'COUNCIL' HOUSES

'Homes for Heroes'

There is a prominent '1921' date on the two pairs of houses facing the unmade 'loke' from Long Lane to the Community Centre. After the First World War, the 'Homes for Heroes' policy was implemented, and the first council houses were built to a standard design in many villages.

In the coming years, people began to expect a better standard of housing and no longer wanted a tied cottage that moving house (and probably parish, and school for the children) if they went to work on another farm. Some of the damp clay-lump cottages were condemned as unfit. More houses at affordable rents were needed, and there was a renewed effort by local councils to build houses in the 1930s. The distinctively-designed houses facing Long Lane probably date from that period.

After World War 2 there was another housing crisis: service personnel were de-mobbed and returned to their families, or married their sweethearts, and soon 'baby-boomers' needed accommodating. Council waiting lists were burgeoning. There was also great need for retirement homes for the older generation. St Michael's View was built on land acquired through compulsory purchase from Orchard Farm. Its mix of houses and bungalows date from the early 1950s, supplemented by the final building phase of Forehoe & Henstead Rural District Council in the 1960s, before local government reorganisation led to the creation of South Norfolk Council.

Some of the new residents of St Michael's View came from Hethel Camp, where the old USAAF huts were pressed into service as emergency housing by the District Council. One of these was the headmaster of Hethel CP School at the 'Camp', Richard Carder (known as Maurice) who was rehoused in Flordon with his wife and two children, Maureen and Malcolm. He cycled back to work each day until the school closed in 1958.

Memories

Donald Calton lived in 6 different houses before he moved to a retirement home in Wymondham. His father had worked for Gaymers Cider factory and came to Flordon to work at Hall Farm. Donald was born in The Street, and the family moved to one of the pair of thatched clay-lump cottages on the corner of The Street and Long Lane (now replaced with by a brick bungalow). Later they moved the other side of the Black Horse to one of a pair of cottages that were condemned after World War 2 as water seeped through the walls - they had been flooded too often! Donald's legacy was a pair of chestnut trees that have grown from the conkers he and his next-door best friend Sidney Rackham planted. The family was rehoused at Hethel Camp and were fortunate enough to be offered a Council house back in Flordon, at no.6 St Michael's View. Later, Donald and his wife swapped houses with Joy Flatman, moved into her old bungalow at no.11, where they lived from 1955 to 2010. He thought the Council Houses were palatial - hot and cold running water, electricity, indoor toilets and bathrooms, sewerage (to a common sceptic tank at first, then on main drainage by the mid-'50s).

Jean Cook writing in the Flordon Parish Newsletter, Sept. 2018: 'I have just discovered that I have no carrots for the casserole I am making and I am thinking back to when we first married 64 years ago and moved into 3, St Michael's View. What wonderful neighbours we had! They'd soon supply a carrot until next shopping day. People in the four houses looked after each other and some of the happiest days of my married life were spent there.' 


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