building was built in 1843, and had a thatched roof. In
1877 it was burnt down 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".
population in Cawston was at this time
1,093. The Dunn family, 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
Railway, which ran
through Cawston. George Hipkins, Thomas Wright and Elijah Fox.
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.
(Mrs. H. Dewing) remembers her father talking about the house as a
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
was severely burnt and scarred by a fire, started when her long hair
caught in a candle flame.
population was 986 in Cawston.
adjoining property changed hands, and William Bush
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.
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, John Gaskins 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 Herbert,
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.
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.
Gaskins tenancy ceased as May died in 1956 and John died in 1959. 1961.
The house was sold to Mr.
Mrs. Latham. The
owner, (Mr. W. Bush), 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.
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
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.
1978 Daisy left Bill to be a live-in housekeeper at Sprowston. Bill let
the house and garden deteriorate.
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!
were only one cold water tap and an outside un-flushable toilet, there
were 3 open fires, but none, which would heat the water.
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
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,
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.
(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
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'.
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.
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