Aerial photos taken by the RAF in the mid 1940's show indications of two Roman roads leading from the Roman town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St. Edmund c.AD60, one passing through Poringland in a southern direction but now buried under developments. Before that Neolithic/Bronze age communities from the 5th. & 4th. millennia BC and Iron Age Iceni 700BC- AD43 had lived in the area, leaving behind important features and finds in the district. Unlike today, public travel was difficult until the motor bus and car arrived.
c.1730's a carrier service from Bungay to Norwich (The Red Lion ,St. Stephens) ran a return trip Weds & Sats.
Whites Norfolk 1854 record a daily coach from Norwich to Bungay and Halesworth via Poringland.
1905, August 29th., the first Motor Omnibus service was started by the Great Eastern Railway as a replacement for the failed South Norfolk Light Railway.
The Norfolk Directory 1908 lists a Horse Omnibus service from Loddon to Norwich, Mon-Wed-Fri & Sat passing through Framingham Earl about 9.30 a.m.
The Great Eastern Bus Service.
Shown here is the first bus, a U58, of 1905. Started on August 29th. the route was from Trowse Station to Loddon, via Framingham Pigot (The Gull). In October the departure moved to the more convenient Victoria Station, Norwich, which was situated on Queens Road where Marsh's Insurance offices are and now called Victoria House. Two vehicles were used on the route and were quite prominent, being red with white tops.
The 36 seat open top 30hp buses were designed and constructed at the London Stratford works of the GER at a cost of £700 each. Some were built to carry a ton of merchandise and 30 passengers.
At Loddon the service joined up with the Beccles service. On the 27th October 1905 the service was withdrawn due to the many breakdowns caused by overcrowding, they were stripped down to the frames over Christmas 1905. New stronger front and rear springs were fitted to improve the suspension and the chassis was strengthened. The service restarted 12th. March 1906.
Fares were 1d per mile but this was increased to one and a-half pence in 1908. This was abandoned in 1909 reverting back to 1d per mile due to cheaper competing firms.
The time table.
1905 at Victoria Station. (Pic.Mike Fordham).
1905 and these U58's are proving popular. (Pic.Mike Fordham).
Perhaps a bit overloaded !!!! (Pic.Mike Fordham).
c. 1905. (Pic.Mike Fordham).
c. 1919. GER Thorneycroft 'J' (40 HP),28 seat single deckers replaced the U58's, when the service moved to Thorpe Station, Norwich. These passed to the United Automobile Services when the service was sold. (Pic.Mike Fordham).
c.1919. (Pic.Mike Fordham).
c.1919. The staff with their GER Thorneycroft 'J'(40HP), 28 vehicles at Loddon Garage.The drivers uniform was Navy blue with the conductor in Khaki and grey. (Pic.Mike Fordham).
1916 services to Poringland are listed but there are no details of what form of transport is used. Drake operated from the 'Star and Crown', Timber Hill Mon - Wed & Sat at 4pm. Gardiner from the 'Lamb' Haymarket daily at 4pm. White from the 'Lamb' Haymarket Mon,Wed,Fri and Sat at 5pm. There are no timings for the trip to Norwich.
1921 Time Table
Year 1930 just arrived at the new Norwich Bus Station, 1930 Double decker bus UL5354 (Pic.Alan Wright).
Surrey St. from Halesworth. VG2775 Associated
Daimler Company chassis with ECW body, 28 seater.
(Pic Alan Wright).
ECW - Eastern Coach Works with a factory at Lowestoft was the local coach body builder.
These services were absorbed into The Eastern Counties Omnibus Co. Ltd. in 1931.
1937, service 17 for Lowesoft, via Framingham Pigot. 1950, service 18 for Hempnall, via Stoke Holy Cross.
VF8520 Bristol chassis with ECW body. (Pic.Alan Wright). BWY 980 Bristol chassis with ECW body. (Pic.Alan Wright).
1960, service 11B to Diss, Brockdish, via Poringland.
Time Table GPW360 Leyland with ECW body - built 1947.
(Pic. Alan Wright).
965, service 11B relief bus at Norwich Bus Station. 1965, 11B Diss service via Poringland and Brockdish
GPW686 Bristol L5G with ECW body, 35 seater - GPW363 Leyland chassis with ECW body - built 1947.
(Pic. Alan Wright). (Pic.Alan Wright).
1965, service 11 to Halesworth via Poringland. Out of retirement for that special event Millenium July 1st.2000
GPW353 Leyland PD1A with ECW Low Bridge body, (Pic. Mike Fordham).
53 seats, built 1947.(Pic.Alan Wright).
In 1971 the services were run by the National Bus Company until 1995. Over the years our district buses have taken us to various destinations via Poringland. - Norwich, Bungay, Halesworth, Mundham, Southwold, Diss ,Thwaite, Seething, Stoke Holy Cross, Trowse and all places in between
Via the Lowesoft road. - Loddon, Beccles and Lowestoft.
Via the Stoke road. - Shotesham, Hempnall, Topcroft and Long Stratton.
Local driver Barry Leeson,at the Bungay depot,with a Bristol VR3, in 1996.
The bus is the one that fell down a hole in Earlham Road, Norwich in 1988.
1995 and the company became part of First Buses which later changed to First Eastern Counties.
From 2003 Anglian Buses 588 (the company's first commercial service) ran along side the First 58 service from Norwich to Bungay (the 588 extending to Halesworth). The 587 was introduced a little later to compete with First's 58A Norwich to Poringland service. In April 2009 First abandoned these routes leaving Anglian to run these services.
Poringland Church bus stop. St.Stephen's Street , Norwich.
On 25/4/2009 the 58A was the last 'First' bus from Poringland at 1744 hrs. It then became the last 58 to Bungay from the City at 1815, but as you can see it actually ran as an 11B, which was the original route number for the service. After completing its journey to Bungay it returned to Norwich light i.e. no passengers. The driver was David Burdett, a regular Bungay route driver at one time. The bus is a Dennis Dart with a Plaxton Pointer body, fleet number 43446. ( David actually got the company to change the bus to this one, as it had a roller blind; the vehicle originally on the service had a computerised screen which couldn't have been flagged up as an 11B). (Pic's. John Hutchinson).
2010. This is one of the last small buses working to Poringland, at one time several worked in the area.
The bus is a Mercedes Plaxton - Beaver 31 seater minibus, built 1999, Reg.T200 CBC (Pic.Mike Fordham).
Jan. 2010 Currently working the Poringland 587 routes this Anglian Optare Versa (MAN Euro4) at the Rectory Lane turning, making its way back to Norwich via Stoke Holy Cross. (Pic. Mike Fordham).
Feb. 2011 and this Scania Double Decker operates on the Norwich - Halesworth route via Poringland.
The single decker,on the same route, is pictured at St.Stephen's, Norwich at the commencement of it's journey. (Pic's. R.Gooderham).
(Pic's. Mike Fordham).
In April 2012 Anglian Bus was acquired by The Go - Ahead Group. 13 MAN Ecocity buses started to run some of the local services from 2013. This one,left, is outside the Post Office at Framingham Earl. Local services now operate out of the Bus Station instead of St. Stephen's Street.
The new service X88, Norwich to Halesworth via Poringland, is introduced
November 2nd. 2015. (Pic. Mike Fordham).
We include here a few pictures of the construction of the the Trowse bypass as it is considered that this has had the biggest influence on the developement of this area.
Trowse Street looking north and , below, south in 1990.
(Pic. Mike Fordham).
1991. The bulldozers move in to begin the Trowse bypass and the access to the Norwich southern bypass at the Bixley junction.