Grandad's Watton

The Wayland Hall

After the crowning ceremony the queen, for the .remainder of her week's 'reign' dressed like a queen, behaved like' a queen, and was treated like a queen. She attended every activity during the week with both herself and her attendants formally gowned, and accompanied by her Lord Mayor of Carnival. Her arrival was greeted with drum roll or, fanfare and when she, and her party were escorted to their seats the concert, dance or whatever could commence or continue. The fund raising efforts during the week were, of course varied and continuous but the big one was Thursday, Carnival Day. The procession would assemble at the railway station for classification and judging, and when the flag-bedecked 6.10 pm train steamed in the Queen and her entourage would step from their first class compartment (having stepped into it ten minutes earlier at Stow Bedon station) to be greeted by the Lord Mayor and escorted to her float. Then with bands playing and flags flying the procession would move off to meet the crowds. And, believe me, there were crowds. From town and village they came, filling every vantage point and every foot of pavement to watch the cavalcade of fancy dress and decorated vehicles pass through the bunting-hung street, to wave to the queen as she waved graciously back. Corny? Yes, perhaps. Kid's stuff? A bit. But it all added up to a wonderful example of community spirit, of a town united to provide entertainment and fun for themselves, and benefits for others. And they collected money by the bucket full.

Although times and methods have changed the spontaneous generosity of Watton people has not and a staggering figure would emerge if it were possible to ascertain the total amount of money which is raised in Watton, EVERY YEAR for charities of all kinds.


The Wayland Hall was opened by Lady Walsingham in 1853 and it has been in use for a wide variety of purposes ever since. The large room, or hall was originally used as a corn exchange, a meeting place for parish activities, a dance hall, theatre for amateur dramatics and concerts, a library, and for a short time a cinema. It was in this hall that talking pictures were introduced to Watton and it was here that we saw, and heard Jessie Matthews in "Evergreen", watched the news reel at the time of the engagement of the Duke of Kent and the lovely Princess Marina, and where all the mums drooled over Shirley Temple and "The Good Ship Lollipop".

Watton; the Old House and shops and Green Man Inn

The building on the right "The Green Man Inn" stood in the high street site now occupied by Barclays Bank. The other building has recently been converted to three elegant shops, and the one on the extreme left is occupied by Mr. Conoley, a jeweller and goldsmith. The drawing dates from about 1908 and at that time the same shop was owned by Mr. Edmund Adcock, also a Jewller and Watchmaker.

The room on the right at the top of the stairs housed for many years the Magistrates Court and the Town Council. For a short period its spartan appearance, uncarpeted floor and rather basic furniture prompted the Council to move to the building which was then the new Magistrates Court, and which is now the Library. During recent years, however actual ownership of the hall has returned to the town, restoration and renovation have taken place, elegant furniture has been acquired, and the Council has returned to its original home in the smaller room, and many social activities again lake place in the main hall.

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