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Dersingham Folk
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Site by Mike Strange
Linford's Corner
Elizabeth Fiddick ©

The road junction that was to become known as Linford's Corner had no recorded name. This continued on the 1839  Tithe Map (below). The area where Frederick Linford was to build his shop in 1905 was Glebe land  (Glebe is an area of land within an ecclesiastical parish used to support a parish priest. The land may be owned by the church, or its profits may be reserved to the church. Ref: Wikipedia - Glebe)
Site 175 was an arable plot occupied by George Chadwick a local farmer. 171, 172 and 173 were arable fields owned and occupied by Thomas Scott.  The only buildings on this side of the road were at 170, a small plot within 171; the house, barn and garden were occupied by Thomas Scott. 

On the east side of the road plot 176 was common land occupied by Commons rights owners. 272 was also common land as was 177 opposite. It was a very different  scene to the area today with shops, a hotel, houses on both sides of the road and the allotments, playing field and war memorial now occupying what was previously common land.

Little had changed by the time we reach the early 20th century as we can see on the 1905 map below.  There are still just a couple of buildings on the left where Thomas Scott’s house used to be.  Allotment gardens and small holdings now cover the Glebe land and on the southern side of Station Road there are allotments and an area of common land crossed by a footpath set aside for the village. The corner of Chapel Road and Snettisham Road (now called Hunstanton Road) is what was then known as Temperance Corner taking its name from the Temperance Hotel, now called Ashdene House.
Ashdene House
Previously the Temperance Hotel
The Temperance Hotel was kept by a Mr James Ward William Chambers (1858-1922) from about 1882, with the first entry in the Electoral Registers, to at least 1922 with the last entry in Kelly's Directory for that year. Both he and his father, George Chambers, were builders so there is every possibility that they built the hotel and that is what local understanding is. There is no previous mention of such a facility.
James William Ward Chambers
Ann Marie Chambers nee Potter
(more can be found about the family here)
One newspaper reference I have found  tells us that the Dersingham Cricket Club held their meetings there in March 1893 and April 1895.

From the 1939 Register I have established that the hotel was called Chestnut Tree Hotel and the proprietor was Mrs Florence Fisher.  Her husband, Alexander F. E. Fisher was a manufacturer of polishes and their son, Alexander Edgar Fisher, was a Fishmonger. He ends up with a significant connection with the Linford family (more when we look deeper at the family) on another page.

On our page of interviews for the Dersingham 2000 History Project recording number 15  made with Mrs Janice Dixon Cross (nee Chambers). She mentions that her father, James Chambers (son of J.W.W. Chambers and Ann Marie nee Potter) lived there as a child with his sister Hannah Hilda; she married Jimmy Jackson a farmer.

Gill Duffey of Ashdene House has very kindly provided us with the three photographs below, we hope to have more information about them.  After James Chambers moved from here the property served as a business and private home to a number of people. Unfortunately, we understand from Gill that the property deeds were lost and there isn't even an Abstract of Title, however, it is hoped to be able to provide some details in due course; any help will be appreciated.

The car suggests that this was taken in the 1950s/60s and the sign at the left corner suggests that it was a hotel or restaurant at this time but no name is visible.
Westdene House - Hotel and Restaurant at this time.

A pleasant illustration but who was the artist and what period is it depicting?

Continuing with the 1905 map above; plot 242 (272 in the 1720 map) has not yet become the playing field we know today; that change occurred in 1920 when the Parish Council took over the site. The War Memorial was added in 1921 and there are a few more houses on the right with Hawthorne Cottages. But it was then still mostly open common land.

So the villagers were amazed when Frederick decided to build his house and shop on the corner of Station Road so far then from the centre of the village. But Frederick had other ideas and foresaw, especially with the railway now flourishing, that this area would become more important. He would initially name it 'Glebe House'.
From Elizabeth Fiddick Said In the Dersingham in Wartime article (see last item):
Standing on the corner of the crossroads in Dersingham is a small guest house. In the past it was known as The Temperance Hotel, later The Westdene Guest House and now it has recently been reopened under new management and is now known as Ashdene House. During the war years Mr. Fisher's father and mother ran it and it was known then as The Chestnut Tree Guest House. There were soldiers billeted there and the Fishers used to lay on tasty suppers for the men. Moreover as it was one of the few houses in the area that had a bathroom the Military requisitioned it and sent soldiers from the Norfolk Regiment who were billeted in the Drill Hall down there each week to have a bath at 6d a time. Mr. & Mrs. Fisher were also compensated with an extras ration of coal.

Transcript from The Lynn news and Advertiser 1959

For over 50 years the Linfords of Dersingham have kept a small family shop in the village; [here is their family page].  The shop was yesterday taken over by the Lynn Co-operative Society and the owner Mr. Rowland Linford has gone into retirement.

That the shop became well established and has developed a strong local trade would have surprised the sceptics who told Mr. Linford’s father when he was building the premises in 1904 “You are building a white elephant”. They reasoned thus because the site of the shop was in those days on the boundaries of the village. The late Mr. Linford, however, foresaw that Temperance Corner, now Linford’s Corner, would become almost the centre of the village.

The present owner was born at Snettisham and went to Dersingham at the age of two."

("On the retirement of Roland Fred Linford the parish council decided to commemorate for all time the old Dersingham family and retain the name Linford’s Corner. This was sent to the rural council and so that is the correct name and should not be confused with any other name." Lynn News & Advertiser   Tuesday, June 27, 1972, Dersingham – by 'Drifter')
This must have been quite an event to see passing through the village.  This was taken in 1938 by someone Dick Melton knew and he kindly provided us with a copy.
Anne Terrington Linford (daughter of Roland), Roland Fred Linford and Ena Linford.  It was  probably taken in the 1940s when Ena, a nurse in the forces, often came to spend off duty time in Dersingham.

