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Report - - Laurel Farm House, Near Norwich, Norfolk - May 2017 | Residential Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Laurel Farm House, Near Norwich, Norfolk - May 2017

Five.Claws

Obligatory forum furry
28DL Full Member
#1
LOCATION EDIT: So, as requested I'm updating the report with the name and location details of the explore to make it easier for the rest of you to find and enjoy.

The farmhouse is called Laurel Farm and is found on the Low Road between Norwich and Great Plumstead. You'll want to look at the top of the road, at the Norwich end. A quick Google Maps street view should reveal it easily enough (it's directly opposite a big barn/cowshed) but don't bother searching "Laurel Farm Low Road" as the result it gives is miles in the wrong direction!

If you're driving, there's nowhere nearby to safely or discreetly park so my advice is to find somewhere the very outskirts of Norwich (there are plenty of housing estates) and walk along to the house - should only take around 15 minutes or so depending on where you park up.

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This was a group explore consisting of myself, @Adventurebear , @Stoats29 and a non-member. Safe to say we were all pretty blown away by the place!
The house had been on my radar for a little while after I'd cycled past it a few times (usually to go check out Plumstead asylum!). I was reminded of it after I saw a very brief mention of it, dated around 2011, on another site and about a week or so ago I headed back to see if the property was accessible and worth a look - after a definite "yes" for both it was a case of getting the gear together and heading back as swiftly as possible!

The History: After doing some in-depth research (many thanks to @Stoats29 for digging up some really good stuff) it seems this place has some pretty interesting history. From what we can tell, the farmhouse itself dates from around the mid 1800s and there's some really nice period features to be found around the property. The house and farm are owned by the Keys family - Henry and Irene Keys lived in the property where their son and daughter, Philip and Moira were born. Although the two children grew up, married and moved out, it appears their parents never put away any of their children's old things and you can still find babies' cribs, children's clothes, books and toys on the second floor.
After Philip and Moira left (seemingly by some time around the mid 1970s) their parents continued to live there in a little time warp, the decorations and furniture still stuck pretty firmly in the 1950s/60s. However, in 1994, Henry Keys died. Following this it appears his wife Irene left the house as it was, moved in to a bungalow next door, boarded up the old place and refused to allow anyone to touch it right up until she died in 2016. By this time her daughter Moira had also passed away leaving only Philip the only living member of the family and heir to the home. (From talking to the neighbour it seems Philip has no children to pass the house on to.) Philip apparently doesn't want anything to do with the house and has left it to rot until the time comes when it will eventually be demolished.
I think there may be a little more to it than just this, and there certainly seem to be some slightly puzzling gaps in the story/history but nevertheless I've given the simplest detail of it I can. Hope you found it of some interest!

The Explore: After a whistle stop tour of St.Andrews' Hospital as neither @Adventurebear nor @Stoats29 had visited before, we hopped back in the car, parked a little way from the farmhouse and walked the rest of the way (the May sun was finally out!). Having done a little recon, I'd already found the only entry - a rather tight and somewhat jagged break in the bottom of the board covering the back door. One careful shuffle through later and we were in; then proceeded to be endlessly fascinated by each room we came to.
Even with some obvious interference from local kids recently the house is overall pretty well preserved, especially for a place while has lain dormant for nearly 30 years! Old bottles, sundries and supplies sit dustily on shelves, drawers are still filled with personal effects and photos, furniture mostly left sitting where it was the day the house was locked up. Time has still taken its' toll of course: plaster is crumbling from ceilings, wallpaper hangs off, the floor in one of the front rooms is broken and caved in. The aforementioned troublemakers have left behind a mess and disarray in some rooms but nothing compared to the utter destruction of my previous report: https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/ransacked-farm-house-dereham-norfolk-april-2017.t108328

