Quirky book takes a sideways look at Norwich's curious landmarks

Three Wise Monkeys by Alex Johanssen at Waterloo Park

Three Wise Monkeys by Alex Johanssen at Waterloo Park - Credit: Clive Lloyd

It must rank as one of the finest books in recent times on the Fine City. Derek James takes a sideways look at Colonel Unthank’s Norwich

From pizza dough and lampshades to angels in tights and from early doors to fancy bricks….this is a book with so much to offer.

The author takes us on a stroll in and around the city uncovering some wonderful facts and figures, tales and yarns  – ancient and modern.

Some of you will know Clive Lloyd from his regular blogs on his website (www.colonelunthanksnorwich.com) which are very popular.

The site is named after the colonel as Clive once lived on Unthank Road and became fascinated by the unusual family name. Three of them were colonels.

And he also tweets about local history under the user name of @ReggieUnthank, formed by adding the first name of a favourite uncle who also pops up in the book.
So how did all this start?

“Not being born in Norwich I have an incomer’s curiosity for the way my adopted city came to look the way it does,” said Clive, a retired project leader in Cell Biology at the John Innes Centre.

Three years ago he wrote a book, Colonel Unthank and the Golden Triangle, and now he has put on his walking shoes to come up with his latest offering Colonel Unthank’s Norwich: A Sideways Look At The City.

Most Read

But Clive does not stick to the well-worn paths…he wanders well off the beaten track.

This is a history book with a difference and the chances are you will discover many things you didn’t know about Norwich, its buildings, its people, and how it has changed and developed over so many years.

The Norwich Coat-of-Arms, 1960

The Norwich Coat-of-Arms, 1960 - Credit: Clive Lloyd

He says it: “It was never my intention to write a head-on history of the city. I hope instead that this sense of drifting materializes in the book, explaining the eclectic selection of topics.

“Nevertheless patterns emerge as the same names and places crop up in different contexts. In this way I learned more about the  Dukes of Norfolk while researching the Duke Street car park than I did from rehearsing the timeline of the Howard family.” So, rather than head-on, face first, this is a deliberately sideways look at Norwich…and that is what makes it so readable.

Colonel Unthank's Norwich by Clive Lloyd

Colonel Unthank's Norwich by Clive Lloyd - Credit: Clive Lloyd

For example: “The outside lampshades in Pizza Express in the Norwich Forum were decorated with molecular models of the four DNA bases that are sufficient to make the entire genetic code – a surprising course for a fast food restaurant.

“The penny dropped when I saw these models repeated around an image of Sir Paul Nurse, the city’s own Nobel Prize winner. Paul had devoted his career to the study of yeast genetics and this explained the connection between yeast genetics and this explained the connection between yeast and pizza dough,” writes Clive.

“All credit to Pizza Express for choosing this theme for a pizza restaurant,” he says.

If this little clip gives you an appetite for the book, which is designed in such an attractive way by Karen Roseberry, then Colonel Unthank’s Norwich: A Sideways Look at the City by Clive Lloyd is on sale at Jarrold and at City Books, in Davey Place, Norwich, (both do mail order) plus Waterstones in Castle Street where you can click and collect. Price £14.99.