The Norfolk market town that used to be in Suffolk
- Credit: Archant Library
Diss has been in the spotlight in recent days, caught in the swell of coronavirus coverage. But as locals know there's much more to their town than fleeting national headlines.
Let’s turn the clock back and remember the good times in Diss - there are plenty of them.
We hope these photographs from our archives bring back some happy memories of life in the 1950s and 1960s in what was described by the 20th century Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman as: “The perfect English market town.”
As we all know Diss is in Norfolk but there was a time when it was part of Suffolk.
That was during the 11th century reign of Edward the Confessor but over the years times changed and Diss sits proudly on the borders of our beautiful counties.
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It’s origins lie in its famous mere covering six acres and one of the deepest natural lakes in the country.
The town grew up around it and flourished. By the time William the Conqueror was in charge it was one of his domains and worth £30 a year to him – a handy sum in those days.
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While so many other towns suffered terrible fires followed by civic vandalism, Diss has been more fortunate and as a result has some fine and beautiful buildings.
The 16th century Dolphin, once such a popular pub and across the road from the St Mary’s Church which itself was founded in 1290. There's the Saracen’s Head and so many more wonderful buildings.
The medieval market place was Cock-Street Green (now Fair Green), away from the town centre, and the fairs may date back as far as 1185. In more recent times Friday’s were the highlight of the week. This was market day and Diss was packed. The farmers had arrived.
Diss still retains great charm and a community spirit.
I was born in 1948 and grew up in Diss. I was a lucky boy. I had my bike. I had my freedom. I had my friends. I had my fun.
Not a care in the world. Crazy Saturday mornings at the Picture House where Mr Jones did his best to make sure we were on our best behaviour and long days at the swimming pool in the summer.
Shopping for my mum at Bales, Strudwicks, Larter and Ford, Easto’s and that little shop in Chapel Street full of sweets.
Clothes from Bobby’s (I knew Jimmy) and Hopgoods (I went to school with Richard), shoes from Ives (Charles was a friend), bread and cakes from Wren’s and Denny’s (Peter and Charles were good mates) and, if you were very lucky, a visit up the steps to Nunn’s toy shop where I got my first cowboy outfit.
Happy days in dear Diss - they will return.