Norwich Street Photographs

Previous street: St Miles Alley

St Peter's St:
        From St Giles' St / Lower Goat Lane / Market Place to Haymarket
Bethel St

      West side
St Peter's St 3 to 5 [0333] 1934-12-07
St Peter's St 5 Georgian doorway [0420] 1935-03-24
St Peter's St 7 to 9 Pope's Head Yard entry [0332] 1934-12-07
Entrance to former Pope's Head and Beehive PHs.
St Peter's St Pope's Head Yard view east [0336] 1934-12-11
No 7 was once the Beehive public house. This was a late Georgian building that retained to the last a shop front of that period. Adjoining was Pope's Head Yard with the inn of that name, described by Walter Wicks as one of the oldest in Norwich, since the sign no doubt pre-dated the Reformation.
St Peter's St Pope's Head Yard view west [0331] 1934-12-07
St Peter's St 11 to 13 [0329] 1934-12-07
Wounded Hart Lane St Peter's St view east [0330] 1934-12-07
South side of lane.
St Peter's St 15 to 17 former Wounded Hart [0335] 1934-12-11
17 was the former Wounded Hart PH, renamed as Kitchener's Arms during the Great War. It was also originally the Wounded Heart an emblematical representation of the Heart of the Holy Virgin pierced by five swords in allusion to the prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation in the Temple. A portion of the staircase with its balustrade as well as a fireplace surround was earmarked for preservation when the property was demolished. Another half-timbered house stood just behind in Wounded Hart Lane, its site now covered by the City Hall steps.
St Peter's St 15 to 19 [0308] 1934-11-26
St Peter's St 21 to 25 [0328] 1934-12-07
St Peter's St Rackham's Court view west [0334] 1934-12-11
Formerly St Peter's Court. In 1883 Rackham and sons had a business here.
St Peter's St view north from Bethel St [0307] 1934-11-26
For 29 St Peter's St see 1 Bethel St.
Site cleared before building view SE [0497] 1935-04-22
Site cleared before building view east [0498] 1935-04-22
The location of the City Hall was settled many years before it was built and the various properties on the site were gradually acquired by the Corporation. An architectural competition for the design of the new building was held in 1930. After a delay of some three years, due to Government policy, constructional work was started in 1935 and the major portion of the building was opened by King George VI in October 1938. Plans for the completion of the building were in the course of preparation and had received the Minister of Health's approval in 1939, but construction work had not commenced when war broke out.
Clock tower bell on lorry [2491] 1938-06-20
The clock bell did not escape its share of the criticism when the City Hall was built, being referred to as "death knelly" because of its deep sound. I was fortunate in being able to photograph it immediately on its arrival in Norwich on 20th June 1938, before it was unloaded and hoisted 185 feet up to its belfry. It weighs 55 cwt 25 lb (2.8 tons) and has a diameter of 65.5 inches. The inscription reads "Gillett and Johnston Ltd., Founders, Croydon. City of Norwich, 1937".
Clock tower bell on lorry rear [2492] 1938-06-20
Tower corner masts before erection [2410] 1938-05-15
City Hall and Market Place clear of stalls [2848] 1938-11-05
City Hall and Market Place [2891] 1939-03-12
Foundation stone architect names [2417] 1938-05-21
Laid 24th September 1936, on behalf of the architects Charles Holloway James and Stephen Rowland Pierce, by Sir Ernest White.
Foundation stone Lord Mayor name [2418] 1938-05-21
Laid 24th September 1936, by the Lord Mayor Councillor Walter Riley.
St Peter's St bronze lion south [2407] 1938-05-15
St Peter's St bronze lion north [2408] 1938-05-15
Bronze lions sculpted by Alfred Hardiman A.R.A.
St Peter's St main entrance bronze doors [2406] 1938-05-15
Bronze plaques by James Woodford A.R.A.
