The Newsagent

Or, the Paper Shop and how it came to be the only shop for many years....

Ernest Beare was the District Newsagent for Mulbarton and villages around. He would cycle to Norwich early in the morning with his 3-wheel cycle-cart to collect the newspapers for distribution. This cycle-cart was probably made (or adapted) by Charlie Frost at the garage and cycle workshop. In 1921 he was living in one of the church cottages, but later he was rehoused in St Omer Close.


Mr. and Mrs. Goodman took over Mr. Beare's paper round which they ran from their cottage in "The Dell", Birchfield Lane. The business then passed to Mr. & Mrs. Bunting, who also bred St. Bernard dogs. Mr. Harrod senior bought their bungalow in 1957 and continued with the newspaper delivery business. Papers were stored and sorted in a wooden hut in front of the house.

Upper left, Mr Harrod Snr's bungalow and newspaper shed, Birchfield Lane about 1958 - no other houses in sight!
Upper left, Mr Harrod Snr's bungalow and newspaper shed, Birchfield Lane about 1958 - no other houses in sight!

Tony Harrod, the present sub-Postmaster, took over the newspaper round from his father when he came out of the RAF and moved to Mulbarton from Norwich. The newspaper business involved working from 5 am to 11.30 am and cycling round five villages. When news came of the expansion of the village, he decided to build a shop on the site of the newspaper shed in Birchfield Lane in 1967 - building a store that was larger than needed at the time, but was too small within 10 years. Mr. Harrod took over the Post Office when the one near pond closed in 1969. He joined the Spar franchise to offer competitive prices in the village, and in later years other franchises have been used to keep that competitive edge. When other villages were losing their shops, this one was expanding. It was enlarged several times in the 1970s, the interior was redesigned and a butcher's department added. In 1983, it was extended frontwards, almost doubling the shop area. Since then offices and a warehouse has been built above the shop - for a time it housed a popular second-hand furniture shop 'Junk & Disorderly'. One of Mr. Harrod's hobbies is computers, so long before most village shopkeepers had computers he was using one in the shop for the newsround and accountancy work.

Mr. Harrod continued to run the Post Office until he retired, but leased the shop to OneStop. It changed name and owners several times until in 2023 it once again became the Spar! 

For many years this was the only shop in the village, apart from the Paddock Farm farm-shop and the Chemist until the new Co-op shop was built on the Mulberry Gardens estate.