Itteringham Mill Conversion - 1938


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Itteringham Mill

7th July 1938

A Record of Itteringham Mill

The old mill ceased working about 1913 and was allowed to become derelict until May 1936 when Lord Walpole considered the possibility of putting it in order again. On consultation, builder Ernest Edward Smith advised conversion into a dwelling and he produced the plans for this purpose. This work was commenced on 13 July 1938 and was carried out by Girling & Smith Ltd. Builders - Cromer, of which firm EES was Managing Director.

The date of erection of the old mill found scratched in the plaster at the back of the water wheel - "R.W. - 1788" and was left intact. [N.B. Date actually 1783]

The following workmen were employed on the job:-

Hayward Kidd Trimingham Bricklayer
Fred Bumfrey Roughton "
George Culley East Runton "
B. Dove Aylsham "
J. Horner Itteringham "
E. Kidd Trimingham Carpenter
Alick Roper Cromer "
Sidney Chinery " "
Ernest Griffon " Painter
Fred Bane Southrepps Labourer
H. Harmer Thwaite "
Bert Fuller Marsham "
George Hall (boy) Sheringham "

Ernest Edward Smith supervised all the alterations and worked on the job.

Approximate cost £2500.

The above record is transcribed from the document below that was hand written by Ernest Edward Smith.
In fact two sets of plans were produced and put forward for evaluation before the final version was chosen.

List of workers

16th August 1938 16th August 1938

Ernest Edward Smith, at the age of 71 oversaw the whole conversion project. The photograph labels are in his handwriting but the photographs were taken by Geoffrey Smith.

7th october 1938
Ernest Edward Smith is at the workbench, E. Kidd is on scaffold, J. Homer & B. Dove are on the roof and H. Kidd is on the ridge. 7th October 1938

The Saracen's Head 31st October 2004
The Saracen's Head 31st October 2004

At the foot of the main staircase is a carving of the Saracen's Head. It was carved by Ernest Geoffrey Smith of the Smith family building firm, Girling & Smith Ltd. of Cromer, who converted the mill to residential use in 1938. The only local connection appears to be that of the Saracen's Head pub on Lord Walpole's nearby Wolterton Estate that originally owned the mill.

Ernest Smith also used old timbers from the mill to carve and make 5 wooden chests - one for each of his grandchildren.

Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith
Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith
30th January 2021

Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith
Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith containing bricks of different woods used in the building trade - 30th January 2021

28th October 1938

Mystery person
Who is the person sitting near the planks?
Mystery person
Who is on the ladder and who is on the scaffold? Baths 3 of the 4 baths waiting to be put in!

J. Homer and George Hall (boy) from Itteringham were both employed by Girling & Smith and worked on the 1938 conversion along with the 11 others.

1938 just after conversion

c.1939 c.1939
c.1939 still unoccupied

EES letter 1939
EES letter 1939
Letter written by Ernest Edward Smith - 19th November 1939

EES Xmas card 1938

Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Edward Smith - 1943
Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Edward Smith - 1943

Haywood Kidd who is mentioned as one of the bricklayers working on the mill is my father.  He is now 95 years old and remembers his time working at Itteringham.  In fact he often speaks of it and I thought you may be interested to hear some of the anecdotes he recounted to me when I read The Mill Conversion pages to him (his sight is not good although he is still very active and manges to do his own housework, cooks pies and cakes, and does some gardening). Haywood took over as Foreman from Fred Bumfrey who was taken ill soon after the job began. The E. Kidd mentioned was Haywood's brother who they always called Joe. Georgie Hall was the odd-job boy who when summoned by Mr. Smith had the knack of rapidly sliding down the scaffold poles to appear by his side! He was very nimble but one frosty morning he was up on the roof with Haywood.   Haywood warned him to be careful and not to slip as the river was below! No sooner had Haywood spoken than Georgie slipped, and was falling, and was only saved by Haywood reaching out and grabbing him by the bib and brace overalls he was wearing! At lunch time Mr. Smith used to sit in his car with his hat on the seat beside him and his watch in the crown of his hat.  Once he accused Haywood of blowing the whistle 5 minutes late for the return to work after the lunch break.  Haywood informed him that he blew the whistle as per his own watch and not by Mr. Smith's! Haywood still has the new lump hammer and lath hammer he bought specially for the Itteringham job.  He remembers that the original mill stone was incorporated into the front door step. Mention is made of the five chests Mr. Smith carved from old mill timbers for his grandchildren.  He also made two book stands - one for Joe and one for Haywood.  Haywood still has his. In fact I use it every day as I keep my cookery books on it.  Each end has four carved roses of England which is rather appropriate as my surname is now Rose!
Haywood Kidd and Shirley Rose - 11th May 2005

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. By all means telephone 07836 675369 or

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