In 1875 the population of Smallburgh was about 450 - not very different from what it is today. The Church had already lost its Tower, and its bell cot supported one bell instead of two as now. The living was in the gift of the Bishop of Norwich and was held by the Revd William Arthur Ormesby, M.A. of University College, Oxford, Rural Dean and Honorary Canon of Norwich Cathedral, at a stipend of £430 a year and 28 Acres of Glebe Land. Two Services were held each Sunday morning and evening and Holy Communion Services were attended by up to 40 people.
The Parish comprised two Manors - Smallburgh and Smallburgh Catts. The Lords of the Manors were Sir J. H. Preston, Bart, and John Seaman Postle respectively. These two together with Robert Cooke were the principal Landowners of the Parish which contained 1247 Acres in all. The Church School was attended by about 47 Children and the Headmistress was Miss Catherine Ives at what appeared to be a salary of £6.5s. a quarter.
The village was well served by Public Transport. Coaches ran to Norwich on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and returned in the evening. In addition a Carrier provided a service to Norwich on Wednesdays and Saturdays. His name was John Knight.
Petty Sessions were held every other Tuesday, and the Magistrates were Sir J. H. Preston, J. Preston, both of Beeston, R. Rising of Horsey, J. Lubbock of Catfield, R. Baker of North Walsham, and E. Cubitt of Honing.
A Workhouse, or "House of Industry", known as "The Union", was situated on the Tunstead side of the Parish. It was originally built about 1830 with accommodation for about 800 inmates, but its average population in 1875 was about 73, and it served the whole of the Smallburgh District - about 41 Parishes. It was administered by a Board of Governors and the Officers were The Revd. J. B. Vale of Crostwight, Chaplain; Robert Cooke, Chairman: W. F. Dix, Surgeon; George Amis, Governor; Mrs. Elizabeth Amis, Matron, and Miss Louisa Brummage, Mistress. The cost of feeding the Inmates of the Workhouse seems to have been reckoned at about 3/- per head per week.
Surgeons were apparently engaged on a yearly basis at a fee which was negotiable according to qualifications, although the same Surgeon seems to have been re-engaged for long periods year ofter year. Pensions for the Institution's retiring Officials seem to have been a bit chancy. An application for Superannuation pay was considered at one meeting, and a suitable figure for this "worn-out Officer" was discussed. It was proposed and seconded that he should receive £40 per annum; an Amendment was proposed and seconded that he should receive nothing; a further proposal that he should be paid £30 per annum eventually carried by 11 votes to 9. The Inmates of the Workhouse seem to have been self-supporting as far as possible. The buildings contained wash houses, kitchens, a Bakery, Piggeries, Cowhouse, Sack house, a
Mill, and to drive it what was called a Labour Wheel which appeared to be a large capstan with 18 bars. A capstan of this size would accommodate at least 36 men.
In general Smallburgh appears to have been a typical country Parish of the time, devoted entirely to Agriculture and with no Industries except those such as a Blacksmith, Carpenter and other Craftsmen necessary for the operations on the land.