The capital of the Iceni tribe was a settlement located near to the village of Caistor St. Edmund on the River Tas approximately 5 miles (8 km) to the south of modern-day Norwich. Following an uprising led by Boudica around AD 60, the Caistor area became the Roman capital of East Anglia named Venta Icenorum, literally "the marketplace of the Iceni". The Roman settlement fell into disuse around 450, and the Anglo-Saxons settled on the site of the modern city between the 5th and 7th centuries, founding the towns of Northwic (from which Norwich gets its name), Westwic (at Norwich-over-the-Water) and the secondary settlement at Thorpe. According to a local rhyme, the demise of Venta Icenorum led to the development of Norwich: "Caistor was a city when Norwich was none, Norwich was built of Caistor stone."
Early English and Norman conquest
There are two suggested models of development for Norwich. It is possible that three separate early Anglo-Saxon settlements, one on the north of the river and two either side on the south, joined together as they grew or that one Anglo-Saxon settlement, on the north of the river, emerged in the mid-7th century after the abandonment of the previous three. The ancient city was a thriving centre for trade and commerce in East Anglia in 1004 when it was raided and burnt by Swein Forkbeard the Viking king of Denmark. Mercian coins and shards of pottery from the Rhineland dating from the 8th century suggest that long-distance trade was happening long before this. Between 924 and 939, Norwich became fully established as a town, with its own mint. The word Norvic appears on coins across Europe minted during this period, in the reign of King Athelstan. The Vikings were a strong cultural influence in Norwich for 40 to 50 years at the end of the 9th century, setting up an Anglo-Scandinavian district near the north end of present-day King Street. At the time of the Norman Conquest, the city was one of the largest in England. The Domesday Book states that it had approximately 25 churches and a population of between 5,000 and 10,000. It also records the site of an Anglo-Saxon church in Tombland, the site of the Saxon market place and the later Norman cathedral. Norwich continued to be a major centre for trade, the River Wensum being a convenient export route to the River Yare and Great Yarmouth, which served as the port for Norwich. Quern stones and other artefacts from Scandinavia and the Rhineland have been found during excavations in Norwich city centre. These date from the 11th century onwards.
Norwich Castle was founded soon after the Norman Conquest. The Domesday Book records that 98 Saxon homes were demolished to make way for the castle. The Normans established a new focus of settlement around the Castle and the area to the west of it: this became known as the "New" or "French" borough, centred on the Normans' own market place which survives to the present day as Norwich Market. In 1096, Herbert de Losinga, Bishop of Thetford, began construction of Norwich Cathedral. The chief building material for the Cathedral was limestone, imported from Caen in Normandy. To transport the building stone to the site, a canal was cut from the river (from the site of present-day Pulls Ferry), all the way up to the east wall. Herbert de Losinga then moved his See there to what became the cathedral church for the Diocese of Norwich. The Bishop of Norwich still signs himself Norvic. Norwich received a royal charter from Henry II in 1158, and another one from Richard the Lionheart in 1194. Following a riot in the city in 1274, Norwich has the distinction of being the only complete English city to be excommunicated by the Pope.
The first recorded presence of Jews in Norwich is 1134. In 1144, the Jews of Norwich were falsely accused of ritual murder after a boy (William of Norwich) was found dead with stab wounds. William acquired the status of martyr and was subsequently canonised. Pilgrims made offerings to a shrine at the Cathedral (largely finished by 1140) up to the 16th century, but the records suggest there were few of them. In 1174, Norwich was sacked by the Flemings. In February 1190, all the Jews of Norwich were massacred except for a few who found refuge in the castle. At the site of a medieval well, the bones of 17 individuals, including 11 children, were found in 2004 by workers preparing the ground for construction of a Norwich shopping centre. The remains were determined by forensic scientists to be most probably the remains of such murdered Jews, and a DNA expert determined that the victims were all related so that they most probably came from one Ashkenazi Jewish family. The study of these remains was featured in an episode of the BBC television documentary series History Cold Case.
St Ethelbert's Gate at Tombland was built as penance for riots which occurred in the 1270s.
In 1216, the castle fell to Louis, Dauphin of France and Hildebrand's Hospital was founded, followed ten years later by the Franciscan Friary and Dominican Friary. The Great Hospital dates from 1249 and the College of St Mary in the Field from 1250. In 1256, Whitefriars was founded. In 1266 the city was sacked by the "Disinherited". It has the distinction of being the only English city ever to be excommunicated, following a riot between citizens and monks in 1274. As a penance, St Ethelbert's Gate, one of the entrances to the cathedral priory, was constructed by Norwich citizens. In 1278 the Cathedral received final consecration. In 1290 the city flooded. Austin Friary was founded in that year.
