Spoons & Brushes

In the 15th century the woods around Spooner Row were coppiced and the wood used to make spoons, taps and spindles which were then sold in Wymondham. The remnants of a row of 4 clay lump cottages formed part of a plot of land located in Chapel Road, as purchased by Mr and Mrs Foster in 1969. The cottages were located on the rear of the plot, close to Pilgrims Farm and were served by a well that was found to still give good water when the plot was cleared later that year. Back then the cottages were often referred to by older residents as “Spooner’s Row”.

This part of South Norfolk has other strong associations with residents working with wood, as certain older residents may remember the Briton Brush factory in Wymondham.

In 1920 the firm of D. Matthew and Sons of Tottenham amalgamated with SD Page & Sons to form the Briton Brush Company. The factory was located in Lady’s Lane in Wymondham. An exhibitor listing for the British Industries Fair in 1922 shows the Briton Brush Co. as manufacturers of household, toilet and painting brushes.

The Wymondham works was one of the most up-to-date brush factories in the country with its own railway sidings, saw mills, and engineering workshops. It is worth noting here that Spooner Row Station was built with the addition of a siding. Much of the special machinery for brush-making was designed and made in the engineering workshops on site. The factory took in English trees and other raw materials and produced complete and finished brushware. The company provided many amenities for the welfare and comfort of the men and women who worked in the factory, including a canteen, playing fields and a housing estate. Even works outings by special excursion trains were arranged.

In 1980 the Briton Brush Co became Briton Chadwick Ltd and later it was sold to the Windmill Brush Company in 1982, before finally closing its doors in 1985. The factories were later demolished to make way for housing and the estate contains references back to its former life in that two road names are Briton Way and Page’s Way.

Source (in part); Graces Guide to British Industrial History. Many thanks to Historic England and the Norfolk Archive Centre for allowing use of the photographs shown on this page.