In the past, most people worked on the land. But even local farms provided produce for local industries!
The most obvious industrial building used to be Flordon Mill - read more about that on its own page.
Old Directories list very few trades for this very small village, apart from the miller. A blacksmith is listed, who was also landlord at the Black Horse (1845, 1864, 1883); one farmer was also a maltster (1845); 2 shopkeepers and a bricklayer are listed in 1864; and there were 2 coal dealers in 1883.
For many years the smithy was associated with the Black Horse, where the landlord was also a blacksmith.
Chronicle 20 July 1822
To BLACKSMITHS &c.
To be SOLD by AUCTION by J SHARPE and SON, at the Black Horse Inn, at Flordon, on Thursday, July the 25th, 1822, at Four o-clock in the Afternoon.
A Desirable OLD-ESTABLISHED SITUATION for a Blacksmith, at which a good trade has been carried on, situated in Flordon street, consisting of a good brick and tiles House and Shop adjoining, now in the occupation of Mr. Abraham Lansdale. Possession may be had at Michaelmas next.
William White's 'History, Gazetteer & Directory of Norfolk, 1883' lists William Watson as 'Blacksmith & Victualler' showing that at the end of the 19th century the Black Horse was still in the hands of a landlord-cum-blacksmith.
Another trade associated with the Black Horse when Fred Havers was landlord in 1939. Later he moved across The Street, opposite the end of Long Lane and continued as carpenter and coffin-maker. His great-niece, June, remembers: 'Fred & Maud Havers left running the pub moved into the adorable cottage across the road. This is where I had such wonderful memories - my uncle Fred used to make us little wooden boats to sail in the stream behind the cottage....'
This was situated on Station Road, opposite the track down to the station. In 1939 it was Moy's Coal Depot; later it was a Charringtons depot. Coal used to come into a siding at Flordon station and the coal was loaded into sacks. It was then taken to the coal yard at the top of the hill and then tipped into stacks depending on the grade of coal. Then it had to be reloaded into sacks to be delivered.
First mention of Flordon coal yard is in 1860. Samuel Westgate of Tasburgh, coal and corn merchant, lived in Tasburgh but owned the coal yard which was probably then sited by Flordon station. He left in the care of a manager. In March 1861 George Meadows (aged 19) appeared in court in Norwich accused of embezzling two lots of money paid by customers for coal from the yard but not entered in the account book: 5 shillings 4 pence in August and five shilling 9 pence in November . Meadows admitted that he was not good at book-keeping. In mitigation it was claimed that on both occasions the books were not in his keeping but had been taken by Westgate, his boss, to be checked and he had forgotten to enter all the amounts when the books were returned. The magistrate must have sympathised, for Meadows was acquitted, though we don't know if he kept his job.... (Norwich Mercury 16 March 1861).
In White's Directory of 1883, Solomon Marshall is listed as 'farmer & coal merchant' and William Williams as a 'coal & coke merchant'.
Norwich Mercury, 28 June 1884
FLORDON RAILWAY STATION. MODERN RESIDENCE, Coal Yard, Stables, gardens, and about an Acre and a half of ARABLE LAND, Newly-erected COTTAGE, with large garden, a considerable Country Coal Trade is now being conducted on this Property.....AUCTION on THURSDAY, the 17th day of JULY 1884, at the Railway Tavern, Flordon, at Five for Six o'clock, in Two Lots.
Janice Hale remembers walking down to Moy's coal yard each month with an order for coal - Reg Fuller would take orders and deliver. The manager had a shed made of blocks which was the office. Pam Harvey comments that 'It was all cash in those days, which the manager counted each evening then took home for safe-keeping as it was only collected once a week.... Can't imagine that happening today!!'
Reg Fuller (above), of Station Road, Flordon, worked for Charringtons, the coal merchants, for 52 years. He left school at 14 and began work by delivering corn and seed on a tradesman's bike around Harleston for Moys Corn Cake & Seed Shop. By the time he was 21 he was doing a man's work at the local coal depot, becoming manager at Tivetshall when he was 25. During WW2 he joined the RASC spent 6 years soldiering around Europe and taught new recruits how to drive heavy lorries. After the war, Reg returned to Charringtons and was made manager of the larger Flordon branch, where he worked for the next 30 years. Reg is a keen Norwich Football Club supporter, rarely missing a home match - a true "Canary" and a great Charrington team man, too. (Article & photo from local news reports - undated). Reg retired about 1980.