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New project brings Anglia Square and northern Norwich into focus

PUBLISHED: 16:33 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:33 09 July 2019

The Common Lot performing Anglia Square: A Love Story. Picture: ROBERT EKE

The Common Lot performing Anglia Square: A Love Story. Picture: ROBERT EKE

Robert Eke

It features an eclectic mix of shops and hides a wealth of history.

Simon Floyd, creative director of Anglia Square: A Love Story by the Common Lot, Maggie Wheeler (left), front of house manager, and Jacqui Mackay, project manager, in front of one of the 120 posters promoting Norwich's Magdalen Street and the surrounding area. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIESimon Floyd, creative director of Anglia Square: A Love Story by the Common Lot, Maggie Wheeler (left), front of house manager, and Jacqui Mackay, project manager, in front of one of the 120 posters promoting Norwich's Magdalen Street and the surrounding area. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

And now the views of Magdalen Street, the surrounding streets and Anglia Square in the northern area of Norwich can be seen by shoppers and visitors.

Some 120 posters revealing interesting historical facts, as well as what people think of the area, are on shop windows, walls, lamp posts and the Anglia Square flyover until the end of this week.

They were put up by The Common Lot - a Norwich-based collective which puts on community theatre - and are part of its year-long project Anglia Square: A Love Story.

It launched in December last year and was prompted by the controversial decision by Norwich City Council to redevelop Anglia Square - despite numerous objections.

One of the posters promoting Norwich's Magdalen Street and its surrounding streets created by The Common Lot collective for its Anglia Square: A Love Story heritage project. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIEOne of the posters promoting Norwich's Magdalen Street and its surrounding streets created by The Common Lot collective for its Anglia Square: A Love Story heritage project. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

A planning inquiry is due to be held over that decision next year.

Comments about Anglia Square feature among the displays.

Jacqui Mackay, project manager of Anglia Square: A Love Story, said: "What we are able to do is capture a lot of differing opinions. The project gives the community the opportunity to reflect on what the area means to them."

The opinions and history were gathered by over 40 volunteers.

One of the posters promoting Norwich's Magdalen Street and its surrounding streets created by The Common Lot collective for its Anglia Square: A Love Story heritage project. Anglia Square is pictured in the background. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIEOne of the posters promoting Norwich's Magdalen Street and its surrounding streets created by The Common Lot collective for its Anglia Square: A Love Story heritage project. Anglia Square is pictured in the background. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

Students aged seven to 15 from Sewell Park Academy, Wensum Junior School, George White Junior School, Mile Cross Primary School and Angel Road Junior School, all in Norwich, also formed part of the project in terms of gathering oral and written histories.

Alongside the posters, The Common Lot created its Anglia Square: A Love Story production which features the same history, stories and opinions collated by its volunteers.

The free show starts at the Garth behind the Norwich University of the Arts and ends up at Anglia Square and takes place across three venues.

Simon Floyd, creative director of the project, said: "It is about raising awareness of the north of the city. When you think of Norwich you don't think of the working industrial part that built its wealth. Norwich's radical history is really important."

Anglia Square on Magdalen Street, Norwich. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIEAnglia Square on Magdalen Street, Norwich. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

Mr Floyd who described the area as "diverse" added the show asked people what they wanted for the future of Anglia Square and the surrounding area.

Anglia Square: A Love Story is being performed on July 12 and 13 at 7.30pm and on July 14 at 3pm.

Facts and history

One of the posters promoting Norwich's Magdalen Street and its surrounding streets created by The Common Lot collective for its Anglia Square: A Love Story heritage project. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIEOne of the posters promoting Norwich's Magdalen Street and its surrounding streets created by The Common Lot collective for its Anglia Square: A Love Story heritage project. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

Differing opinions and historical variety are a feature of the Anglia Square: A Love Story poster project.

Below are a sample of some of the views and historical facts.

"Anglia Square's great. It means we don't have to go all the way to Tesco."

"Used to be the hub of Norwich - look at it now. It's just getting worse and worse."

"It's all gone downhill round here. It's nothing like it was."

"This area is Norwich's Brick Lane."

"The people in the shops are nice."

"I can't wait for it to be done over."

The building, currently used by The Last Wine Bar was once the largest shoe factory in Europe.

On September 5, 1942, five people were killed during a bombing raid on Magdalen Street.

Trams began running on Magdalen Street in April 1900. The Norwich Electric Tram Company carried 20,000 passengers on its first day.

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