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the rocket house from the landward side in colour
a view across the marsh , cows grazing and Great Eye on the sky-line with the Rocket House a silhouette The Folly of Onesiphorus Randall
 lord of the manor of Salthouse 

A member of the public, writing to the paper in 1922, says:

"The familiar square-built stone house standing alone on the beach at Salthouse has been responsible for numerous questions as to its origin, and so many enquiries have been made regarding its association with smugglers and such romantic enterprises that one is sorry to destroy the illusion"
He then goes on to tell its 'commonplace history' as he calls it, but the story seems far from commonplace: it began in 1840 when the lord of the manor - a local man who had made a fortune in London as a property developer, built himself a castle on a mound of land called 'Great Eye' right on the beach.

According to Florence Radley of Salthouse,
when she was 80:


"I shouldn't say this perhaps, but -
Randall was very fond of women - that's what that house was built for! It had a big door either end, and he used to drive up in his carriage and round into the house and right through the house with his coach and horses.

"The coach used to stop in the house till he was ready to go then, you see, he had a bridge built on the beach side of the house connecting to a big expanse of grass where the village cows used to go. The sea has covered it over now, but at that time it was big [old maps show it as 'Flat Eye'] and he could drive his horses onto it, sweep round and come back."

post office corner 1940
the west end of Salthouse village c.1935-40, 'post office corner' .
On the sky-line extreme left, 'Great Eye' and the Rocket House
can just be seen. Today they lie under the sea.


Randall's Folly after the BOard of Trade had made it into a Rocket Brigade House
Above: The rocket gun in front of the house. The great doors which Randall drove his coach and horses through, now house the life-saving gear.

The Rocket Apparatus
Florence's father was a member of the rocket brigade:

"When Randall died, the Board of Trade bought the house. They had a life-saving brigade in the village, and a rocket cart and all the apparatus on, and that was lodged in that house so it became known as the Rocket House.

"There were so many men in the village in the brigade and my father was one of them. They were wooden ships and they often used to come ashore and the men would have to go and rescue the people - or try to. He wore a cork life-jacket , my father, and he used to have to go down into the sea and bring the people through the water. I remember the last time he went, the captain's little girl was on the ship and he brought the little girl through the water and he said her hair floated on top of the water. They were alive - they rescued them"


Next Page for a first-hand account of Salthouse men saving people off a ship, experienced by Jimmy High when he was a boy in the 1890s

This interesting little picture (above) shows the ramshackle bungalow/hut, made from an old motor bus, which stood on the marsh exactly where the old mill had stood, getting beaten up by flood water - but which flood would it be?

It was constructed by Mr and Mrs Brittain from Sheffield. Jasper Woodhouse now aged 84, can remember it arriving on a lorry in the 1930s. Behind it, the Rocket House can be seen on Great Eye. The picture below is of the holiday hut (known as Millmarsh bungalow) in better days! The pictures on the right are of the 1938 flood. The water is much deeper but the curious house doesn't look as beaten-up, as it does in the picture above. Perhaps it broke up as the waters subsided, or perhaps the above picture was taken during the 1947 flood.

When it fell to pieces in the early 1920s, the Board of Trade had put the Rocket House up for sale and the Brittains became the owners of it. It was then no longer a Rocket Brigade House, but the name 'Rocket House' stuck until in 1937 the Joplings bought it and named it 'Great Eye Folly'.


From the east 1938

1938 again

Mill drift with the coast road in the foreground and the millmarsh bungalow in the place of the mill on the left c 1936

These photos all belong to the Haylock collection - some taken by Fred Haylock post master, and sold as postcards in the shop, and some, like the one above, are snaps taken by Madge Haylock.