Hidden Norwich: Have you ever noticed these quirky carvings on Jarrold department store?

Have you spotted these carvings on the front of Jarrold Department Store in Norwich? Photo: Courtney

Have you spotted these carvings on the front of Jarrold Department Store in Norwich? Photo: Courtney Pochin - Credit: Archant

Jarrold department store has been standing in Norwich city centre since the early 1900s, but have you ever noticed these decorative details?

Have you spotted these carvings on the front of Jarrold Department Store in Norwich? Photo: Courtney

Have you spotted these carvings on the front of Jarrold Department Store in Norwich? Photo: Courtney Pochin - Credit: Archant

The building's ornate frontage was designed by architect George John Skipper in 1903, however the red brick facade located at 7 London Street wasn't always part of the store.

Initially this section was Skipper's office and as such various carvings were incorporated in the design to showcase the work of architects and builders.

The carvings are thought to have been created by James Minns, an employee at Guntons in Costessey. Minns is well-known for having carved the large angels inside St Michael the Archangel's Church in Booton.

Guntons were also responsible for manufacturing Cosseyware, the type of terracotta the carvings were made out of.

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So who was George John Skipper?

Born in East Dereham in 1856, Skipper was educated at the Bracondale School in Norwich, before training as an architect in London.

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After completing his studies, he returned to work in his father's building firm in Norwich, before setting up his own business in 1879.

His first job was designing the town hall at Cromer.

Skipper went on to work on many of Norwich's iconic buildings, including the Royal Arcade, Surrey House and the Commercial Chambers on Red Lion Street.

Writer and Poet, Sir John Betjeman once said of him: 'He is altogether remarkable and original. He was to Norwich what Gaudi was to Barcelona'.

Skipper died in 1948 and is burried in the Earlham Road Cemetery, Norwich.

• Have you spotted something interested in Norwich and would like to know more about it? Email courtney.pochin@archant.co.uk

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