North Walsham & District Community Archive


North Walsham Past and Present. Published 1975.


It was possible to buy motor spirit in North Walsham in 1902 although cars at that time were few and far between. Roads were urtarred, punctures on the sharp flints frequent and cycles were commoner than motors. Improvements mainly came after the First World War. First main roads in the 1920s then country roads in the 1930s were graded and tarred. Buses ran from 1920 onwards, boneshakers initially, providing a slow, dusty and erratic service, then United Automobile, succeeded by Eastern Counties Omnibus put pneumatic tyred buses on the road, regulated services so that they did not compete directly with the trains and gave many viUages regular access to North Walsham, thus increasing its local importance.

Local carriers changed from horse and cart to motor vehicles in the 1920s as did many of the delivery services. As traffic increased the design of North Walsham became very difficult to match with modern motor traffic, yet little was done to improve the flow, apart from the installation of a set of traffic lights, until the evolution of the one-way system and appointment of a traffic warden about five years ago. Car parks have been greatly extended in what once was the congested area around the market. The one-way system has proven a great success but the long term aim is the abolition of through traffic from the market by means of the new by-pass. Most by-passes go around the edge of towns but North Walsham's will go near to the centre, thanks to the abandoned M&GN and N&SJR rail tracks which cross the town. No longer will pedestrians have to jump for their lives into shop doorways as juggernauts thunder along King's Arms Street.

Today, most shoppers arrive by car, unless near enough to come on foot. Public-transport has declined alarmingly but may be in for a revival.