Hidden Norwich is in the spotlight again

MARK NICHOLLS A festival that highlights much of Norwich's hidden heritage looks set to be even bigger than last year's record-breaking event. As 'launch city' for Heritage Open Days 2005, Norwich put on an incredible 123 events over the four-day festival.

MARK NICHOLLS

By Mark Nicholls

A festival that highlights much of Norwich's hidden heritage looks set to be even bigger than last year's record-breaking event.

As 'launch city' for Heritage Open Days 2005, Norwich put on an incredible 123 events over the four-day festival.


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But there will be even more on offer in 2006.

The four-day HOD 2006 festival, co-ordinated by Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (Heart) from September 7-10, will feature 164 events.

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Sophie Cabot, from Norwich Heart, said: “Last year was a national record and we are fairly sure this year will be. Last year was the biggest ever but we did not think that needed to be the end of it.”

The national festival aims to showcase hidden aspects of cities or buildings that the public do not normally get access to and with admission to virtually everyone free of charge.

There are also walking tours, lectures and displays to accompany the event.

Last year, Norwich had around 100,000 visits to its HOD attractions over the four days, with many people going to several attractions. Heart will be looking to increase that number this year with even more places to visit.

Ms Cabot said: “We have got all the most popular events from last year being repeated, all the favourites are in there but we have also got new items as well.

“One thing we are focussing on this year is the retail heritage. A lot of the shops are having window displays. People might not think that there is much that is historic about them but a lot of them are in historic buildings. And those that are not in modern buildings are still taking part and in those cases we will be focussing on the history of the site.

“Even shops that have not got any room to open extra areas up to the public have opted to do displays in their windows with archive photographs and information. There will still be a lot to see.”

Heart has been working with traders group in Timber Hill, St Benedict's and the Norwich Lanes area close to the Guildhall in particular.

Both Cathedrals are taking part, often with areas not normally seen by the public specially opened up. There are other attractions further out of the city centre such as St Mark's Church at Lakenham and St Matthew's at Thorpe Hamlet.

The Great Hospital will have tours and there will be re-enactments with people in medieval costume.

Some of the city's best known medieval undercrofts will be opened up, City Hall clock tower made accessible to visitors and the Guildhall as well as Dragon Hall.

Ms Cabot added: “We aim to get as many people looking at the city from the point of view of heritage as we possibly can and get people thinking about the heritage that is all around them.”

The brochure for HOD 2006 in Norwich will be released on Monday in the Eastern Daily Press and the Evening News as well as in the tourist information centre, the libraries and the Guildhall.

For some of the events, advanced booking must be made as places are limited and these can be made from Monday .

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