by David Wright, with additional memories from villagers and items from Parish Council Minutes added in
buses have been a 'lifeline' for Mulbarton people for many, many years. We
don't know when the first bus service started, but we do know that the Parish
Council was complaining about the 'dangerous speed' of buses near the pond - in
1924! It was over 80 years before this complaint was fully dealt with....
Oct. 20th Although no reply had been received from the County
Council with reference to the speed of motor buses through the village, it was
noticed by members of the PC that a great improvement on this matter had taken
of the few additions in the entry for Mulbarton in Kelly's Directory 1933 is
the 'frequent motor omnibus services to Norwich, New Buckenham, East Harling
and Thetford, and a daily coach service to London'.
World War 2 there were several independent bus operators. People can remember: BRIGGS - a fawn-coloured bus;
RELIANCE - a green bus;
HUMPHREY - a deep red
we have no colour photos from that era - though any photos or tickets are
welcome! People remember the fare as 5d or 6d to Norwich, and 9d return. Some
buses terminated in Ber Street, and others in Chapelfield, Norwich. 'One of the
drivers was named Bob - a round-faced man'. The last bus from Norwich was at
about 6pm, with a late bus on Saturdays.
Miss Burrell remembers:
I first knew
Mulbarton around 1937 when I visited Mr. & Mrs. Oswick who had recently
built a bungalow, "Peacehaven" in the Rosary. It was set in the middle of a
large meadow which in summer was a mass of wild orchids. I travelled by bus
(Eastern Counties, or United) from Norwich - it was a fairly frequent service
with the last bus from Norwich, Mon - Fri
being 9.20 pm, Sat 10.20, Sun 9.20 (I think). The fare, I cannot be
certain, but 9d rings a bell. Sometimes I came by train to Swainsthorpe and
walked past the Vale, then a Poor Law Institution.
the war, the bus frequency was obviously not good enough, and a complaint went
to the Parish Council:
1946 May - Request for
improved bus service: hourly on Wed, Fri, and Sat pm.
And there were
complaints again 10 years later:
1957 Annual Meeting - complaints about no.27 bus
service - service needs improving, especially later buses.
mention is an attempt to get buses routed via Cuckoofield Lane and Long Lane:
1964 '...the bus company would not provide the
alternative services requested because the County Surveyor would not allow
buses to travel along Rosary Road and...nothing could be done to improve the road
at this stage.'
Road' referred to is now the eastern end of Cuckoofield Lane, between
Birchfield Lane and Long Lane]
back to the later 1960s:
'The local bus
to Norwich ran about four times daily - but only on the main road (B1113). It
was a long trek to either the Tradesman's Arms corner or The World's End with a
(From an article by Jane Burgess, in Parish
News, Summer 1993)
Even fares became an issue at the Annual Parish Meeting though this Minute seems a little unfair:
1967 Oct. 23rd Parish Meeting in the Wingfield Hall - 'The Council were asked to make a formal protest to the Bus Company about the exorbitant fare between the World's End and the Tradesman's Arms.'
A generation -
and more - of Mulbarton people knew that "our" bus was the Eastern Counties
No.27 to and from Norwich bus station. One Parish Councillor remembered using
the slipstream from the buses to cycle faster into Norwich!
Even in 1972
there were long gaps in the bus service - up to 2 hours between buses, a few of which came through the village via Cuckoofield Lane and Long Lane. The weekday bus times from the Cuckoofield Lane phone box were 8.05; 10.52 & 13.48, but there were additional buses that kept to the B1113 to Norwich from the World's End stop at 7.08; 8.06; 8.29; 10.20; 13.12; 16.18; 17.00; 15.45; 16.18; 17.00; 18.10; and 20.31 Most buses came from New Buckenham; a few came through from
Kenninghall, and a couple of extra buses had been put on to serve Mulbarton's
growing population which turned at Wreningham or Bracon Ash.