Family doing up new home find messages and pictures from 100 years ago

Notes on the back of photo found in Cliff Hill, Gorleston

Notes written by an unknown hand explaining how homes in Cliff Hill, Gorleston, were built from bricks that once stood on the same spot in the shape of mill in open countryside. - Credit: Joanna Hughes

A family has shared their excitement at finding notes and photographs relating to life in their new house a century ago.

Joanna Hughes made the fascinating discovery while redecorating the three-bedroom terrace in Cliff Hill, Gorleston.

Holiday home, Cliff Hill, Gorleston

The outside of the house in Cliff Hill, Gorleston, named Kent House in old photographs showing previous occupants and discovered deep in a downstairs cupboard. - Credit: Joanna Hughes

Reaching into a deep, under-the-stairs cupboard she retrieved a dog-eared sepia photo mounted on stiff card showing an old mill and some explanatory notes.

Alongside the picture was a letter from a couple who said one of them had lived there as a child during the war.

The mill that once stood at Cliff Hill Gorleston

The photograph found in the Hughes' family house in Cliff Hill, Gorleston, with explanatory notes on the back providing a record for future generations wondering about the history of their home. - Credit: Joanna Hughes

Writing over 20 years ago they enclosed some copies of black and white snaps dating from 1922 showing people outside the house and enjoying life in the seaside resort long famed for its beach and bathing waters.


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Mrs Hughes, 39, who lives with husband Deri and their four children in Hertford, said she loved the  idea of being able to connect with the history of the house and the lives of those who had lived there before.

Old photographs, Cliff Hill, Gorleston

'Mabs, mater, and friends' outside Joanna Hughes' new home in Cliff Hill, Gorleston, a home that has been held in high affection by generations of occupants according to old pictures and letters left inside for its latest owners. - Credit: Joanna Hughes

"I just felt very grateful that someone had taken the time to write on the back of the picture knowing that someone in the future would be interested to know," she said.

Old photographs Cliff Hill, Gorleston

One of the photographs showing people gathered outside Joanna Hughes' new home in Cliff Hill, Gorleston. The previous occupants have left behind a fascinating glimpse into its history. - Credit: Joanna Hughes

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"It is nice being in places with  history. It feels like a place that sits in people's hearts and I get the impression that people feel that way about Gorleston too."

The  note on the back of the picture explains the windmill was demolished in 1887 and some of the bricks were used to build the terrace of four homes standing opposite the Cliff Hotel.

Hughes family of Hertford lockdown portrait

Joanna and Deri Hughes with their four children at home in Hertford. The picture is a doorstep lockdown portrait taken by a photographer raising money for charity. - Credit: Purple Kite Photography

Meanwhile a letter from Ken and Jean Gibson from Gloucester to the then owner Simon relates to a visit they made in 2000.

It seems they were returning to the town after 30 years and were allowed to look inside the home one of them lived in as a child during the Second World War.

They enclosed copies of photographs, some dating from 1922 showing various people outside what is captioned as Kent House including "Mabs and Hylda" and "mother".

Old photographs Cliff Hill, Gorleston

Some of the old photographs illustrating life in Cliff Hill, Gorleston, 100 years ago, found in a cupboard under the stairs with a letter. - Credit: Joanna Hughes

Seeing the house held in such high affection through the ages made her even more keen to preserve it and its history, Mrs Hughes said, adding she intended to frame the pieces and put them on display.

Holiday home Cliff Hill, Gorleston

The property in Cliff Hill has been transformed into a holiday home a stone's throw from the sea. - Credit: Joanna Hughes

The house is their holiday home but is available to book via their Instagram page at stonesthrow.gorleston.

Holiday home Cliff Hill, Gorleston

Joanna Hughes was decorating a property in Gorleston as a holiday home when she came upon some notes and photographs from the past. - Credit: Joanna Hughes

Holiday home Cliff Hill, Gorleston

The Hughes family from Hertford have fallen in love with Gorleston and made a surprising discovery while decorating their new holiday home in Cliff Hill. - Credit: Joanna Hughes



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