Near Norwich the
Norfolk Broads & Coast
by Trudie Wilkinson - 30th May 1998
One lady (Mrs. H. Dewing) remembers her father talking about the house as a .
1900. The house was let to Thomas Gaff a tea dealer. Thomas bought tea wholesale and he and his wife weighed and packed the tea, and Thomas had a delivery round in Cawston and surrounding villages. A tricycle made the delivery, with a capacious delivery basket attached-a tradesmans tricycle.
Mrs. Gaff was severely burnt and scarred by a fire, started when her long hair caught in a candle flame.
1901. The population was 986 in Cawston.
1912. The adjoining property changed hands, and an agricultural engineer always had something to repair in his yard, the
new owner turned the shop into a public reading room, which was for the men of the parish. The cellar was used as a billiard room, and was directly underneath the shop.
1920. The Gaff's moved into a cottage in the High Street, and John Gaskins and his wife May and family moved into the house. The Gaskins family was large, eleven children, had returned from World War 1 and had been trained as a harness maker. The shop was let to him as a harness dealer shop, he carried on this trade into the 1930's. He would be doing the harness and canvas for the binders; everything had to be ready, as harvest was a big thing in those days.
1931-1932. Electricity was installed, 4 lights and one plug, all downstairs. In 1932 the shop was divided into two, the other half was used by John Gaskins son , as a hairdressers. When this trade ceased during World War 11, it then became a sweet shop, which was run by John Gaskins sister Rose.
The large room above the garage used to be a clubroom with stairs leading up through the garage; (they are no longer there). This room was made into a small living area for Herbert Gaskins and his new wife.
1960. The Gaskins tenancy ceased as May died in 1956 and John died in 1959. 1961. The house was sold to Mr. & Mrs. Latham. The owner, (), had never let the room above the shop. Mr. Latham bought and sold cars and still does so in the High Street. My brother-in-law Michael Smith remembers coming to the house to buy his first car from Mr. Latham in 1961-62. He said there were no garage doors, just an arch, which went right through into the back garden.
In August 1963 Mr. William Hutton, his wife Daisy and their children David, Ray and Lorna moved into the house from Hastings. William (Bill) was a builder and Daisy worked at the egg packing station further down Chapel Street.
It was during time of the Hutton's living in the house that some changes took place. The stairs from the garage to the ex club room were removed, a bay window was put in a back ground floor room, along with wood panelling, brick arches and a shelf removed from the pantry where the dairy was, and the shop renovated with the intention of making it into a "Granny Annexe", which was never finished.
A yorkstone fireplace, the width of the living room was put in. At the top of the stairs there is a room, and you had to go through that room to get to the next. Bill took a section off both rooms and made a corridor from the stairs to the 2 rooms over the garage for more privacy.
During 1978 Daisy left Bill to be a live-in housekeeper at Sprowston. Bill let the house and garden deteriorate.
1986. Bill died, and a mammoth clear up had to be done. Daisy was a friend of ours (now deceased) and knew we were interested in purchasing the house. So, in 1986 Mr. & Mrs. Paul Wilkinson and sons Simon aged 4-3/4 years and Mark aged 18 months bought Forge House". What a challenge we had!
There were only one cold water tap and an outside un-flushable toilet, there were 3 open fires, but none, which would heat the water.
We applied for a grant, which was a long drawn out business, until we got the grant we couldn't start any of the essential work. After the electrical work, being put on mains water and sewer, damp coursing and timber treatment had been done, we moved in on the 21st December 1986.
In February 1987 it snowed and there were drifts so no one could get in or out of Cawston. It was so cold in our house at this time that we all slept in the main bedroom for warmth. After that central heating became a priority with a young family. In March the shop front was removed, as it was in bad repair, and 2 windows and a door took its place. The house was now secure, except for the pigeons getting into the loft. The roof was the next job.
As Paul (my husband) is an Artexer, cove and cornice specialist, he soon put the ceiling right and did a lot of DIY around the house. The garden became my job, what a task
In May 1990, major work began, a fireplace was blocked up and a bay window removed, in the back ground floor room, ready to change this room into a kitchen. Back hall made a bit smaller, incorporating a toilet area. Previously you came in the front door and had to walk through the living room to get to the back of the house, we didn't want this, so blocked up one door and put an arch through into the old ‘shop'.
Since then we've taken out 2 Yorkstone fireplaces and replaced them with a woodbumer and a Victorian fireplace. After a lot of hard work and money, we now feel the house is, as we want it.
Simon and Mark are now 16 and 13 years old, and play a big part in how the garden is laid out. A large paved area at the end of the garden for basketball, and lawn (and bare Patches) for football.
As you can see, there have been a lot of changes at ''Forge House" along with the occupants.
Bibiography Re: Forge House
Dewing Mrs. H.
Directory of Norfolk and Suffolk 1881.
Easton Mr. D. (Parish Magazine, January 1995).
Hawes Mrs. L.
Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk 1904. Kelly's Directory of Norfolk 1896.
Purdy Mr. & Mrs. I.
Smith Mr. M.
Soanes Mr. P.
Wilkins Mr. & Mrs. J.
This building was built in 1843, and had a thatched roof. In in a tremendous fire, it was re-built in 1880 on most of the original footings, with a tiled roof this time, as a public house, "The Prince of Wales Inn".
1881. The in Cawston was at this time 1,093. Major Dunn, his wife and 3 children, ran the Inn (1869-1883). Also at this time they had 4 lodgers: - Thomas Neale a coalporter at the Great Eastern , which ran through Cawston. George Hipkins, Thomas Wright and Elijah Fox.
In 1891 the population of Cawston dropped to 1,068, and the Inn ceased, but a large room in the middle of the building was used as a wine shop. At this time Joseph Carpenter from Wymondham and his wife Elizabeth were here as general shopkeepers and vicualler. They had 3 children and a lodger, William Southgate.