8th May 2017

After a few days R&R because of putting my back out on Thursday, we went to Norwich today to have a look around. Took the Park and Ride from Thickthorn which was only £2.50 return and which deposited us at the bus station very close to everything we wanted to see.

First stop was the castle and museum:

Norwich Castle

There’s a long history attached to Norwich castle. It started out as a wooden fortification and was rebuilt in stone by William the Conquerer. William wanted to have a fortified place in the important city of Norwich – and Norwich was a very important city in those days. Later on, it was devastated by the Black Death. If it hadn’t been for that, Norwich was lining up to have been a city as big as London.

The castle now contains a museum showing significant objects from the region, especially archaeological finds and natural history specimens. Below are some of the exhibits we saw:

Thus one is a mini version of how the inside of the castle may have looked in medieval times:Inside Castle

The castle was used as a prison from 1220 and from that time there are stones on which the prisoners have scratched grids for games popular to the period. Interesting to think that these grids were as familiar to them as an OXO or hopscotch grid would be to us:

Fox and Geese

Nine Mans Morris

Snap the Dragon explained below is something we saw evidence of in various places around the city – in children’s activities, on bills and posters…..

Snap the Dragon

And here’s one version of Snap himself:
Snap the Dragon2

The world’s largest teapot – from the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, this teapot holds 13 and a half gallons of liquid. The story goes that tea was poured from it for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert during the exhibition.

The hand painted scenes with which the teapot is decorated depict the growing, picking, fermenting and shipping of tea from China. They are adapted from drawings by artist Thomas Allom from his book ‘China Illustrated’ published in 1847.

Largest teapot

An Anglo Saxon lucet. Fascinated me because I use a lucet myself, now,  for making braids:

Lucet

The museum in the castle is full of fascinating exhibitions and collections, some from the area others from further afield. One of the most impressive were parts of the Norfolk landscape recreated lifesize in glass cases – the broads and the coast in particular.

One section was full of WW1 memorabilia including  focuses on individual soldiers, their medals, letters home, some belongings. Very interesting and very moving. Most of them made light of the conditions they were living and fighting in. One writer talked about his brother who he hadn’t seen around for a while and was worried he might have been killed – but was reassuring his parents that it would all turn out ok. As it happened, neither brother returned from the war.

After visiting the museum, we went for some lunch and then walked around the city a bit.

The Halls in Norwich, Norfolk is the most complete medieval friary complex surviving in this country and has been welcoming visitors since passing into civic hands in 1538. It’s now used for conferences and functions – what a lovely old building it is:

The Halls

Elm Hill is a historic cobbled lane in Norwich , it’s one of the loveliest old streets in the city and probably one of the best in the country according to the information given about it.  It is almost the same in appearance now as it was when most of the properties were last rebuilt after the major fire of 1507. At that time it was home to prosperous merchants, craftsmen and civic dignitaries who built the fine jettied houses with pantile roofs. It also contains one of the few buildings to survive the fire, the Briton’s Arms, as well as two medieval parish churches, historic riverside quays and part of the Norwich Blackfriars complex.

Elm Hill sign

The street got its name from the elm trees that have stood in the square since the first quarter of the 16th century when the Churchwardens of St Peter Hungate Church planted the first one. The tree there today is not an elm because of Dutch Elm Disease. The parish pump, though not the original, is sited near the tree. There is no record of the date when Elm Hill first came into being, but there is some evidence for its existence around 1200.

Elm Hill 1Elm Hill 2

ElmHill3Elm Hill 4

This one is just a random street – no idea which one, it just looked photo-worthy…

Street

Then we went to the cathedral. I don’t normally do churches and cathedrals but the entrance was free so…

Entrance to the cathedral:Cathedral 1

The cathedral was begun in 1096 and constructed out of flint and mortar and faced with a cream-coloured Caen limestone. A Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings. The cathedral was completed in 1145 with the Norman tower still seen today topped with a wooden spire covered with lead. Several episodes of damage necessitated rebuilding of the east end and spire but since the final erection of the stone spire in 1480 there have been few fundamental alterations to the fabric.

The Spire:

The Spire

The cathedral close is a beautiful space:

Cathedral Close

Cathedral Close 2

with statues to Nelson:

Nelson

and Wellington:

Wellington

And a modern Madonna and child sculpture by George Fullard. Designed in 1958, cast in 1978.

Madonna and Child

Inside the cathedral is a very impressive modern crucifix by Deborah Harrison:

Modern Crucifix

I really liked this globe with the candles in:

Globe

We Cromptons get everywhere:

Crompton

The cloisters:

Cloister 1

Cloister 2

Edith Cavell was a British nurse during the First World War. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without distinction and in helping over 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium.

Edith Louisa Cavell was born in Swardeston, a small village in Norfolk where her father was the Reverend, on December 4th, 1865. She had 3 younger siblings and you can still visit the house they grew up in known as “Cavell House”.

Edith moved to Belgium, where she worked as a Governess and she was soon fluent in French. She returned to Swardeston when her father became very unwell and Edith assisted with nursing him back to health. This act is what probably inspired Edith to become a nurse. She trained at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, under Eva Lückes. Edith wasn’t always the best student, Eva described her as unpunctual and not a nurse that could be relied on! However, Edith’s intentions were good!

During the war, Edith cared for all the wounded, regardless of nationality. She was greatly criticised by many at the time for assisting the German and Austrian soldiers, when they were fighting against the British. Edith soon began to work with others to smuggle the Allied soldiers that she was caring for, out of the hospital and into neutral Holland.

Arrest and Execution

After a lengthy investigation, the suspicions of the German Officials grew and Edith, along with others, was arrested. She knew of the implications in being involved with the underground, so Edith kept it a secret from many of her nurses.

When interrogated by the Officials, Edith provided all of the details surrounding the underground and she was sent to trial with 35 others. Most were sentenced to hard labour.

Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad in 1915. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

Her grave, monument and memorial are in the grounds of Norwich cathedral:

Edith’s grave:

Edith Grave

There’s also a bust of her and a memorial:

A very full day!!

 

 

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