A new fish and chip shop in Dersingham looks set to open in the middle of a colourful controversy.  The vibrant, three tone green exterior of Tropics hot food take away in the village centre had had a mixed reception.

New owner, the appropriately named Mr. Keith Green, who said he had spent £18000 cleaning  and redecorating the premises inside and out,  was unrepentant about his eye-catching colour scheme.  He explained he wanted a new image to show people that things had changed.  “Many people have come in to say it’s looking beautiful,” said Mr. Green, a Castle Rising potato merchant.

Others disagree, including Mountbatten Road resident Miss Doreen Linford who described the colour as “violent” and the shop’s appearance as “tasteless, offensive and completely incongruous.”  Members of the afternoon W.I. had unanimously deplored the colour and Miss Linford predicted that prospective customers would register their protest with their feet – by boycotting the premises.

Parish Council Chairman Mr. George Pratt said the shop was discussed at last Monday’s meeting after several verbal complaints and one letter of protest.  “We decided that although there was nothing we could do about it in law we would write to the owner and ask if he wanted to make any comments,” he said.

Mr. Green, undaunted pledged, ”The shop will open with a first class manager and staff.”

Dersingham residents registered their disapproval to the parish council at the colour scheme used to redecorate the exterior of Tropics Takeaway Food shop at the corner of Station Road and the A149.

The original Heacham red bricks (see at the end of this article) used on the building were coloured white some years ago and have recently been painted two shades of green with a darker green woodwork.

The house is not a listed building and therefore planning permission is not required for outside decoration.  It was stated that the owner of the shop was genuinely amazed at the public outcry and would consider toning down the colour scheme.
The parish council agreed to inform the owner in writing of the feeling of the village and also advise the borough planning officer of this action.

The borough council has agreed to install safety barriers at the King’s Croft play area following an inspection of the site but no date was given for the work to commence.

The roundabout at the new bypass is becoming overgrown.  Contractors are responsible for the upkeep for 12 months after the opening of the road, after which time the borough council take over. A request to landscape the area has already been put forward but in the meantime the contractors will be requested to cut the grass.

One councillor expressed his opinion that an error had been made in not creating an access from the bypass into the village at Station Road.  Dersingham is completely bypassed and local shopkeepers lost passing trade because of this oversight.  The majority of councillors did not agree. The idea of the bypass had been to take traffic out of the village but they had been mistaken in not recommending “service” signs into the village and were doing all in their power to rectify this.

Extra police patrols will be present along the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton stretch of the A149 from July 13-21 as part of the Safe Drive 1991 Campaign. In a bid to keep accidents to a minimum they request drivers to adhere to speed limits and be more aware of driving conditions.

A working party is being set up to discuss planning for the 40 acre site off Mountbatten Road due for residential development.  The council hopes to pass on positive contributions to the developer if a meeting can be arranged through the borough council.
Lynn News & Advertiser   Tuesday, June 27, 1972
Dersingham –by Drifter
A woman was travelling to Dersingham on an Eastern Counties bus recently asked for a ticket to Linford’s Corner.  The conductor said you mean the Co-op corner, and this somewhat confused her.

Perhaps a word of explanation, and a piece of the history of the origin might help.  In the beginning of the century Mr. Frederick Linford a well- known painter and decorator of that time decided to have the present house and shop built on that corner at that time one could count the number of houses in that area on one hand.

The acres of Glebe land were chiefly let as small holdings and allotments.  Mr. Linford was asked why he was having the shop built on the outside of the village and his reply was, “ One day this could become the centre of the village.”
How near he was, for today the new estates have built around that shop.

In 1920 Mr. R. Linford took over the running of the hardware shop and also built up a prosperous grocery business.
On his retirement a few years ago the parish council decided to commemorate for all time the old Dersingham family and retain the name Linford’s Corner.

This was sent to the rural council and so that is the correct name and should not be confused with any other name.  Eastern Counties please note.
Comments from readers:

Timothy Birt
Remember when Thaxters had it as a cash and carry mid 70s

Lisa MacIver
Going up stairs felt like an Aladdin’s cave in the 70s. Great memories.

Helen Richardson
I remember my uncle in there Rowland Linford in the 1950s.

Joanne Wing
Lovely to read some of my family’s history.
Heacham Brick Works

Linford’s  Store built on the corner of Station Road in 1904 was constructed from Heacham  bricks.
The brickworks were sited at Mount Pleasant, Lamsey Lane which is shown on Faden’s map of 1797 as Brick Kiln.
The first works here were likely to have been very small.  In the late 19th century Holcombe Ingleby who for 8 years was M.P. for King’s Lynn took possession of the works, then known as the Lamsey Lane Brickyard  and revitalised them.  He built new kilns, offices, and drying sheds.   Apart from Linford’s shop many other local buildings were constructed using the warm red bricks from Heacham.  Heacham  Methodist Church, Heacham Water Tower, and  Hunstanton Water Tower were just a few others.  A brick stamped “Heacham” was noted in a wall on the Peddar’s Way at Holme-next- The –Sea. 
As in so many other cases the advent of the railways hastened the decline of the works as deliveries from the Peterborough works proved tough competition.  Heacham Brickworks closed in 1914 but the main building which houses the brickmaking machinery, engine and dynamo survived to be used as storage for the modern caravan site n that now occupies the area.
Holcombe Ingleby died at Sedgeford Hall in 1926.