Grandad's Watton

The Seaside Outing


Certain parts of the town used to be identified by the buildings which stood nearby, or the owners of the buildings. At the junction of High Street. Swaffham Road and Brandon Road the gas works stood, so it was Gas Works Corner. On the other side of the road was a grocer's shop belonging to Mr. Herbert Adcock so it was also Adcocks Corner, a situation likely to be unhelpful if you were trying to direct a stranger. We had Police Station Corner. War Memorial Corner, and at the junc­ tion of Dereham Road and High Street was a bakery belonging to Mr. Moore and on the other side (where Dean's office now stands) was u harness-maker named Harry Reeve, so it was Moore's Corner or Reeves Corner, depending on which side of the street you were standing.

Before it got its more up market name of Beechwood Avenue that area was always "Worms Yard", because a veterinary surgeon named Worm used it for stabling and business purposes. It was Mr. Worms yard, or Worms Yard. One of the buildings in Beechwood Avenue which has recently been converted to a photographic studio by Mrs. Dwornik was for many years a dwelling house, but it was also originally the first Methodist Chapel, built soon after Robert Key arrived to preach on Watton Market Place in 1832, and to get well and truly knocked about for his trouble. Not that he would be deterred because he had, in full measure the countryman’s inclination and ability to "keep a going". I remember the years, in peace and war, when squadrons of the Royal Air Force flew from R.A.F. Watton, and I recall the words of their proud motto "Per Ardua ad Astra". 'To me this suggests an affinity, a shared philosophy between the aviators who took off from the runway marked fields, and the men who for generations had ploughed the land and tilled the soil. "Per Ardua ad Astra —Through Hardship to the Stars". There was a more often used colloquial version "press on regardless". How very close this is to our own homespun "Keep a going". It says it all In an age-old anonymous piece of Norfolk doggerel that you may have heard before. It's called (how did you guess) "Keep a Going" —

If it rain or if it snow, keep a going,
If it hail or if it blow, keep a going,
Ent no good to sit and whine
Cos the fish ent on yer line,
Bait yer hook and keep a tryin*.
Keep a going.

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