Building a business with brushstroles

Let's Talk|June 2020

Building a business with brushstroles
Our Working Lives series tends to look at some of the bigger places of employment across our region. But now Derek James tells the tale of three men up a ladder in Diss ... and remembers a dear little school in the town where Miss Pike dished out Smarties.
Derek James

It was a picture in one of our supplements many years ago which caught the eye of one Jerry Rolfe – three wise men up a ladder in the middle of Mere Street, in the south Norfolk town of Diss.

Jerry, born in Palgrave and schooled in Diss and Eye, remembered me from many years ago and wondered if I could find the photograph for him.

“They all worked for my grandfather’s firm of decorators, A A Hales Painters & Decorators of Diss,” he said.

We Diss boys – well, Palgrave is near enough – have to stick together, so I found the picture for him. It was taken in 1955 when the town was getting all decked out for the annual carnival which I loved. It was a real old-fashioned party and how us children enjoyed it.

At the top of the ladder was Robert (Bob) Taylor; in the middle was Frederick (Jimmy) Baldwin, and at the bottom was Bernard (Bernie) Thorndyke.

Hales was a well-known and respected business operating in and around Diss, but just who was A A Hales?

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June 2020