December 12 2013 Latest news:
Monday, February 4, 2013
A Norfolk man has filmed documentary footage inside a well-known Norwich eyesore, which is scheduled for demolition.
It wouldn’t be most people’s first choice if asked which Norwich building they’d most like to take a sneak tour around.
However, thanks to a video by a Norfolk man, people can enjoy a glimpse inside one of the city’s most notorious eyesores – Sovereign House.
The video is the work of Chris Richmond, who lives near Fakenham and spent about a month filming and compiling footage inside the building, which looms over Anglia Square in north Norwich.
Built in the late 1960s, and once the home of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office until it was privatised in 1996, the former office block is set for demolition as part of the long-awaited revamp of Anglia Square.
Mr Richmond’s 24-minute video History of HMSO Sovereign House Before its Imminent Demolition, is part of a project he started three years ago called Norfolk Uncovered, which is a series of short documentaries about the less-known and less-obvious relics and ruins of the county. Mr Richmond, who is a bus driver, said: “The video outlines the building’s history with some original photos donated by former HMSO employee, Reg Walker, who worked at Sovereign House from 1968 to 1996. Mr Walker joined me on a special visit to Sovereign House, courtesy of Stewart Porter of Anglia Square. He showed us around his former workplace and told some stories about what it was like to work there.”
The office block was once described as one of the best Modernist buildings in the city, and is said to reflect an interesting period of English architecture, the so-called Brutalist movement which spawned many buildings now regarded as masterpieces.
Mr Richmond said it was typical of 1960s architecture.
“I like it for what it is,” he said, “which is typical of the period when it was built. Inside, all the furniture has been taken out, and it’s been stripped down.”
Centenary Ashcroft secured permission for the multi-million pound regeneration of Anglia Square in 2008.
But when the credit crunch hit in 2009, developers had to scale back the plans before putting them on ice until market conditions had recovered – where they remain to this day.
That has left Anglia Square in the shade while areas around nearby St Augustine’s Street have been transformed.