East Nostalgic: Norwich

Workers at the Van Dal shoe factory in Norwich, pictured in the early 20th century. The factory open

Workers at the Van Dal shoe factory in Norwich, pictured in the early 20th century. The factory opened in 1936. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant Norfolk 2002

When entering Norwich you're met with a sign declaring it to be a 'fine city', it's an apt description. Not many who live, work and play in the city would disagree.

All dressed up in their Sunday best for a ride on the trams in around 1901. The driver is George Hil

All dressed up in their Sunday best for a ride on the trams in around 1901. The driver is George Hill who also drove the last tram in Norwich of 1935. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Norwich has an exotic history. It was founded between AD 400 and AD 600 by boatloads of Anglo-Saxon pirates who sacked the Roman town, Venta Icenorum, and settled where the river Yare joins the Wensum.

Hard on the heels of the invading pirates were invading Danes. But the city we know today was carved out by the Normans.

Over the centuries, Norwich developed its woollen trade and became an important financial and export centre. Times changed and prosperity tailed off as the industrial revolution fired up. Norwich's centuries of craft were on the way out and the East Anglian ports were on the wrong side of the country to serve the new world.

New trades sprang up. Shoe-making, brewing, printing, soap manufacture, engineering and mustard-making brought new hope. And so did the railways, opening Norfolk up to the rest of the country.

Traffic building up on Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, in 1937. That’s Mann Egerton’s motor showrooms

Traffic building up on Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, in 1937. That’s Mann Egerton’s motor showrooms on the left - Credit: Archant


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Thousands found work in the booming shoe trade; generations of families worked at Colmans, Caleys and other major employers. Others worked in the retail trade as Norwich became the regional shopping capital, with new department stores and unique corner shops.

Today, Norwich is a city that offers so much, including a thriving art and culture scene alongside being one of the UK's top shopping destinations.

Most Read

Our large selection of photographs display just why Norwich is the fast moving heart of Norfolk and draws in people both young and old from across East Anglia.

Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth) travelling in car down Gaol Hill Norwich, Dated: 18th June 1951

Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth) travelling in car down Gaol Hill Norwich, Dated: 18th June 1951 - Credit: Archant

Did you know?

The iconic Norwich City football club song, 'On The Ball City' is the oldest UK football chant that is still sung in the present day.

From our archives: Elephants march through Norwich on April 1 1952

From our archives: Elephants march through Norwich on April 1 1952 - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people turned out to watch as the doomed R101 passed over Norwich in 1929 to honour the

Hundreds of people turned out to watch as the doomed R101 passed over Norwich in 1929 to honour the B&P workers who helped to build it. They were cleared of any blame when it crashed less than a year later. Picture: EDP Library - Credit: Archant

Norwich city centre, date unknown

Norwich city centre, date unknown - Credit: Archant

L0450 Norwich head post office for sale 1969

L0450 Norwich head post office for sale 1969 - Credit: Archant

L0435 Dodger Kerrison with penny farthing bicycle jun 1 1967 Archant pic

L0435 Dodger Kerrison with penny farthing bicycle jun 1 1967 Archant pic - Credit: Archant

The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, chatting to one of the clickers (leather cutters) at Edwards & H

The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, chatting to one of the clickers (leather cutters) at Edwards & Holmes' factory in Norwich in June 1951. Also pictured, extreme left, Geoffrey Holmes, managing director of the company. Edwards & Holmes was bought by Van Dal (Florida Group) in 1987. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Jarrold's fashion show in Norwich, 23rd February 1966. Photo: Archant Library

Jarrold's fashion show in Norwich, 23rd February 1966. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Youth club dance in Norwich, 28th March 1971. Photo: Archant Library

Youth club dance in Norwich, 28th March 1971. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Woolworths on Rampant Horse Street in Norwich ini 1986. The building was bombed in 1942. Woolworths

Woolworths on Rampant Horse Street in Norwich ini 1986. The building was bombed in 1942. Woolworths moved out into new premises in St. Stephens in the late 1980s. - Credit: Archant

Norwich area Cubs scouts and venture scouts taking part in the fourth annual soap box derby races at

Norwich area Cubs scouts and venture scouts taking part in the fourth annual soap box derby races at Harford Cattle Market, 15th June 1985. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Unit beat, Norwich City Police, 6th February 1968. Photo: Archant Library

Unit beat, Norwich City Police, 6th February 1968. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

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