Kathy Binks
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Our Longest Inhabitant

An interview was conducted with Mrs Kathy Binks, who, having lived in Red Lodge since the late 1920's, is Red Lodge's longest inhabitant. Kathy states that she moved into Red Lodge from Stoke-on-Trent in the late 1920's. Her father had been badly wounded in World War One and they moved for his health. He built their two-bedroom bungalow and in six weeks they moved into one room and added on until it was finished. Although it was the old A11 the road was like a tree lined avenue with trees meeting across the centre of the road. 

Except for their bungalow and the Public House she can not remember any other houses except for a few on Warren Road. A big event was a lorry came once a week carrying chocolate from Norwich to London. The first homes on Turnpike Road were just Railway Carriages, which had been brought in and put onto the heathland. She went to school in Herringswell and walked there through lanes, which ran through the woods, which was found to be too far for a small child. She then changed school to Worlington, next to the Chequers Public House (Now the Walnut Tree). She left school when she was 14 years old. 

There were no cafes until about 1935 and then at 0ne time there were five cafes, 3 petrol stations, two restaurants and one shop. The Red Lodge Café, which is still operating, the RoadHouse, one at Garage, one on Coopers Site. There was also The Suffolk Punch, which was built in the 60's, a restaurant, and a NightClub, which had live bands at the weekends. A Wing Comdr Bailey who leased it to the Savoy Hotel in Great Yarmouth owned it. All the show business people would stop here, and waiters would come from London to work at the weekends. After the introduction of the breathalyser the area became more of a transport complex and the café's gradually closed. Kathy's husband Ken remembers when about 30 coaches pulled in almost together.

The only church was the Methodist Hall, which acted as village hall as well. It had a turtle stove, and was lit by Tilley lamps. In 1948 Anthony Horswell gave the village a piece of land off Warren Road and a temporary building with a corrugated roof was erected and this served for a few years as a village hall. The Post Office was originally in Heath Farm Road until it closed and re-opened in Bennett Road.

When Kathy and Ken got married they lived in with her parents. After the 2nd world war the road got steadily busier and until the by-pass was built in 1993 you took your life in your hands trying to cross the road. It was non-stop traffic both day and night. Now it is much quieter. She is looking forward to the development of the village and hopes it will realise its potential that has been promised for so long. Kathy turned the first sod for the new Community Centre and is very delighted that it is being used almost to its full potential.

Interviewed by Jill Mansell

A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival ©2000 Designed by ArtAtac