This truly splendid picture of Carrow Road was taken in 1935, by George Plunkett, a local man who devoted much of his life to recording buildings and areas of Norwich by photograph. The glory of his work can be seen by clicking on the link in the sidebar of this blog. A visit to his site is a must for anyone with connections with the city who is interested in seeing how the place has changed and developed over the years.
George took this particular photograph on the 14th of September, the day Leicester City were visitors. There were 20,571 spectators present for what was the third match that Norwich City played at their new ground. Although Herbert Goffey scored on his debut, the Canaries went down 2-1.
The ground was purchased on 1st June 1935 on a twenty year lease from J & J Colman. Aircraft makers Boulton Paul had been using the site as their sports ground. The move from The Nest in Rosary Road was necessitated by the action of the FA in May of that year when they deemed the old ground 'no longer suitable'. It left City needing an urgent resolution to their problem. Carrow Road was built in just 82 days - described as the biggest building project in the city since the construction of the castle and hailed as the eighth wonder of the world by Norwich City officials.
Materials were transported from The Nest, including earth and rubble to form the embankment at the River End, clearly visible in the photograph. One covered stand was already in existence, it had an advertisement for Colman's Mustard on the white roof. The Station End was an uncovered terrace - it became known as The Barclay two years later at the start of the 1937-38 season when funds for the building of a stand were donated by the vice president of the club, Captain Evelyn Barclay.
George's photograph shows that the ground originally had little height, (undoubtedly there were many more steps at the back of the River End when I first went there in 1969 !), yet 29,779 people had attended the first ever City match at Carrow Road just two weeks earlier - a 4-3 victory over West Ham United. I am guessing many missed some of the brilliant viewing points of The Nest, as they perched precariously on those towering but dangerous quarry banks. I can hear the River Enders now - 'this place will never be as good as Rosary Road' !
In the two matches either side of the Leicester game, Norwich also lost, 1-0 to Blackpool and Sheffield United. However, the season turned out to be a respectable one for the Canaries with an eleventh place finish in Division Two as they slowly but surely settled into their new home.
The photograph is the copyright of George Plunkett's Photographs Of Old Norwich and is reproduced here with the kind permission of his son, Jonathan Plunkett.
[This item has been re-published, having first appeared on Sing Up The River End! on the 8th of May 2010]