Door 1 bottom plaque aeroplane building [2918] 1939-04-08
Door 1 centre plaque building City Hall [2914] 1939-04-08
Door 1 top plaque wine bottling [2404] 1938-05-15
Door 2 bottom plaque making wire netting [2919] 1939-04-08
Door 2 centre plaque brewing industry [2415] 1938-05-21
Door 2 top plaque soda water works [2414] 1938-05-21
Door 3 bottom plaque Black Death [2419] 1938-05-23
Door 3 centre plaque historical implements [2915] 1939-04-08
Door 3 top plaque castle building [2401] 1938-05-15
Door 4 bottom plaque Robert Kett execution [2420] 1938-05-23
Door 4 centre plaque historical implements [2916] 1939-04-08
Door 4 top plaque Viking landing [2413] 1938-05-21
Door 5 bottom plaque shoe making [2892] 1939-03-12
Door 5 centre plaque cattle market [2412] 1938-05-21
Door 5 top plaque chocolate making [2397] 1938-05-15
Door 6 bottom plaque weaving [2398] 1938-05-15
Door 6 centre plaque cattle market [2421] 1938-05-23
Door 6 top plaque mustard making [2411] 1938-05-21
Statues of Recreation Wisdom and Education [2442] 1938-06-10
Carved by Alfred Hardiman A.R.A.
St Peter's St facade illuminated [2821] 1938-10-27
The Guildhall for over 500 years was the seat of local government in Norwich. Until the Municipal Reform Act of 1835 this had been sufficient for the purpose, but from that time onwards the duties and responsibilities of the Corporation began to grow. Order was kept by the new police, who first appeared in public on lst March 1836. Ten years later powers were delegated to the Watch Committee to appoint a fire brigade of six men, whose business it was to attend all fires in Norwich with the Corporation engine; this came to be housed in the old felons' room of the Guildhall, requiring a doorway of suitable width to be constructed on the north side, leading to Guildhall Hill.
The flint-faced wing adjoining to the south of the Guildhall was built in 1861 a cost of £800 in place of the 18c brick porch and other outbuildings. Designed by Thomas Barry, the city architect, the new wing provided offices for the Town Clerk and Chief Constable, as well as a waiting room and two cells.
This accommodation did not long suffice, and in 1876 the Oxford Hotel on the west side of the market opposite the Guildhall was purchased. By degrees the entire block was absorbed, and as Corporation business grew still more, mansions in St Giles' St and elsewhere were adapted and a "tin hut" for the police was provided on the site of the old Butchery.
In the meantime, in 1898, the fire engine had been moved to new headquarters in Pottergate.
Although in that same year the council passed a resolution recognising that something more would have to be done, and plans were even drawn up for new offices on the east side of St Peter's St, time and again the decision to build was deferred. Nevertheless, bit-by-bit property was acquired on a site opposite to that originally proposed, between St Giles' and Bethel St, and plans were drawn up for a range of new buildings on this large site to accommodate all the Corporation's many services. The new fire station in Bethel St was completed in 1934, and four years later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth came to Norwich to open the City Hall.
At the time the design of the latter did not meet with unqualified approval - the comedian Norman Long likened it to a marmalade factory. (A year or so previously somebody else had compared the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon to a jam factory.) The clock tower was picked out for particular criticism partly because of its estimated cost and also because of fears that it would dwarf the Guildhall. Nevertheless, nowadays the building has come to be accepted as a worthy enhancement to the municipal centre of Norwich.
Civic Week torchlight procession model [2826] 1938-10-27
Illuminated model of the City Hall in torchlight procession.
Civic Week crowds at opening of City Hall [2829] 1938-10-29
The culmination of the week's events was a visit by Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in order to open the newly completed City Hall (Saturday 29th October 1938).
City Hall steps Christmas tree [3674] 1947-12-23
Festival City Hall with banners [3998] 1951-06-21
City Hall display fire engines arrive [4313] 1955-06-23
Two fire engines arrive and the escape ladder is run up... a dummy is lowered from the escape ladder by rope... the ambulance arrives and stretcher bearers stand by ready to receive the "casualty"... who is then carried away... hoses are connected to the fire tender... firemen play their hoses to extinguish the flames... the escape ladder is lowered.
This picture shows someone attempting to move part of a lamp standard that the fire-engine had just demolished, having rounded the corner from Bethel St somewhat carelessly. This was not an intended part of the display. Some weeks later, the fireman responsible, Geoffrey Browne (45) of 455 Sprowston Rd, was found guilty of driving his fire engine carelessly, had his licence endorsed and fined £3 by the city magistrates. His defence said it would have been a pretty poor demonstration if the fire appliance had come round the corner at only four miles an hour, and blamed vehicles that had been parked right up to the corner.
