Sadness as 180-year-old building demolished for new housing

The building formerly known as the George Edwards Memorial Hall in Hall Road, North Walsham, being demolished.

The building formerly known as the George Edwards Memorial Hall in Hall Road, North Walsham, being demolished. - Credit: John Wells

It has been used for everything from ballet lessons to hardware sales, but now a 180-year-old building in North Walsham is being demolished. 

Work crews have moved onto the site of the building formerly known as the George Edwards Memorial Hall in Hall Lane.

The district council has given permission for seven houses and two flats to be built in its place.

Planning documents say the hall was built "some time prior to 1840" and may have originally been a church hall but little is left of the original building following a number of extensions. 

In the mid and late 20th century the hall was used as a concert venue, and as a place to eat lunch for pupils at Manor Road school.

The building formerly known as the George Edwards Memorial Hall in Hall Road, North Walsham, being demolished.

The building formerly known as the George Edwards Memorial Hall in Hall Road, North Walsham, being demolished. - Credit: John Wells

Countless ballet lessons, wedding receptions, dances, fetes and galas also took place there, and it was later taken over by the printing firm, Rounce and Wortley. 

More recent uses of the building have been as the Run Wild children's play and activity centre, and the North Walsham Building Solutions DIY store. 

Most Read

But the site - opposite the Salvation Army hall - has now sat empty for at least six years. 

People have been sharing their memories of the building through social media. 

John Wells said: "My wife was one of the Manor Road Primary school children that walked up to the hall every school day for lunch."

The building formerly known as the George Edwards Memorial Hall in Hall Road, North Walsham, being demolished.

The building formerly known as the George Edwards Memorial Hall in Hall Road, North Walsham, being demolished. - Credit: John Wells

Commenting on the North Walsham and District Community Archive Facebook page, one person said: "Had our wedding reception there in 1963."

Another comment read: "I attended many functions there in the 1950s/60s including Scout galas and fetes, dances, wedding receptions and Manor Road school lunches", and someone else said: "And another part of the old North Walsham is gone."

The new homes will be in two separate buildings - one which will run along the site frontage on Hall Lane and the other behind it.

The planning application says: "The retail unit was housed in a much extended traditional building. The form of the original building is still apparent but the variety of extensions and alterations have not been sympathetic to the original building and has no architectural merit."