The Common Lot's Living Heritage in Mile Cross

The Common Lot's Living Heritage in Mile Cross

Two paper lanterns in the shape of houses in an outdoor parade
The Mile Cross estate in Norwich turned 100 years old in 2023.

National Lottery Grants for Heritage – £10,000 to £250,000

Mile Cross
Community memories were gathered and shared to celebrate the centenary of England's oldest purpose-built social housing estate, Mile Cross in Norwich.

The Common Lot's project brought people together through a busy programme of talks, outdoor performances.

Work started on the Mile Cross estate in the 1920s as part of a nationwide house-building boom when the government sought to clear slums and provide houses for those who served in the First World War and their families. The first residents moved into Mile Cross in 1923.

Residents and two local schools were integral to the project, contributing to:

  • a community-curated exhibition that presented the 100-year story of the estate
  • outdoor productions which were attended by over 4,000 people
  • a digital story map that hosts a trail, memories and photographs collected during the project
  • oral history recordings which captured the memories and experiences of estate residents
  • a publication and a radio programme which featured historical research conducted by volunteers
a group of people at an outdoor event
Community events were held in summer 2023.


Simon Floyd, Creative Director of The Common Lot, said: "The generous funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund has enabled us to create a different story about Mile Cross. People have joined in a variety of ways to help spark imaginations of the past and directions for the future.

“With our community story finders we are now putting the final touches to our book: ‘Mile Cross 100: A Century of Stores’, which we are sure people here are going to love. We are established in Mile Cross now and looking forward to more co-creation in the future."

The Common Lot, a theatre production company with a focus on community collaboration, was awarded The Education and Community Award at the Norfolk Arts Awards 2023 – a testament to the project's impact. 

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