City Hall display escape ladder extended [4314] 1955-06-23
Norwich Civic week 18th to 25th June 1955, one of the more popular features of which was a fire display, twice daily, in front of the City Hall.
City Hall display lowering dummy [4315] 1955-06-23
City Hall display stretcher bearers arrive [4316] 1955-06-23
City Hall display hoses connected [4317] 1955-06-23
City Hall display dummy lowered on ropes [4318] 1955-06-23
City Hall display ladder being lowered [4319] 1955-06-23
City Hall display hoses playing [4320] 1955-06-23
Ambulance station excavation City Hall rear [4888] 1965-04-16
City Hall from Malthouse Rd car park roof [6270] 1983-07-12
St Peter's St 31 former White Swan Inn [1305] 1936-08-23
Immediately within the shadow of St Peter Mancroft's tower stood No 31 St Peter's St, formerly the White Swan. Records show it to have been an inn as far back as the 15c, and although during the 20c it was occupied by a firm of wholesale grocers and latterly by motorcycle factors, many of the structural features of the earlier period remained, including the bar parlour, the cellars and a large assembly room. It was in this room that plays were enacted by the Norwich Company of Comedians before Thomas Ivory built his New Theatre in 1757-8, and as late as 1820 a "ballet of action and dance" and a masquerade were being advertised as taking place at the "Little Theatre, Swan inn". In addition to this it was, during the 18c, one of the city's well-known coaching inns (it is mentioned several times by Parson Woodforde in his 18c diary); the journey to London was made in one day.
In 1936 when the future of the old inn was first threatened, Sidney Glendenning wrote to the Press as follows:
"The old White Swan is a more interesting building than the casual observer realises. It is a very substantial oak timber-framed building, probably of about the same date as the Strangers' Club on Elm Hill... the frontage, which is supposed to look like a brick wall, is simply a covering of hanging tiles, shaped to look like bricks, concealing the brown oak framework and plaster filling of the Tudor house. This was due to a fashion for modernising in late Georgian times. Underneath is one of the best groined cellars in Norwich, belonging to an earlier building on this site and dating from the 15c or thereabouts..."
It was not until 1961 that the site was finally cleared and a car park established in front of the Central Public Library.
St Peter's St 31 yard entrance carved posts [2115] 1938-03-06
St Peter's St 31 carved bracket [2138] 1938-03-08
One feature considered worthy of preservation was a quaint little wooden figure forming a supporting bracket at one end of the first floor jetty. This is now an exhibit in the Bridewell museum, Norwich.
St Peter's St 31 White Swan Inn Yard N side [4585] 1960-09-18
The room used as a play-house was that on the first floor of the north wing, lit by the four large sash windows.
St Peter's St 31 White Swan Inn Yard S side [4591] 1961-04-16
St Peter's St 31 demolition from Bethel St [4592] 1961-05-05
St Peter's St 31 demolition playhouse wall [4593] 1961-05-05
Former White Swan Inn. Demolition May 1961. Interior east wall of the old play-house is visible on the first floor.
St Peter's St 31 demolition from yard [4594] 1961-05-05
St Peter's St 31 White Swan Inn S wing rear [4598] 1961-05-07
St Peter's St 31 White Swan Inn 15c cellar [4608] 1961-05-31
Groined cellar visible after partial demolition.
St Peter's St 33 [2870] 1939-02-07
With timber framework revealed.
St Peter's St 33 to 35 Free Trade PH [1358] 1936-08-30
        East side
St Peter's St Mancroft Yard entrance [0397] 1935-03-17
Mancroft Yard, which lay behind the neighbouring Free Trade Tavern, was pulled down at the beginning of the Second World War. It had been described by Ian Hannah as "a good example of fine old 15c buildings converted into squalid tenements". There were in fact two yards here, one behind the other, with the gabled timber-framed building illustrated lying between the two. At the street entrance (but now preserved in one of the Norwich museums) was a small wooden arch bearing the grocers' arms and a merchant's mark in one spandrel and the initials "M.B." in the other. These could be the initials of Margaret Barnard, who lived here in 1626, or those of Michael Beverley, Mayor in 1692, to whom the property later belonged. He was a grocer, but the character of the archway seems earlier than the latter part of the 17c. On the other hand in 1626 it was certainly unusual, if not unknown, for women to use such a mark and arms.
