Month: January 2016

Norwich: “Brightest shining of the city” – part 1

We live here. It is easy to forget where Norwich comes from, we take our surroundings for granted; a city that has grown from virtually nothing over the last 1200 years. A scattering of people living on  gravel terraces above a bend in a river in wooden houses, living by farming, fishing and fowling. This is where our city has grown from. Living in any urban area gives us a fixed centre-based perspective. Yet it isn’t intrinsically one place, it is made of many, psychologically and physically. It means different things to each of us and is comprised of different interlocking...

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Through Glass: The lost villages of Stanta

There’s been a few reports and exhibitions of work undertaken by photographers who have delved into the lost landscapes of the Stanford Training Area. There are tours, carefully marshalled around the activities that the army undertake in there as they have done since the land was requisitioned in 1942 for exercises that would eventually lead to D-Day, on a promise of a post war return. There are regular visits each summer and a carol service is held at West Tofts Church, some building remain, boarded up, part of the structure of the wargames, others removed. The churches are protected....

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Black Dog Tales: Toby Gill

A fresh guest tale from Nicola Miller of The Millers Tale. A curious story woven by ghosts across the Shucklands of Blythburgh. Suffolk is home to many a curious tale, from the mysterious green children of Woolpit to a mansion which disappears and re-appears in the west of the county. However, these tales take on a different timbre when we realise that they emanate from a true story. In the case of Drummer Boy Toby Gill, this involves a possible injustice and his subsequently frightening death at the hands of our legal system backed up by a local mob...

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Hidden History: The Mousehold heath air crashes

It’s an odd little memorial just off the side of the Road near the football pitches near Gilman Road. I’m not entirely sure of the circumstances either. Mousehold was at the time a dummy airfield chances are that either plane could have been making that way to try and get down safely, I’ll try and cover the remains of the airfield another time in detail, there are remains in the industrial estate on Heartsease, the field itself lying under the school and beneath the curved roads, flats and towers of the estate. The crew of the Beaufort all died,...

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Waterland: Strumpshaw fen

There is something mysterious and magical about the Broads. I’ve idled a fair while in the past sitting in a boat, the idiot at the other end of the line from the maggot or more correctly a dead lamprey or smelt when I used to fish. It’s basically trying desperately using sheer will and imagination and some expensive carbon fibre and string and not much in the way of skill to connect with a pike. Hours spent sitting in damp aluminium or wooden boats in every weather you can imagine and some. You have nothing much to do except...

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Great War: Blinded

A set of six postcards produced by the National Institute of the Blind, now RNIB for St Dunstans in Regent’s Park. These were fundraisers for the trust. A slightly mawkish view of something fairly horrific, but then how do you honestly portray being blinded, not an easy one even now. Facial disfigurement and blinding in particular were very common.  allow estimate puts facial injuries at over 60,000 in British soldiers alone. with 2,000 alone treated after the battle of the Somme. In 1961 it was estimated that the number of Soldiers of the Great War blinded was 1,900 although...

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Lost in a Landscape: Kett’s Lane, Swannington

I’ve written about Swannington before. It’s a lovely slice of countryside, unspoilt for an area which was for a period in the mid twentieth century a fairly industrialised airfield. It sits between the main axial roads radiating outward from Norwich spidering off towards Holt and Fakenham and sits just off one of the older main routes through the area; the River Wensum and the old M&GN, now Marriott’s Way just to the South as the land drops down towards Alderford and on to Lenwade carries more history than traffic, it is a past of railways, and beside the Wensum...

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Lost in a Landscape: Little Ryburgh

A bit of a late addenda to a trip to Pudding Norton last year that ended up with a chase around the countryside near Fakenham looking at Deserted Medieval Villages, shrunken settlements and ruins. The whole area is haunted by the Flockmasters and full of such sites. Each one well worth a visit. Little Ryburgh is a bit special more because of the oddness of the later additions to the cemetery than anything else. It contains a remarkably imposing angel on a tall pedestal that towers over the graveyard from a slope. On the slope itself half hidden in...

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