Magdalen Street and Anglia Square traders push to get more shoppers in north of Norwich

Members of the MATA (Magdalen Street area & Anglia Square Traders Association). Traders are pictured

Members of the MATA (Magdalen Street area & Anglia Square Traders Association). Traders are pictured with a new guide.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The rich heritage of one of Norwich's oldest shopping streets could be brought to the fore in an attempt to shake off a reputation which traders say is undeserved.

Dipping into the past could help to preserve the future of Magdalen Street and Anglia Square, according to an association of traders set up to help boost the area.

The Magdalen Street Area and Anglia Square Traders Association (MATA) has been formed to trumpet the sort of shops and services the area has to offer and to present a unified voice in making the case for improvements.

And one way they hope to attract more shoppers to the area is to make more of Magdalen Street's history, with the possibility of plaques telling the stories of the buildings, some of which date back to the 1600s.

Eric Kirk, chairman of MATA, and manager of Anglia Square, said: 'For years, the area has been ignored, but, thanks to the association's strength, we are being taken seriously by the city council.

'We had a recent meeting with four of the most senior figures from the city council and they are being very supportive, with refuse removal and street cleaning. If a place is clean and tidy that makes it more attractive.

'One of our main aims is to get rid of the area's undeserved reputation and to shout about everything it has to offer. And one of those things is that it is such an historic street.

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'We have been talking to the council about how we can mark the historic buildings in the street. One idea is to have a descriptive board somewhere near the flyover showing the locations of them, with plaques or markers on the buildings themselves.

'A lot of people have an interest in the city's history. The more interest we can create, the more people will talk about the area and the more people talk, the more people will come to visit us.'

Among the historic buildings which Magdalen Street boasts is Martineau House. Social theorist and writer Harriet Martineau was brought up there, having been born just off the street, in Gurney Court.

She was born in the same bed - 25 years later - as her cousin Elizabeth Fry. Fry was a prison reformer who is pictured on £5 notes.

The association has also just produced a new shopping guide for the area which highlights the cultural and architectural importance of the area.

• What do you think of Magdalen Street and Anglia Square? Do you shop there? You can leave your comments below.

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