Now there may be some people out there who can make insurance sound interesting but I’m not being funny, I’m not one of them. However, I can pick a subject and relate it very loosely to something mildly interesting.
Bearing this in mind, I would like to tell you about an event which occurred on 3 March 1988 in Norwich when a big red bus, the number 26 for those of you who care, was travelling along Earlham Road. Its driver, Jim Pightling, along with all of the passengers, failed to notice a hole in the road. Now this was no ordinary pothole. It wasn’t there due to the local council failing to maintain the road surface although there had been some human activity involved in the cause which I will come to.
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This phenomenon was a sinkhole, a 26 foot deep chasm which had opened up in the road and proceeded to try to swallow said bus, rear wheels first, into the bowels of the earth. Sinkholes are common in many parts of China and America and in places where the underlying earth is chalk or limestone which is gradually washed away through the years to the point where the upper layer of earth can no longer be supported and falls suddenly into the ground. This occurrence however was not natural. It transpired that Earlham Road was constructed above an 11th century chalk mine. Chalk was mined many years ago to be burnt into lime for construction mortar. Norwich, whose walls are famously constructed of flint and lime mortar were completed in 1343 and clearly some of these walls contain the ground from underneath Earlham Road. Many of these mines have been blocked up due their inherent danger, in fact St. John’s Cathedral at the end of Earlham Road had needed its foundations reinforcing for this very reason when it was constructed in 1882.
Cadbury’s, makers of the ‘Double Decker’ chocolate bar jumped on this story; their marketing team coming up with the slogan ‘Nothing fills a hole like a Double Decker’ which made me chuckle!
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