City artwork celebrates Norwich textile heritage

A sculpture has been created to celebrate the history of Norwich's textile industry in the St Augustine's area.

Artist Charlotte Howarth spent about 15 days carving old words relating to the industry on a brick and stone column on a traffic island at the junction of Pitt Street with St Augustine's Street.

She said: 'The artwork features seven old words which are old fabric names used between the 13th and 19th century like grogrinette, ferrandines and bombazines. I love the sound of all the words. They are words that we never use in our language any more, and they were all drawn by hand and carved with a hammer and chisel.

'A lot of people asked me what they meant while I was working there, and I think it is a subtle way of promoting this history.'

Ms Howarth, who lives near Swaffham, added: 'The text creates a really nice pattern and when you look at it again you see the words.

'I like the way the letters move in a spiral down the column because there is traffic moving around the column and the letters echo that.'

The new column stands close to another column designed by Gary Breeze at the entrance to the Gildencroft Park in Pitt Street and which depicts images of knights jousting to reflect the use of the Gildencroft as a jousting ground in the middle ages.

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'The two columns are different but they are both designed to give the area a feel for its history,' said Ms Howarth. Stuart McClaren, secretary of St Augustine's Community Together Residents' Association, said: 'The new sculpture enhances the physical landscape of the area and celebrates the St Augustine's area's association with the textile industry. It is good that aspect of local history is celebrated because we want to make people aware we are a community with a heritage that goes back hundreds of years.'

The artwork was commissioned by Norwich City Council and paid for out of the budget for the St Augustine's gyratory scheme which implemented a one-way system in the area.

Mr McClaren said it was great to see the recent improvements to the St Augustine's area.

'Up to two years ago St Augustine's Street was a very rundown street mainly because of the volume of traffic. In the past two years there has been a tremendous turnaround and a sense of revival in the area,' he said.

Do you have a story about a new art project in the city? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email