Most eerily and yet equally beautiful is that parts of the home have started to be reclaimed by nature. The house is reasonably secluded and sits in a patch of trees which have encroached on the property - ivy and vines snake up the outside of the building and in through broken sections of glass in the windows. Inside certain rooms, creepers and branches can be found growing across the walls and twisting around picture frames and furniture. It's a spectacular sight, all lit by the dim light streaming in the dirty and plant-encrusted windows.
It can't be understated what a gem of a time-capsule this house is. Having been abandoned since the early 90s and clearly owned by people who never cared to modernise after the 1970s there are some really fascinating things to be found, from a very old fashioned (quite possibly 1930s) twin-door Frigidaire fridge and cooker in the kitchen, to the flock wallpaper, to the surprisingly well preserved Enid Blyton children's books with messages from family written in the front. We found newspapers from 1989, 1986, 1981 and even as far back as 1969 littering the floor and all manner of bottles and medicines dating back decades with labels (and sometimes prices!) to match.
After easily over an hour spent poring over every room, flicking through old postcards, diaries and photographs to try and learn what became of the house and the family that owned it, we finally wriggled back out the back door into the fresh air. A little snoop around the grounds followed, where it turned out one of the outbuildings may still be in use - it smelled strongly, seemed to have pumps and equipment on and working and featured tables and shelves heaving with bottles of liquids, solutions and chemicals - all rather mysterious and frankly a little suspect!
Upon returning to the front of the house to head back home we were confronted by the neighbour mentioned at the start of the report - he'd heard us moving about and was slightly hostile at first but as soon as he realised we weren't causing any mischief and only looking to explore and photograph he became quite friendly and provided some extra info and history on the place.

I really had a blast exploring this place and would like thank @Stoats29 and friend for coming along too. ^^

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The Photos: I'm a little annoyed with myself for not bringing a tripod so many of my photos didn't turn out fantastic and I've had to slap the "sharpen" tool on them a little to neaten them up. I don't like having to do this, but I hope they're still enjoyable to look at all the same. I also realised once I was home that I shouldn't have got too occupied taking "arty" shots but instead photos that documented the house and contents of each room as whole. Ah well. Hopefully I'll return again in the near future and get some better shots.


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The pantry by the back door featuring some wonderfully dated products.

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The main hallway which leads all the way from the front door to the back.
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Seems someone deliberately placed this photo album here, either way it was filled with memories.
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There were a lot of medical supplies and old-fashioned hypodermic needles about. One of the owners most likely had some kind of condition, though some of the drugs may have had something to do with the farm and be for veterinary purposes.
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Obligatory key-shot!
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And it's upstairs we go!
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The fact that these old cots and cribs were still out even after the children had grown up and left home is puzzling and a little creepy to say the least.
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The branch growing across the wall appears to continue into the picture and be the one the two birds are sitting on!
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What follows now is an example of the windows on the second floor which threw some incredibly atmospheric light in, and also allowed nature to slowly creep in and start to take back the house.
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Back in the child's room. Note the figure in the mirror!!
(Oh, alright... it's actually just @Adventurebear :p)
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I hope you've all enjoyed reading this report - I had an amazing time exploring this little piece of history and hope to have another report up as soon as I can!
 
Last edited:

Five.Claws

Obligatory forum furry
28DL Full Member
#4
"The Manor houses etc are the places that people generally flock to once they're posted (especially if they've got a nice staircase lol), and it's usually them that decline more rapidly with the footfall."
It's weird, I'm quite the opposite - I wouldn't actively avoid a manor explore (or similar) but I find them far less interesting than peering into the life of another ordinary person. I guess there's the "faded splendour" aspect but generally I prefer places that a bit more down to earth and actually -lived- in.
 

Six

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#5
Ooh I think I love them both but for very different reasons!

Little old houses are great because it's good to have a nosy in how someone else lived or would have lived (I'm not really bothered by modern derp houses) and the manor houses are great for seeing how "the other half" lived as it were, they're also usually filled with fabulous stained glass and ornate stair cases and random crazy little nooks. (Some also tend to have quite interesting histories such as the place that was used as a listening station during ww2 - I forget it's name though, sigh)
 

anubis

28" Member
Regular User
#6
The wedding album is a powerful shot. Very sad.
Some really nice images, I love the light on the walls, very cool.
Cheers for posting.
 

MrsIzzy218

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#8
This house is on my "must see" list. So much life to it and so many stories waiting to be told. Absolutely love it.