Yesterday was a rainy day in Norwich, and as you may have noticed I am not the world’s greatest photographer, but I still want to share my love of all things Norwich. It’s my birthday today, so I thought I’d concentrate on a celebration of age.
Here’s a few interesting historical gems. Flint-knapping has been used since the Stone Age to make tools and weapons – you can strike a flint to break it and make really sharp edges. Flint has been used in building since Roman times, but from the early Middle Ages it became really common in certain areas of the country (usually where chalk is the bedrock, because flint is found with chalk). There is a difference between skill-levels depending on how the flint is used. Proper flushwork (where the flint is usually squared and flat-faced and used in combination with stone) is on the more expensive buildings,
Go and have a look at the houses in Cathedral Close – there is a wonderful house there (it might be the Deanery) where the flushwork is so beautiful the walls look as though they are made of mother of pearl.
Here’s an example of both flushwork and cobbled flint walls:
Our Guildhall (built early 1400’s) is a wonderful example of chequerwork, which was even more skilled (PS I didn’t take this picture, it’s off Wikipedia, which is why it is so clear!).
I know that when I wander round Norwich, it is always more interesting when you notice the buildings, and especially when you look up – there is always a reward:
That’s Amelia Opie, a writer and a Quaker, in case you were wondering.
The Bell is one of those places I hardly notice – it’s currently a Wetherspoons pub – but it’s one with character and a past that is easy to take for granted. It was one of the two earliest coachouses in Norwich – the other was the Maids Head Hotel (which can seriously trump The Bell with its Jacobean panelling and stories about Elizabeth 1st staying the night).
There are loads of little signs and plaques around the City.
I really like noticing them and being taken out of the 21st century and constant consumerism.
These are in a little-noticed courtyard just off Magdalen Street:
This plaque commenorates the Paston Family and their famous letters are largely about domestic issues but include correspondence with Sir John Fastolf who is assumed to be a model for Shakespeare’s Falstaff.
stop and have a cup of tea in another historical gem:
This is from a grim little alley that I wouldn’t choose to walk through on a dark night. Seeing as the castle ditch probably served as a latrine, it doesn’t seem to have changed much:
and finally – what can I say?