Last Night at Potter Heigham

Recollections of Francis Wicks (born 1915)

Transcribed from a recorded interview (August 2001)

"Trains used to run here, Nine O'Clock, or twenty past nine in the morning every day of the week except Sunday."

"This is from Beach Station?"

"Yeah, Beach Station, calling at Potter you see. They all gotta come from Beach Station."

"You were here when it closed were you, 1959?"

"I was here the night when it closed."

"So you saw the last one come through then, it was quite late wasn't it?"

"Yes, that was about half eleven, that came out from Yarmouth at half past nine. Passengers only as far as Stalham, that used to be every Saturday that did. When the locals used to go up to Yarmouth, there was that train back late at night. And it got as far as the centre of Stalham and it came back empty carriages. Well of course, when he came back empty carriages with detonator on, he slowed up so that the old detonators, they went crack, cracking off. That was a sad night."

"Was the train busy?"

"Oh yes it was busy, 'cos you had the devil to come off the train. Lot of Hickling boys getting off the train here, some of them had got a ticket and some hadn't. I just held my hand out, I didn't look to see if it was a proper ticket or not. During the summer you see there was trains stopping here, during the summer, from Derby with the Derby special. That used to be Rolls Royce, they used to hire the train. Then of course in the autumn time you got the fishing girls popping their heads out like they always did."

"They used to come into Beach Station?"

"Yes, Beach Station, yes."

"They didn't stop though?"

"No that was all for Yarmouth, straight through, there weren't no fishing here. But of course then the fishing fleet moved up the north so they had all the fishing girls with them. You always knew when they were about, Christmas times here at Yarmouth. Latter part of the time they were spending the money, taking presents home. They were real musical people and they used to come down here and sometimes have another choir with them and they used to sing in the methodist hall in Yarmouth or another big hall there. You had to be there half an hour before the doors open if you want to get a seat, be packed out."