Norton Duck Pond

In the late Victorian era The Green and Norton duck pond became a popular rendezvous for picnics and sports. Prior to this, for alomost 1000 years, The Green was common grazing land and the pond was a water supply for domestic and animal use. Courtesy of Bob Harbron.

5 thoughts on “Norton Duck Pond

  1. Frank and Don, bang on lads just as I recall it, they were fantastic days without much money to spend. We made a litte go along way. My pocket money was 6 old pence sometimes. Tuppence for sweets, 2 for the tuppenny crush at the old cinema with Tom Mix or Roy Rogers complete with free orange peel from the balcony. Perhaps a tin toy from the paper shop on Leven Road. I liked the old ‘put put’ motor boats which I sailed on the tin bath for hours. Or perhaps a 1p glider with the lead weight on the nose to balance it. To Don Taylor. I have not forgotten we intend to meet up again for another re-union, I have the dreaded chest problem again which I am trying to shake off. However Best Wishes to the Fred Kidd’ apprentices, we will make it!


  2. We show our age Don, it is a time in our memory not so long ago but others after the 1940’s never saw. My memory was every ‘0’ bus coming to the green was packed full of people with children or young sparks with their girls pouring off the buses which were every five minutes. They made their way to the Show field and Sand-pots or stayed on the Green. Kids playing in the pond and enjoying themselves on every bank holiday as at that time going away holidays were few and far between. My mother would open the back gate in the wall onto the sand-pots, set up a table with home made lemonade biscuits and sandwiches then let people in the show field use the outside toilet all at a cost, Mother was an entrepreneur, I even saw her selling bundles of sticks Dad and I chopped. I have a memory of the watch swallower and sometimes small roundabouts and other show tents set up on the green. The ‘Stop me and buy one’ man on his three wheeled bicycle cart selling his lolly’s, no soft ice cream back then. It was all a jolly holiday day and some of those Town kids must have thought it a magic day, in memory the sun always shone but it must have been cold or rained on some of them but still they came. With coal fires and sooty works all around them it must have been the only fresh air they got.


  3. I also remwmber the ducks waddling to the duck pond before the war. I also remember the blacksmith, whom I often watched at his forge and shoeing horses. There were often showmen on the green, sword swallowing and glass crunching and swallowing. I once remember a showman swallowing a pocket watch on a long chain, he asked one of my friends, I think it was Ray Smiddy, to put his ear to his belly and say when he could hear it ticking. Ray said he couldn’t hear it and the man nearly choked getting it back up.


  4. Can I correct the last post, the Trams did not turn, they ran up a short section over a switch line on the up line, the driver with a long pole then disengaged the trolley and swung it around to the other end of the tram and re-engaged it on the wires threw the switch and moved onto the down line. The Trams had a control cab at each end so did not need to turn. The Hambletonian was long gone when I played on the green as a kid before and during the war. It was Miss Fosters shop with sweets and papers. At the back through the yard on the side near the tram change over was Edgar Parsons Barbers. Where the Bank is now was Hawes Shop a general dealers. There was also a working Blacksmiths shop on the pond side and the Sunday school hall on the back of that block. Beside the pond was a working water pump in my day as there was in our yard at Mill Lane and in several other yards along the High Street. I saw cattle on the Green and I think it was once a year to keep the Green as common land. My Father walked our ducks and geese across the Green for a dip in the pond, they are like dogs they will keep close to who feeds them so it was quite a sight to see as they quacked their way there and back. He told me they needed water to keep the eggs clear, as I hated duck eggs it did not matter to me.


  5. The Hambeltonian Inn is now Wilson’s Newsagents & the adjacent building is the Nat West bank. You can just see the end of a tram on the right hand side of the image – this area had a turning triangle for the trams. The duck pond was made from puddled clay, an ancient technique. This lasted into the 1950s when it was damaged & the skills to repair it seemed to be lost so the council applied that quick fix – concrete! This is almost a timeless scene easily recognisable today.


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