Newspaper archive

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old-newspaper-onlineAnother of Docking Heritage Group’s on-going projects is to seek out and collect copies of old newspaper articles.

We are fortunate enough to have around 1500 cuttings from newspapers and magazines dating back to 1900, many of which have been collected in scrapbooks. There will of course be many more still to be uncovered which will be hidden away in the archives and on microfilm in local libraries. Obviously reading through hundreds or possibly thousands of old newspapers looking for reports relating to Docking could take many years to complete, but it will be a worthwhile project once done. Every article whether it’s a story, a report of a weekly or monthly meeting or the sports results, can all help add to the story of life in Docking from the past. Even the briefest mention of a name in a report about the winner of a W.I. coffee morning for example can tell us the type of activities a person is involved in.

Newspaper reports are also a great resource when it comes to dating  some of our photographs. By comparing any pictures in a report to the pictures in our collection we then know when a photograph was taken. They can also give us the names of some of the people in those pictures as well.

 

Below is an example taken from one of those articles. These will be changed and updated on a regular basis to show you some of the interesting cuttings we have collected so far.

 

                              This report is from June 1952 and tells the story of the last passenger train to serve Docking.

WREATHS ON ENGINE FOR TRAIN’S LAST RUN ON WELLS-HEACHAM LINE

A wreath was placed over the firebox of engine No. 62593 before it hauled the last train from Wells to Heacham on Saturday. At Docking another was hung near the buffers. At Docking too, a flag flew at half-mast outside the signal box and an effigy in railway uniform was hung with the message “Death of Heacham-Wells passenger train, May 31st, 1952.

The Wells-Heacham line, which consisted four trains a day in each direction, has been closed to passenger traffic. Now there will be one goods train only a day.

The engine was driven by driver A V Dowdy, who has worked trains on the branch for 31 years. Fireman Frederick Platten, who completed nine years service in the locomotive department that day, accompanied him. Guard H. Newell – he has served 31 years on the branch – was in charge of the train.

With the exception of station officials only a few people witnessed the trains departure at 5.15 pm. There was no demonstration at Wells apart from the placing of the wreath on the engine.

The train consisted of five coaches – two more than usual – and carried 27 passengers, most of whom had arrived from the Norwich line.

It was a quiet send-off, but along the track flags were waved here and there.

 The wreath placed on the engine at Docking bore a memorial card and the words “In loving memory from the stationmaster and staff at Docking”.

As the train steamed away a small group of men and women, with children waving flags, stood by the station gates.

The train was met at Heacham by groups of spectators and amateur photographers.

The return journey was made by the same staff, the engine running tender first, and still carrying the wreaths. There were 64 passengers on the return trip

Invalid

As handshakes and farewells were made before the departure, an invalid in a bath chair was seen boarding the train with other passengers. She was 20-year old Miss Barbara Brown, of Burnham Overy.

A cripple for nine years, she had made the journey from Burnham Market to Heacham to visit friends every fortnight for over six years.    

            “This has been my one pleasure in life” she said “Now I have nothing to look forward to.”

Her mother, who always accompanied her, said with tears in her eyes, “This is a great sorrow for me as well as my daughter. It is impossible to take her by bus. I dread the future.”

‘Goodbye’ note

As the train moved slowly out of Heacham a long and mournful note came from the engine.

The note had hardly died away as the train passed the Heacham cricked ground. There the players stood with bowed heads as the train passed.

 Players in past matches had always interrupted games to let trains pass by and, on this occasion, they gathered by the line to doff their caps and give the driver, fireman, guard and passengers a last, hilarious, farewell.

The players said the final train carried as many passengers as they could remember seeing.

 Flags dipped

Many people stood at doors and windows of houses lining the route. Very few waved. Some dipped flags. At the Heacham main road crossing a crowd gathered and waved. Men stood with hats in hand.

Two passengers  alighted at Sedgeford which was quiet. There were handshakes and goodbyes before the train proceeded to Docking where both platforms were lined and many people watched from the houses nearby.

The train left to the sound of the “Last Post” and the firing of detonators.

 Handshakes at Stanhoe needed a few seconds and the train sped swiftly down the incline to Burnham Market.

A large crowd watched a press reporter assist the guard in lifting the crippled Miss Brown from the guard’s van to the platform in her bath chair.

Handshakes

Another round of handshakes and the train continued its journey. Another crowd stood by the station gates at Holkham. Lady Ann Coke, eldest daughter of the Earl of Leicester, was on the platform.

As the train pulled in Wells, it was met by past and present members of the staff and a larger number of public. After farewells all dispersed quietly.

Several people collected the railway tickets as souvenirs.