PUBLISHED: 10:01 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:01 01 November 2017
The scene in St Stephen’s, Norwich, during the Lord Mayor’s Procession as crowds watch the colourful floats, 1987. Picture: Archant library
Take a trip down memory lane with our fabulous photographic celebration of East Anglian life through the decades. Today we take a nostalgic look back at the fine city of Norwich situated on the River Wensum.
With its brightly coloured stripy stalls and bustling atmosphere, the market is part of Norwich’s identity, past and present, and the city’s trading history is a fascinating one.
A Saxon market was originally situated in Tombland, but after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a new market was moved to the area known as Mancroft. By 1300, the huge market selling fish, meat, bread, cloth, shoes, livestock and other commodities, stretched from Guildhall Hill almost to St Stephen’s church.
By the late 17th century, it was so busy that a new site for livestock had to be found and it was moved to ‘Castell Dykes’ below the castle mound where the livestock market remained until 1960 when it moved again, this time to Harford Bridge.
In the 1930s the whole market was remodelled to accommodate the City Hall, which was opened in 1938.
Norwich’s cultural history is widely celebrated and with so many theatres, cinemas and arts and music venues it isn’t hard to see why.
One of its longest standing arts hubs is Norwich Theatre Royal which opened its doors in 1758. It was built by Thomas Ivory at a cost of £600, which was raised by a collective of 30 Norwich lawyers and businessmen.
The opening main play was ‘The Way of the World’ by William Congreve and the Norwich Company of Comedians moved from The White Swan Playhouse to make the new theatre their headquarters.
The Lord Mayor’s Street Procession is a huge event on the county’s calendar – and it is beleived to have its early roots in the late medieval period. Early mayoral processions were linked to the Guild of St George and the figures of St George and the dragon were paraded along the streets.
During the time of the Reformation the figure of St George was banned from the procession, the dragon, however, was allowed to continue. It became known as the ‘Snap’ and it remains a kep part of Norwich tradition today.
And it isn’t just the Lord Mayor’s Procession that brings joy, colour and entertainment to the streets. Norwich has long been home to fairs, military parades and celebrations, all adding to the city’s charm.
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