All change:

A well-known Heacham cou­ple have turned their old busi­ness site into won­der­ful hol­i­day homes

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: Tony Hall

How a butcher’s shop be­came a lovely home

One ques­tion I al­ways ask home­own­ers for the fact file that runs with this fea­ture is: ‘What is your favourite...?’ It is in­ter­est­ing that names and places of­ten re­peat them­selves, prov­ing that they are in­deed pop­u­lar.

One in the ‘favourite in­te­ri­ors shop’ cat­e­gory that has ap­peared of­ten is Brad­fields of Heacham. So I was de­lighted when Pam and Graham con­tacted me about their new pro­jects.

“My great grand­fa­ther Thomas Brad­field, who was orig­i­nally a coal­man, started the busi­ness in 1898 when he toured around the vil­lages and sur­round­ing area with a horse and cart, from which he sold china and hard­ware,” says Graham. “As his busi­ness grew, he built the orig­i­nal shop at 78 High Street, Heacham, which he ran with his wife Rose. They had two sons, Thomas, my grand­fa­ther, and Ge­orge.

“Both men ran the shop un­til the Sec­ond World War changed the path of the busi­ness. Ge­orge’s son Ray was killed when his plane was shot down; after that he did not want to con­tinue any­more, which left Thomas’s

son Don and daugh­ter Jean to take over.

“They con­tin­ued to move the busi­ness for­ward, with the ad­vent of self ser­vice in the 1960’s and a new ex­tended shop fa­cade. They also ran a suc­cess­ful door-to-door hard­ware de­liv­ery ser­vice en­com­pass­ing all the lo­cal vil­lages which my dad thor­oughly en­joyed as he was able to in­ter­act with all the vil­lagers.

“They also had a thriv­ing de­liv­ery ser­vice sell­ing bulk oils to lo­cal farm­ers and also in­tro­duced fur­ni­ture and beds to the ex­pand­ing ranges sold.

“After leav­ing the King Ed­ward Gram­mar School in King’s Lynn, I joined Camp­bell’s Soups, pro­gress­ing from cost accounts through to pur­chas­ing and mar­ket­ing. I re­ally en­joyed my years there espe­cially be­ing in­volved in photo shoots and TV com­mer­cials for the com­pany,” says Graham.

“These ex­pe­ri­ences put me in good stead for my next ad­ven­ture in 1979 when I joined the fam­ily busi­ness. Dur­ing the first 10 years I ex­panded the floor space and de­vel­oped the bed sales and more prod­uct ranges, espe­cially the trend for built-in fur­ni­ture.

A lot of evenings were spent as­sem­bling the fur­ni­ture ready for in­stal­la­tion the next day. It was a lot of years of hard manual work as well as do­ing all the paper­work. But it was lovely be­ing my own boss.”

Pam and Graham first met when she used to spend sum­mer hol­i­days at Heacham in her par­ents’ car­a­van. Pam came from Peter­bor­ough and, after leav­ing school, worked for the Bri­tish Sugar Cor­po­ra­tion and Le­ices­ter Build­ing So­ci­ety be­fore they mar­ried in 1971. She then worked for the Al­liance Build­ing So­ci­ety, in King’s Lynn, as of­fice man­ager be­fore leav­ing to have a fam­ily. Old­est son Tom, 37, is head of imagery at Net-a-Porter, Lon­don, and Jeremy, 33, is a com­poser/ac­tor/mu­si­cian in New­cas­tle.

After bring­ing up the boys she joined Graham in the shop and they grad­u­ally be­gan to move into a more up­mar­ket po­si­tion. About 12 years ago a de­ci­sion was made to join the house next door and make it into a show house to high­light their stock. It gave peo­ple op­por­tu­nity to see the prod­ucts in a home en­vi­ron­ment.

This proved highly suc­cess­ful as it was a unique sit­u­a­tion at the time for Nor­folk, way ahead of its time. Peo­ple came from a large area to visit the show house and their ‘cake and cof­fee’ Satur­days proved a hit.

In late 2015, dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions were made about the fu­ture. Pam and Graham were well over re­tire­ment age and as staff were leav­ing for var­i­ous rea­sons they de­cided that maybe it was time to close.

“It was a hard choice to make after over a cen­tury of trad­ing,” ex­plains Pam. “How­ever, we came up with a long-term plan. We could have sold the site but, with its fam­ily his­tory and in hon­our to the previous gen­er­a­tions’ hard work, it was es­sen­tial to pre­serve, so sell­ing was out of the ques­tion.

“We sold our own home of 26 years and moved into the orig­i­nal house on site. We then started to ren­o­vate the prop­er­ties that had lain empty for years and turn them into lux­ury hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion, start­ing with the Old Butcher’s Shop, which we are fea­tur­ing here, fol­lowed by the Old Butcher’s Stores, the next chap­ter.

Us­ing their well-honed de­sign and in­te­rior skills each prop­erty will be spe­cial, as the pic­tures show. Lit­tle do peo­ple re­alise that in the main shop, now the kitchen/din­ing/liv­ing area, there was an enor­mous in­dus­trial freezer and cold store.

The trans­for­ma­tion has to be seen to be be­lieved. “We de­cided on ex­pos­ing the brick wall and fol­low­ing that theme through,” con­cludes Pam, “giv­ing a warmer feel to the house, what peo­ple have termed ‘in­dus­trial chic’.

“It was very im­por­tant to us, to in­ject char­ac­ter, make it mod­ern and stylish and try to

“It was very im­por­tant to us to try to make each prop­erty in­di­vid­ual, but with ev­ery mod­ern con­ve­nience”

make each prop­erty in­di­vid­ual, but with ev­ery mod­ern con­ve­nience. This prop­erty is much larger than you think as it in­cor­po­rates the three-bed­room house next door and has three bath­rooms, to­gether with size­able cosy liv­ing rooms with wood burner and fires,” she says.

“Em­bark­ing on this new ven­ture for us is prov­ing very ex­cit­ing and we are hop­ing to add one ad­di­tional prop­erty a year. The next one, The Butch­ers Store’s, is now ready. We are now in the mid­dle of adding an ex­ten­sion to the orig­i­nal fam­ily house/shop and when that is com­plete we can move in and re­lease the show house as the next project.

“What is so won­der­ful, is not only pre­serv­ing the fam­ily her­itage, but the op­por­tu­nity to stay in a part of Nor­folk we love and in­tro­duce it to oth­ers.”

The Old Butcher’s Shop and The Old Butcher’s Stores are avail­able for hol­i­day let­tings; con­tact Nor­folk Hide­aways nor­folkhide­ or 01485 558327. tony­

Be­spoke kitchen units, kitchen ta­ble and bench made by Mark Buckingham of Heacham; light­ing from Gar­den Trad­ing; vase on ta­ble from LSA; chairs from Coach House; ta­ble run­ner by Linum; pot­tery on ta­ble from Bliss House; knife block set by Robert Walsh

LEFT: Chair from Vin­tage; sofa and mu­si­cal in­stru­ments from eBay; cush­ions from Linum; rug from Braided Rug Com­pany; blinds, own ma­te­rial made up by Sew and Sew Forth of Hun­stan­ton

ABOVE: Shut­ters from Nor­folk Re­claim; mir­ror from Coach House; blan­ket by Bronte; floor lamp by Nkuku; rug from Braided Rug Com­pany; wall lights from Jim Lawrence

BE­LOW: Bed from Vin­tage Lloyd Loom of Spald­ing; lamp orig­i­nal BTC; mir­ror from Marie Buckingham, Heacham; throw by Linum; wall lights, Gar­den Trad­ing; blinds own ma­te­rial made up by Sew and Sew Forth of Hun­stan­ton

BE­LOW: The spa­cious fam­ily bath­room

ABOVE: The bright and light shower room

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