Call for hotel development to correct 'error' in building's name


Chamberlins department store.

Developers behind a new hotel in the heart of Norwich are being urged to name it in recognition of the family department store which used to be in the building.

Proposals for the multi-million pound, 91-bed hotel above Tesco Metro in Guildhall Hill were given the go-ahead by Norwich City Council's planning committee last month.

Tesco Metro on Guildhall Hill, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The hotel will be based in Chamberlain House, above Tesco Metro. - Credit: Archant

Empty offices in the building would be turned into hotel rooms, with an extension where the superstore's loading yard is.

There would also be a guest restaurant and two new retail units at the back. The Tesco store would remain.

And Brundall Local History Group says it is an opportunity to recall a slice of Norwich history - and to correct what seems to have been a mistake in the name of the building.

The building used to be home to Chamberlins - the most celebrated store in the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, founded by Henry Chamberlin in 1815.

Yet the building is called Chamberlain, not Chamberlin, House.

Chamberlain House in Norwich

Chamberlain House in Norwich. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

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With the Chamberlin family having links to Brundall, the village's local history group says the new hotel should include the correctly-spelt Chamberlin name.

Barbara Ayers, Brundall Local History Group secretary, said: "A sign outside the building now says Chamberlain House, but as recently as 1998 and 1999 there were advertisements in the EDP for office space in Chamberlin House in Dove Street, giving its traditional spelling.

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"Brundall Local History Group suggests that the name of the new development reverts to the original spelling, Chamberlin, in order to recall a piece of Norwich history.

"We think this too good an opportunity to miss to correct an error and ensure an iconic name is not lost to the city centre for ever."

Plans for Chamberlain House in Norwich

Plans for the new hotel, as seen from Pottergate. - Credit: AWW

Henry Chamberlin's great grandson Charles was rector of the Brundall's St Laurence Church from 1898 to 1940 and is buried in the village's churchyard.

John Walker of Norwich-based property consultants, Ward Hill Walker, said: “The anomaly about the spelling has always been a matter of some discussion, while the background on the family provided by the group adds to the building’s history.

"We will certainly pass this information on to the hotel operator as soon as they are confirmed.”

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