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Take a look at the changing face of one of our city's most iconic streets

PUBLISHED: 19:57 27 March 2018 | UPDATED: 19:57 27 March 2018

21st century Westlegate. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

21st century Westlegate. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

People power has finally returned to historic Westlegate in the heart of Norwich after decades of cars, vans and lorries.

The way it was in Westlegate, Norwich, of 1948. Picture: Archant LibraryThe way it was in Westlegate, Norwich, of 1948. Picture: Archant Library

These pictures illustrate how the road has changed over the years and is now part of the ever-increasing pedestrian precinct.

There was a time when Westlegate was a narrow lane and when the earliest photograph was taken of the people wandering about, there was a building which could be in danger of collapse so a post right across the street was holding it up.

Deacons great fish and chip shop at the corner of Red Lion Street and Westlegate goes back many years and it was incorporated in the new development.

Also in the old street were the famous HQ of Watlings which stayed put while the Merriken-Smith school of Dancing later moved to Elm Hill. Not forgetting an egg-packing station.

Mind that post. The building could collapse. Westlegate in the 1920s. Picture: Archant LibraryMind that post. The building could collapse. Westlegate in the 1920s. Picture: Archant Library

Charles Watling, a famous city father, ran his carriers business with the slogan: “This is Watlings – this was.”

Norwich Union had offices in the old picture, and later built new ones, there was also a meeting place for the Latter Day Saints.

When the road was widened the old Ipswich Tavern was rebuilt and Norkett’s electrical shop was a popular business.

Some things haven’t changed.

21st century Westlegate. Picture : ANTONY KELLY21st century Westlegate. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The landmark 16th century All Saint’s Church still dominated the far end of the street and beneath its power is the thatched gable of the picturesque and much-photographed greengrocer’s shop which was once a public-house with a name like no other – the Barking Dickey.

The building was saved – probably because of its thatch – and today it looks better than 
ever and is Warings charming cafe and shop.

And who would have thought that Westlegate Tower, the controversial office block built in 1959 which had been abandoned, could look so smart now and be a landmark in 21st century city life.

Mind you, do you remember the days of Purdy’s, the trendy 60s coffee shop which was part of the original development and open 24 hours a day for a time?

21st century Westlegate. Picture : ANTONY KELLY21st century Westlegate. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

This young generation tend to forgot that us “oldies” also knew how to enjoy ourselves... Purdy’s during the week, a weekend jive at the Norman School of Dancing and then a visit to the Golden Egg.

What more could you ask for!



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