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Festival offers chance to browse through Norwich's historic book archive

PUBLISHED: 12:01 22 November 2015 | UPDATED: 12:01 22 November 2015

Medieval and ancient books which people will be able to handle and study as part of Unlocking the Archive Festival. Festival organiser Tom Roebuck, and Sophie Butler, with books from the old Norwich City Library. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Medieval and ancient books which people will be able to handle and study as part of Unlocking the Archive Festival. Festival organiser Tom Roebuck, and Sophie Butler, with books from the old Norwich City Library. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2015

From the first book ever printed in Norwich to 17th century tomes looking at the history of the world - people are being invited to discover the great stories on the pages of ancient books from the city's archives.

Unlocking the Archive, a free festival of events celebrating Norwich’s collections of medieval and renaissance manuscripts and books, is taking place this week.

The highlight of the festival is an interactive Norwich’s Renaissance Books event, people will be given the chance to look through some of the centuries-old books at the Norfolk Heritage Centre based in the Forum.

Many of the books in this collection come from the Norwich City Library, originally founded in 1608, and the collection of Jeremiah James Colman and his descendants.

And far from the literary treasures being kept behind glass, people will be able to handle the books and turn their ancient pages.

Medieval and ancient books which people will be able to handle and study as part of Unlocking the Archive Festival. Books from the old Norwich City Library which are stores at the Central Library at the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMedieval and ancient books which people will be able to handle and study as part of Unlocking the Archive Festival. Books from the old Norwich City Library which are stores at the Central Library at the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The books have also inspired a family activity day at the Forum on Sunday.

Other Unlocking the Archive events have included a politics and public culture workshop at Norfolk Record Office earlier this week and a workshop entitled The Feast Day of St Edmund at Norwich Cathedral this afternoon.

Dr Tom Roebuck, a lecturer in renaissance literature at the University of East Anglia and organiser of Unlocking the Archive, said: “All these events are designed to make Norwich’s medieval and renaissance books accessible to the whole community here in East Anglia.”

He added: “Our festival aims to bring a fascinating, beautiful and hugely important aspect of Norwich’s heritage to light, and to make it available to the whole community.”

Unlocking the Archive runs until Sunday and is part of the national Being Human festival of humanities.

The University of East Anglia is working with Norfolk Record Office, Norfolk Heritage Centre, Norwich Cathedral, and the Forum on Unlocking the Archive events.

For more details follow @archiveunlocked on Twitter and visit www.facebook.com/unlockingthearchive

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk



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