The engine of trade was wool from Norfolk's sheepwalks. Wool made England rich, and the staple port of Norwich "in her state doth stand With towns of high'st regard the fourth of all the land", as Michael Drayton noted in Poly-Olbion (1612). The wealth generated by the wool trade throughout the Middle Ages financed the construction of many fine churches, so that Norwich still has more medieval churches than any other city in Western Europe north of the Alps. Throughout this period Norwich established wide-ranging trading links with other parts of Europe, its markets stretching from Scandinavia to Spain and the city housing a Hanseatic warehouse. To organise and control its exports to the Low Countries, Great Yarmouth, as the port for Norwich, was designated one of the staple ports under the terms of the 1353 Statute of the Staple.
From 1280 to 1340 the city walls were built. At around 2 1⁄2 miles (4.0 km), these walls, along with the river, enclosed a larger area than that of the City of London. However, when the city walls were constructed it was made illegal to build outside them, inhibiting expansion of the city. Around this time, the city was made a county corporate and became the seat of one of the most densely populated and prosperous counties of England. Part of these walls remain standing today.
Early modern period (1485–1640)
Hand-in-hand with the wool industry, this key religious centre experienced a Reformation significantly different to other parts of England. The magistracy in Tudor Norwich unusually found ways of managing religious discord whilst maintaining civic harmony.
Mousehold Heath, Norwich
by Norfolk-based artist John Crome
The summer of 1549 saw an unprecedented rebellion in Norfolk. Unlike popular challenges elsewhere in the Tudor period, it appears to have been Protestant in nature. For several weeks, rebels led by Robert Kett camped outside Norwich on Mousehold Heath and took control of the city on 29 July 1549 with the support of many of its poorer inhabitants. Kett's Rebellion was particularly in response to the enclosure of land by landlords, leaving peasants with nowhere to graze their animals and the general abuses of power by the nobility. The uprising ended on 27 August when the rebels were defeated by an army. Kett was convicted of treason, and hanged from the walls of Norwich Castle.
Unusually in England, it divided the city and appears to have linked Protestantism with the plight of the urban poor. In the case of Norwich, this process was underscored later by the arrival of Dutch and Flemish "Strangers" fleeing persecution from the Catholics and eventually numbering as many as one-third of the city's population. Large numbers of such exiles came to the city, especially Flemish Protestants from the Westkwartier ("Western Quarter"), the region in the Southern Netherlands where the first Calvinist fires of the Dutch Revolt had spread. Inhabitants of Ypres, in particular, chose Norwich above other destinations. Perhaps in response to Kett, Norwich became the first provincial city to initiate compulsory payments for a civic scheme of poor relief, which it has been claimed led to its wider introduction, forming the basis of the later Elizabethan Poor Law of 1597–98.
Norwich has traditionally been the home of various minorities, notably French Huguenot and Belgian Walloon communities in the 16th and 17th centuries. The great "Stranger" immigration of 1567 brought a substantial Flemish and Walloon community of Protestant weavers to Norwich, where they are said to have been made welcome. The merchant's house which was their earliest base in the city — now a museum — is still known as Strangers' Hall. It seems that the Strangers were integrated into the local community without much animosity, at least among the business fraternity, who had the most to gain from their skills. Their arrival in Norwich boosted trade with mainland Europe and fostered a movement toward religious reform and radical politics in the city.
The Norwich Canary was first introduced into England by Flemings fleeing from Spanish persecution in the 16th century. They brought with them not only advanced techniques in textile working but also pet canaries, which they began to breed locally, the little yellow bird eventually becoming, in the 20th century, a mascot of the city and the emblem of its football club, Norwich City F.C., who are nicknamed The Canaries. After being persecuted by the Anglican church for his Puritan beliefs, Michael Metcalf fled Norwich and settled in Dedham, Massachusetts.
Printing was introduced to the city in 1567 by Anthony de Solempne, one of the "Strangers", but it did not take root and had died out by about 1572.
Civil Wars to Victorian era
Across the Eastern Counties, Oliver Cromwell's powerful Eastern Association was eventually dominant. However, to begin with, there had been a large element of Royalist sympathy within Norwich, which seems to have experienced a continuity of its two-sided political tradition throughout the period. Bishop Matthew Wren was a forceful supporter of Charles I. Nonetheless, Parliamentary recruitment took hold. The strong Royalist party was stifled by a lack of commitment from the aldermen and isolation from Royalist-held regions. Serious inter-factional disturbances culminated in "The Great Blow" of 1648 when Parliamentary forces tried to quell a Royalist riot. The latter's gunpowder was set off by accident in the city centre, causing mayhem. (According to Hopper 2004, the explosion "ranks among the largest of the century".) Stoutly defended though East Anglia was by the Parliamentary army, there are said to have been pubs in Norwich where the king's health was still drunk and the name of the Protector sung to ribald verse.
At the cost of some discomfort to the Mayor, the moderate Joseph Hall was targeted because of his position as Bishop of Norwich.
Norwich was marked in the period after the Restoration of 1660 and the ensuing century by a golden age of its cloth industry, comparable only to those in the West Country and Yorkshire. But unlike other cloth-manufacturing regions, Norwich weaving brought greater urbanisation, substantially concentrated in the surrounds of the city itself, creating an urban society, with features such as leisure time, alehouses, and other public forums of debate and argument.
