The name “Bilbrook” may have come through the word billers (a plant which grows near to a stream), and the stream called Moat Brook. This brook, which flows into the river Penk at Pendeford, forms much of the northern boundary. For centuries watercress grew in the brook. It’s thought that this is the plant that gave Bilbrook its name.
History of the Parish
Lane Green and Bilbrook were originally 2 separate hamlets, and the Old Village Green on the corner of Bilbrook Road and Joey’s Lane was the original Bilbrook green. It was here that John Wesley came on at least 9 occasions to preach. The first of his visits was in April 1751. The painting below depicts Wesley preaching and is believed to be one of his visits to Bilbrook. The photograph shows the Old Green as it is today.
The Boulton & Paul Aircraft factory was built in Bilbrook in the 1930’s and had a massive impact on the village with around 600 skilled employees moving from Norwich to Bilbrook. The defiant plane that was built in Bilbrook is seen on the Parish Logo, the war memorial and various heritage signs throughout the Parish.
The company underwent a number of name changes and in 2009 was sold to Moog Inc. who have moved to new premises at the I54 business park which is still within the Civil Parish of Bilbrook. The original factory also had a Boulton Paul Museum dedicated to Boulton Paul aircraft and the traditional methods used to manufacture aircraft. The museum closed when Moog took over and the aircraft moved to the Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford.
As part of our Neighbourhood Planning we have put together a document about all of Bilbrook’s heritage and history. The document can be downloaded below:
If you know more about the history and heritage of Bilbrook and would like to tell us about it, we’d love to hear from you.