Weekly City Spotlight: Norwich


Norwich Cathedral

Famously the home of the Canaries, the city of Norwich is located in the East of England in the county of Norfolk.  With many historic buildings such as the beautiful Cathedral and magnificent Castle, Norwich also offers its visitors attractions such as the Stranger’s Hall and Castle Museum, with theatres and art galleries also found in the heart of this cultural city.  With the opportunity to tour the city on foot or by bus to learn more about its history, Norwich offers excellent shopping facilities, and is also surrounded by numerous parklands and green spaces, ideal for those seeking a relaxing city break.

Historic Norwich
With the Iceni people having inhabited the area close to the city of Norwich at Caistor St Edmund, AD60 would see the Roman’s take settlement following the uprising by Budica.  However, it would be from the Anglo-Saxons that the name of the city would originate, with the area named Northwic between the 5th and 7th centuries.  The area grew and became a centre for trade, and a mint would also be established, with coins marked Norvic later found throughout Europe.

Norwich would become one the largest cities in the country, listed in the Domesday Book the city was stated as having a population of up to 10,000 with over 20 churches located in the area, with reference also made to the building of Norwich Castle following the Norman Conquest.  The Norman’s continued to develop the area including the addition of the market, which remains in place today.

1096 would see the construction work commence of Norwich Cathedral, under the instruction of the Bishop of Thetford, Herbert de Losinga, which resulted in limestone being imported from France, and also necessitated the building of the canal.  The Bishop’s See was then moved to Norwich following the Cathedral’s completion.

Norwich’s association with Canaries dates back to the 16th century when Flemish refugees arrived in the city together with their pet Canaries.  The birds were bred and eventually became the city’s much loved mascot, and nickname of Norwich City Football Club.

Popular Culture
Norwich is a historic and cultural city, and has also been a focus in popular culture.

Films & TV
Stardust (2007) – starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes and Mark Strong, Stardust is a fantasy film directed by Matthew Vaughn.  Shot on location throughout the UK, with Elm Hill providing the streets of Stormhold.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2013) – Steve Coogan brought Alan Partridge to the big screen in 2013 with the release of this feature film.  With the fictional presenter of Radio Norwich finding himself involved in a hostage situation, extensive filming took place in Norwich, with a premier of the film also taking place in Anglia Square.

Jack the Giant Slayer – (2013) this fantasy adventure stars Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson and Ewan McGregor and tells the tale of a young farmhand who opens the gateway to the world of giants, with filming taking place in Norwich including its beautiful Cathedral.

The Absolutist by John Boyne is partly set in Norwich, an area he knows well having studied at the UEA.  In this novel soldiers Tristan Sadler and Will Bancroft are both involved in the war, until Will takes the dramatic step of laying down his arms on the field of battle, the story tells of what follows and the effect the war had on the lives of the soldiers.

Social Media
Additional information on Norwich can be found on its official website Visit Norwich as well as its Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts.

Famous Faces
Olivia Colman – the award winning actress was born in Norwich on 30th January 1974.  Having starred in numerous film and television productions, Colman has been the recipient of BAFTA’s for her performances in The Accused and Twenty Twelve, as well as a Sundance Film Festival Jury Prize for her role in Tyrannosaur.

Elizabeth Fry – born in Norwich on the 21st May 1780, Fry is famously known for her work in both social and prison reform.  Fry has appeared on Bank of England £5 notes since 2001, and was known as the angel of prisons as her work resulted in new legislation relating to the humane treatment of prison inmates.

Philip Pullman – the best-selling author of such books as His Dark Materials trilogy was born in Norwich on the 19 October 1946.  Recognised as one of our greatest writers, he was also the recipient of the Carnegie Medal, and in August 2013 became President of the Society of Authors.



Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle
The distinctive Norwich Castle was built by William the Conqueror as a Royal Palace, and today is home to the Norwich Castle Museum.  Having demolished nearly 100 homes to provide for the castle in 1067, work began on the Stone Keep above in 1094 and was completed in 1121.  Within the amazing Castle Keep, the Museum houses a fantastic array of Anglo Saxon, Viking, Egyptian, decorative arts and natural history collections.  With access available to the castle dungeons, battlement tours are also in operation at the site.

Norwich Cathedral
Having been completed in 1145, the stunning Norwich Cathedral features Romanesque architectural styling.  The spire measures 96m making it England’s second tallest, and it dominates the skyline of Norwich, made of limestone which was imported from Normandy.  Free tours are available to learn more about this beautiful cathedral, which is set in England’s largest cathedral close.

The Forum
This modern landmark was completed in 2001 and can be found on the Millennium Plain in Norwich. As result of a Millennium Project, the Forum is a building which the whole community can use and includes the Millennium Library, shops and restaurants, a Fusion Digital Gallery and The Curve auditorium.  The Forum is also home to Norwich’s Tourist Information Centre, as well as the location for the headquarters of BBC East.

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