St Peter's St Mancroft Yard entrance arch [2347] 1938-04-17
St Peter's St Mancroft Yard house east side [1339] 1936-08-29
St Peter's St Mancroft Yard house east side [3200] 1939-08-07
From first courtyard.
St Peter's St Mancroft Yard house view NE [2160] 1938-03-13
Inner courtyard.
St Peter's St Mancroft Yard house west side [2159] 1938-03-13
Michael Beverley's house from inner courtyard.
St Peter's St Penfold type pillar box [7913] 2003-02-18
Replica penfold box.
St Peter Mancroft floodlit from SW [5734] 1977-03-12
"A tower, N and S porches, nave, N and S aisles, N and S transepts, chancel aisles and treasury.....Entirely rebuilt and finished in 1455, it stretches between two thoroughfares, and therefore has arches on the S and N of tower and a passage under the E end so that processions around the building could be on consecrated ground.....The tower is very fine with rectangular buttresses, niched and canopied in all stages....The buttresses merge at the top with crocketted octagonal turrets....The west front has deeply recessed jambs to doorway with two rows of ornaments, one with shields in traceried panels and one with quatrefoils....A great W window with the emblems of St Peter and St Paul in the spandrils. The tower is crowned with a modern fleche after the style of that at East Harling. At the E end of the chancel are fine octagonal turrets, the drums pierced and traceried and with crocketted tops. The magnificent clerestory of 17 large three-light windows, has very narrow piers between them with little buttresses outside. The interior is most impressive. At the W end is a nobly moulded and lofty tower arch, with ringers gallery below it. The nave and chancel are continuous, and have the fine feature of the aisles stopping one bay short of the E end to admit windows N and S to light the altar. The loft arcades on clustered columns have canopied niches above the piers, supporting a short shaft capped with large angels from which spring the wall-posts. The lovely roof is similar to those at Ringland and Framlingham (Suff.) but is finer than any of them. It is a hammer-beam and arch-braced roof, but the hammer-beams are concealed by fine vaulting....The font was undoubtedly a Seven Sacrament one though the panels are completely obliterated.....It stands on two traceried steps and has a remarkable 15c canopy 5' 6" square like Trunch. The 10" carved posts at the corners are all that remain of the original canopy, the top being a poor restoration. Space will not permit me to describe the wonderful glass of the E window which has 42 panels (7 modern) but I think the most interesting panel is the Annunciation....Behind the Sanctuary is "The Treasury" so called, which is a three-storey structure, containing the Sacristy on the top floor, below the vestment chamber,...and below that a crypt.....The Sacristy is full of interesting things....not least the magnificent church plate." (H.Munro Cautley F.S.A. A.R.I.B.A. in Norfolk Churches, 1949).
St Peter Mancroft south side from Hay Hill [B125] 1931-00-00
St Peter Mancroft south side from Haymarket [0032] 1934-02-11
St Peter Mancroft south transept [6640] 1990-09-03
St Peter Mancroft east end treasury [2269] 1938-04-07
Vestment chamber and crypt below.
St Peter Mancroft N side from St Peter's St [0139] 1934-06-28
St Peter Mancroft north side heavy snow [2862] 1938-12-22
The heaviest snowfall since 1906.
St Peter Mancroft north transept [2232] 1938-03-30
Chapel of St Nicholas.
St Peter Mancroft tower west side [4629] 1961-08-06
About 100 feet. The lead fleche and angle turrets added 1883, architect George E.Street.
St Peter Mancroft west doorway flushwork [2270] 1938-04-07
Flush panelling around lower stages of tower.
St Peter Mancroft interior view east [1842] 1937-08-07
St Peter Mancroft interior view east [1843] 1937-08-07
St Peter Mancroft east window stained glass [2230] 1938-03-30
35 of 42 panels are ancient.
St Peter Mancroft interior view west [2229] 1938-03-30
St Peter Mancroft 15c font and canopy [1867] 1937-08-12
15c font with contemporary posts to otherwise modern canopy.
St Peter Mancroft 19c font in N transept [2231] 1938-03-30
St Peter Mancroft Francis Windham tomb [2186] 1938-03-19
Judge Francis Windham, died 1592.

Next street: St Saviour's Lane

Text and photographs copyright George Plunkett

 Street List