Brundall Local
              History Group

  Brundall businesses and business people

As a rural village Brundall is probably unique, or at least has been for the past 150 years or so, in that it is a few miles from Norwich, overlooks the river, and has two railway stations.  These factors have definitely shaped the life of the village.  Even in the 20th century you would not have called it a farming community, which is what you would expect from somewhere situated in rural Norfolk.

Horticulture did however feature, and you can guess what Reads of Cucumber Lane grew! 

As well as greenhouses full of vegetables, Horace Read produced award winning chrysanthemums.

Brundall must have been very fragrant in the last century as there were also fields of roses grown by Henry Morse and Sons. 

Then there was Frederick Holmes Cooper’s popular tourist attraction of Brundall Gardens, which is incidentally the reason for the second railway station.  So common occupations for the men of the village were gardener, or railway worker, or of course many worked at the boatyards, particularly Brooms.

A growing village.... growing plants

Read family
                                  c 1890

The Read family probably at a family wedding.  Henry Read is in the centre with the beard.
Morse Bros

Ernest Henry, William Arthur and Frederick Morse

Greenhouses in Cucumber Lane
Workmen outside the greenhouses in Cucumber Lane                                                                                       
                                    rosefield in Highfield Avenue

Morse's rosefield in Highfield Avenue.  The bungalow was lived in by Ron and June Graver who worked for Morse's at the time

June Graver with
                              floral display

June Graver with one of her floral tributes.

June and her husband Ron ran a business called Blossom Hill Nurseries in Highfield Avenue. June had been an employee of Morse's, but in the mid 1960s, shortly before the Morse land was sold for redevelopment, she and Ron started their own business. Apart from the land surrounding their bungalow, they purchased land from Morse's and also rented areas on Strumpshaw Road from the ffiske family and a plot near the railway owned by Mr Bell of Bell Boats.

Cars, pubs and shops ...

These were the early days of the motor car and Manor Garage was there for those lucky enough to own one.  Later on there was the Ford Garage at the other end of the village but this closed in 2015.  We also had three pubs, The Yare, The Ram, and The White Horse which was demolished in 2001.  We have been well served too over the years with shops.  The supermarket was originally opened by Ken and Barbara Taylor in 1956 to replace Elsie Butcher’s little shop which was previously the blacksmiths.  The family butchers, Longs, made way for a Chinese Takeaway but we still have a chemist and of course the inevitable estate agents and hairdressers and a charity shop run by volunteers.  Naylor’s second-hand and hardware shop is remembered affectionately as an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ and no less popular is our well stocked Brundall HomeHardware of today.

                                        at the Manor Garage

Pumps at the Manor Garage
  Weather vane at Manor Garage
Weather vane at Manor Garage

                                      Merrison - Post Office

C.A. Merrison's Grocer's shop and Post Office
                                      Taylor - Mace Market

Elsie Butcher's little shop in 1932 which
eventually became the Mace Market

                                      Market & Just Fancys

Mace Market & Just Fancys date unknown.  Ken
and Barbara Taylor owned this shop and they were
well known for their cooked meats and choice of

                                      the butchers

Longs the butchers, now a Chinese takeaway

                                      pharmacy now 'Well'
The Co-op Pharmacy now taken over by 'Well'
                                      Shop, Links Avenue
The Freezer Shop which is now Brundall

City folk who moved to Brundall

In the early 1900s Brundall became a popular place to live for people who had businesses in Norwich.  Henry ffiske of Boulton & Paul lived in Brundall House and then Holm Close, Frederick Page (printer) lived in Braydeston House and then Braydescroft, Ernest Parker (Norvic Shoe Company) lived in St Ninians, Richard Harmer (clothing manufacturer) lived in ‘Jesmond’, Arnold Sandys-Winsch (City’s Parks Superintendent) lived in ‘Marsh Acre’, George Beard (organ builder) lived at ‘Illawarra’, Albert Stone (civil and military bespoke tailor) bought Braydeston House, and Rev Charles Chamberlin’s family owned the department store of that name. 

Back of
                                      Brundall House facing south

This is the back of Brundall House facing south which

Henry ffiske of Boulton & Paul lived until he lent it
to the Red Cross for them to use as an Auxiliary
Hospital during the First World War.

Back of
                                      Braydeston House in 2013

Braydeston House wasn't quite like this when Fred Page,
lived here.  It was extensively altered by Ann Knox
who has lived here for over 40 years.

Witton Rectory

Witton Rectory wasn't actually in Brundall but was
used when the Rector looked after both villages.
Rev Chamberlin and his family lived here between
1898 and 1940 when he retired to Devon
Jesmond house

Richard Harmer, company director of Harmer's hosiery
manufacturers, bought 'Jesmond' in 1947.  His family
founded the company in 1825.  They used two of the first
sewing machines to reach England.

Mr & Mrs Broom 1900

Charles and Elizabeth Broom
c. 1900

C.J. Broom & Sons Ltd

The early boating catalogues of the family business of C.J.Broom & Sons declared 'Broom's Boats are Best', next to the firm's iconic star-and-crescent pennant.  This has been no idle claim, and for over 100 years in Brundall, Broom's have been building boats ranging from traditional broads yachts to the ocean-going power-boats of today.  Broom's boatyard is situated at the bottom of Station Road over the railway crossing.  The extensive premises stretch beyond the length of the railway platform and are bounded by the Riverside Estate road on one side and upriver by the Riverside Chandlery and Bell Boats.

During World War 2 Broom was awarded contracts by the Admiralty for the construction of all manner of auxiliary craft.  More than 60 men worked seven days a week building in the region of 500 boats.

When the war ended, Broom was able to get back to normal business.  It was sold in 2010 and Martin Broom and his wife Jennifer, the third generation of the family to run Broom's in its 112 year history, retired from the business.  Martin died in 2013 at the age of 79. 

See Bruindall people for more information about Martin Broom.


At the launching of 'Tertia' Y691 built in 1959
From left: Martin Broom; Mr & Mrs Skinner (boat owners);
Rachel & Geoffrey (Barney junior's children);
Barney (senior); Basil; Barney (junior)

                                      service launch WW2

Harbour Service Launch
built for the Royal Navy during
World War 2


'Katinka' launched on 28th June 1961

Broom 41

Broom 41, first built in 1992

White Heron on Oulton Broad

'White Heron' on Oulton Broad
Owned by the family for 50 years

Visit to Brooms by BLHG

Visit paid by Brundall Local History Group in
  May 2010.  We were taken round the boatyard
and saw all the departments.  Mrs Broom is
in the middle of the picture with the dog.  Martin
Broom retired a few weeks later.

Find out more about...

Listed buildings

Brundall pubs past and present

Interesting houses

Brundall people

Brundall's businesses

About the school

A history of health in Brundall