No monkeying around as George finds new Norwich shop icon

One of the most popular shopping landmarks in Norwich was brought back to life last night.

The spinning monkey in Stompers children's shoe shop in the Royal Arcade has been conspicuous in its absence from the store's shop window for the last four months.

Over the last 15 years the monkey has become an iconic figure for adults and children alike walking through Royal Arcade.

After owners Tim and Xian Catmull could no longer find the parts needed to keep their old monkey in working order, they had to look overseas to Denmark to find a quality replacement.

But in the meantime one of their loyal customers, 13-year-old George Wilson, from Aylsham, stepped in to keep the tradition alive.

Since April the Aylsham High School student has had a monkey model that he made at school taking pride of place.

It took him around five hour-long lessons in his resistant materials class to make his wooden, mechanical monkey model – which flexes at the knees to move the monkey in a circular motion – which he then donated to Stompers.

Most Read

George said: 'It's always been amazing coming here ever since I was younger. It has never been known as Stompers in our house, it was always the monkey shop.

'So it's good to know that my model has gone somewhere and been used rather than just being stuck in a loft.'

George's mum, Katie, had always been pleased with the service she received at the children's footwear store and now brings younger sons Harry, nine, and Charlie, four, to Stompers for their shoes.

'George has been coming here since his first pair of shoes when he was about 18 months old,' Mrs Wilson said. 'So over more than a decade this place has become the monkey shop to our family. We came past one day and saw the monkey was gone from the window and it was just a huge tragedy to my boys.'

The youngster has now allowed the store to keep his monkey model alongside its new Danish spinning monkey.

Store owner Mr Catmull added: 'We have been here for 15 years, since 1996, and the original reason for the monkey was because no one knew we were here.

'And it obviously worked because since we have not had the monkey we have had about 10 people a day asking where the monkey is.

'So we really appreciate what George has done for us, to give us his model to sit in place.'

Have you got a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter