Month: July 2014

Magdalen Street 6: All Saints Fybriggate

Magdalen Streets’ hidden history: The lost churches Part 6, All Saints Fybriggate There were two All Saints in Norwich, the remaining one stands in the shadow of Westlegate House, the old Provident Mutual office block which towers over it like the tall kid who hit puberty first at school, shoulders hunched and hands in pockets removing the pocket money from some smaller kid. That’s all a story for another time. The All Saints we seek is a tough one to locate in the physical and temporal landscape, the last church on the map and the one we know virtually...

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Magdalen Street 5: St Paul

Magdalen Streets’ hidden history: The lost churches Part 5, St Paul It’s not exactly on Magdalen Street; it was behind it on the East side, a lovely little round tower enclosed by Peacock Street, Willis Street and Barrack Street. Until the 1860s, half timbered tudor houses stood on all sides, these were condemned and replaced by apparently faceless Victorian terraces which with the benefit of being now we consider quite nice. Barrack Street retained some of the old stuff right up until it’s demise. The Inner link Road cast a long shadow, particularly over the North of Norwich, bisecting...

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Dead cities: Thorpe Abbotts

In February I was fortunate enough to get invited by Waveney Valley Community Archaeology Group with the permission of Lord Mann on a reconnaissance mission for a project they are doing on studying standing buildings on the site of Thorpe Abbotts airfield; A Second World War RAF base which was handed over to the US Eight Air Force in 1942 becoming a heavy bomber base. It sits on the Diss Harleston Road just inside Norfolk in the border lands. It is a vast piece of land housing fifty aircraft hard-standings and two hangers, a hospital and accommodation areas for...

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The walled city: part one

Norwich: The walled city I’ve been wandering around staring at flint in various forms for years. This is Norfolk after all it’s ubiquitous and unavoidable from pebble built fisherman’s cottages to our gazillion churches, dividing walls, farms, sheds and tumbledown shacks even flint mines and tools. Nothing makes me more tumescent than a nice bit of medieval wall, not flush work and all that posh show-offy stuff, just a bit of wall faced in flint with a flint core. I’ve always particularly had a bit of a thing for Norwich’s city wall; I’ve lived on the line of it...

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Lost in a Landscape: North Walsham – The revolt

I found myself with a few free moments on Sunday afternoon and after some deliberating with tea and fags I decided the best option was to tick something off my lists of things I needed to go and see and do. So I ended up in North Walsham. I lived here for fifteen years, from squab to teenager. My mum and dad tired after a life of travel with the RAF depositing us in a county my mum liked because she had nice memories of RAF Swanton Morley. Unlike my elder siblings who had lived in the Middle East,...

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Hidden History: Opie Street and Gropecunt Lane.

Opie Street, nice ring, named thus for a fair while, it gained the name following the death of the famous Regency bonnet wearing writer and philanthropist Amelia Opie. Amelia was born in Colegate in 1769 to fairly well-to-do parents the Aldersons. Her father was a doctor, both her parents attended the Octagon Unitarian Chapel along with other families with similarly strange ideas about philanthropism more usually associated with the nearby Quakers bringing together the Taylors, Martineaus, Aldersons and the banking family with a conscience the Gurneys, latterly Barclays bank with a conscience like any other bank. This group formed...

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Magdalen Street 4: St Mary Unbrent

Magdalen Street’s  hidden history: The lost churches Part 4, St Mary Unbrent Back in Norwich and back in Magdalen Street this time nearer the city centre a short walk up from St Botolph isn’t; past the concrete, buses and bustle, amidst faded splendour of largely unnoticed Georgian merchant’s houses and Tudor remnants including the hidden delights of Gurney Court, gates with Spandrells. There is a fairly eclectic mix of shops, ranging from Halal meat to old vinyl, Chinese remedies, charity shops and Asian Grocers. In the midst of this sits St Mary, except it doesn’t because it isn’t there...

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2 weeks ago

Invisible works

Not my finest work, but y'know.

Anglia Square.
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