwood, Dereham.
1963: May 25th
Why Eckling Grange - A
personal statement by David Potter.
WHEREAS it has been my privilege during the past five years
to be closely connected with an Eventide Home and another
home (Quebec Hall) for Retired people; it has been very
clearly revealed by experience that it is not desirable,
or practical, to cater for both the able bodied and those
suffering from some disability and in need of assistance,
in the same home, without considerable organization which
would subject the Home to expense, which could not be borne
by residents paying the normal charges.
It would appear that the only possibility of being able
to accommodate those in need of nursing assistance economically
would be to provide a home where sufficient residents could
be taken to enable staff to be acquired to give skilled
attention as and when necessary, and to make such provision
for a sick ward for either sex. In this way the staff could
be fully employed, and residents would not feel they were
being a lot of trouble.
It is because of these reasons and for the fact that elderly
residents have had to be removed from Christian fellowship
at a time when they need it most, that the desire has been
inspired to bring into being (D.V.) a home which will be
able to cater for the convalescent and disabled until they
are removed to the heavenly home. (This, of course, would
not apply where a doctor ordered a removal to hospital for
Eckling Grange with its six acres of tree enclosed grounds
and two cottages in the grounds makes this property admirable
for the creation of an elderly people's home with a difference.
It is proposed to erect fifty-four Chalets in these grounds
in a horse-shoe shape, connected with a covered verandah
from the main building, and giving that privacy of one's
own home but immediately in touch with assistance as necessary.
Each Chalet will contain Bed Sitting Room, Kitchen, Bathroom
and Toilet. Heating will be by electric fire and immersion
heater incorporating safety control devices, and an electric
bell in touch with the nurse on duty.
Major William Frederick Batt
performed the Opening Ceremony
First Staff Line Up
David Potter died in 1980 age 66
1980: Local Dereham Times
Mr David Charles Potter, formerly one of Norfolk's leading
building contractors has died at his home.
200 at the Funeral of Mr. David
Potter - Toftwood Gospel Hall at Dereham was full for the
funeral of Mr. David Charles Potter, formerly one of Norfolk
leading builder contractors. Mourners had to be turned away after
more than 200 filled the hall and neighbouring schoolroom, to
where the service was relayed. Cars lined the main street of Toftwood.
Among those paying tribute to Mr. Potter who died at his
home in William Cowper Close, Toftwood where former employees
of Potter Brothers the building firm he started in 1938 and built
up to employ 200 people at one time. The manager, supervisors,
office staff and workmen attended the service, which was conducted
by Mr. John Smith of Ely.
1980: October 31st, DAVID
CHARLES POTTER, of 25, William Cooper Close, Toftwood, dearly
loved husband of Bertha, loving dad of Margaret, Beryl, Rachel
and Leah, with Christ which is far better (Funeral arrangements
Eastern Daily Press:
Mr. David Charles. Potter,
formerly one of Norfolk's leading building contractors,
has died at his Dereham home. Mr. Potter, of 25, William
Cowper Close, Toftwood, Dereham, came to the town as a boy
and, on leaving school, was an apprentice with builders
He began his own business - Potter Brothers Builders - in
1938 as one of a family of nine. His first building, the
Christian Brethren Gospel Hall, Shipdham Road, Toftwood,
was where he regularly worshipped from then to the time
of his death.
Mr. Potter also built police stations at Dereham, Dersingham,
Hunstanton and Downham Market, and the large George Borrow
housing estate off Yaxham Road, Dereham.
Potter Brothers began in a small way but soon graduated
to public works contracts, and Mr. Potter supervised the
building of secondary schools at Fakenham Wells, Aylsham,
Swaffham and Burnham Market.
At one time there were 200 employees. He
pioneered Christian Eventide Homes in Dereham, purchasing
Quebec Hall in a derelict state and restoring it. It now
houses 20 residents and 50 more in surrounding self-catering
Mr. Potter also bought Eckling Grange, Norwich Road, Dereham,
from the late Capt. B. A. Smart and converted it to house
50 residents. A medical block was later added and 56 bungalows
were built around it for residents wishing to care for themselves.
He also built the South Green Home, now known as Upton House,
Mr. Potter closed his business in 1979 and retired, but
was well-known for his hobbies. He had a particular affection
for wind and steam power, and turned windmills at Saham
Toney and Hindolveston into homes. He also restored a mill
at his former Yaxham home.
He owned steam vehicles -- and during petrol rationing at
the time of the Suez crisis in 1957 he ran a fleet of them.
In addition to his widow, Mr. Potter leaves four daughters.
Eckling Grange, Residential Care Home
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