Writing of the early 18th century, Pound describes the city's rich cultural life, the winter theatre season, the festivities accompanying the summer assizes, and other popular entertainments. Norwich was the wealthiest town in England, with a sophisticated system of poor relief, and a large influx of foreign refugees. Despite severe outbreaks of plague, the city had a population of almost 30,000. This made Norwich unique in England, although there were some 50 cities of similar size in Europe. In some, like Lyon or Dresden, this was, as in the case of Norwich, linked to an important proto-industry, such as textiles or china pottery, in some, such as Vienna, Madrid or Dublin, to the city's status as an administrative capital, and in others such as Antwerp, Marseilles or Cologne to a position on an important maritime or river trade route.[a]
Norwich in the late 17th century was riven politically. Churchman Humphrey Prideaux described "two factions, Whig and Tory … and both contend for their way with the utmost violence." Nor did the city accept the outcome of the 1688 Glorious Revolution with a unified voice. The pre-eminent citizen, Bishop William Lloyd, would not take the oaths of allegiance to the new monarchs. One report has it that in 1704 the landlord of Fowler's alehouse "with a glass of beer in hand, went down on his knees and drank a health to James the third, wishing the Crowne [sic] well and settled on his head."
In 1716, at a play at the New Inn, the Pretender was cheered and the audience booed and hissed every time King George's name was mentioned. In 1722 supporters of the king were said to be "hiss'd at and curst as they go in the streets," and in 1731 "a Tory mobb, in a great body, went through several parts of this city, in a riotous manner, cursing and abusing such as they knew to be friends of the government."[b] But the Whigs gradually gained control and by the 1720s they had successfully petitioned Parliament to allow all adult males working in the textile industry to take up the freedom, on the correct assumption that they would vote Whig. But it had the effect of boosting the city's popular Jacobitism, says Knights, and contests of the kind described continued in Norwich well into a period in which political stability had been discerned at a national level. The city's Jacobitism perhaps only ended with 1745, well after it had ceased to be a significant movement outside Scotland. Despite the Highlanders reaching Derby and Norwich citizens mustering themselves into an association to protect the city, some Tories refused to join in, and the vestry of St Peter Mancroft resolved that it would not ring its bells to summon the defence. Still, it was the end of the road for Norwich Jacobites, and the Whigs organised a notable celebration after the Battle of Culloden.
What the events of this period illustrate is that Norwich had had a strong tradition of popular protest favouring Church and Stuarts and attached to the street and alehouse. Knights tells how in 1716 the mayoral election had ended in a riot, with both sides throwing "brick-ends and great paving stones" at each other. A renowned Jacobite watering-hole, the Blue Bell Inn (nowadays The Bell Hotel), owned in the early 18th century by the high-church Helwys family, became the central rendezvous of the Norwich Revolution Society in the 1790s.
Britain's first provincial newspaper, the Norwich Post, appeared in 1701. By 1726 there were rival Whig and Tory presses, and even in mid-century, three-quarters of the males in some parishes were literate.[c] The Norwich municipal library claims an excellent collection of these newspapers, also a folio collection of scrapbooks on 18th-century Norwich politics, which Knights says are "valuable and important". Norwich alehouses had 281 clubs and societies meeting in them in 1701, and at least 138 more were formed before 1758. The Theatre Royal opened in 1758, alongside the city's stage productions in inns and puppet shows in rowdy alehouses. In 1750 Norwich could boast nine booksellers and after 1780 a "growing number of circulating and subscription libraries". Knights 2004 says: "[All this] made for a lively political culture, in which independence from governmental lines was particularly strong, evident in campaigns against the war with America and for reform... in which trade and the impact of war with Revolutionary France were key ingredients. The open and contestable structure of local government, the press, the clubs and societies, and dissent all ensured that politics overlapped with communities bound by economics, religion, ideology and print in a world in which public opinion could not be ignored."
Amid this metropolitan culture, the city burghers had built a sophisticated political structure. Freemen, who had the right to trade and to vote at elections, numbered about 2,000 in 1690, rising to over 3,300 by the mid-1730s. With growth partly the result of political manipulation, their numbers did at one point reach one-third of the adult male population. This was notoriously the age of "rotten" and "pocket" boroughs, and Norwich was unusual in having such a high proportion of its citizens able to vote. "Of the political centres where the Jacobin propaganda had penetrated most deeply only Norwich and Nottingham had a franchise deep enough to allow radicals to make use of the electoral process." "Apart from London, Norwich was probably still the largest of those boroughs which were democratically governed," says Jewson 1975, describing other towns under the control of a single fiefdom. In Norwich, he says, a powerful Anglican establishment, symbolised by the Cathedral and the great church of St Peter Mancroft was matched by scarcely less powerful congeries of Dissenters headed by the wealthy literate body [of Unitarians] worshipping at the Octagon Chapel.
In the middle of political disorders of the late 18th century, Norwich intellectual life flourished. It contained one, so far unmentioned characteristic: Harriet Martineau wrote of the city's literati of the period, which included such people as William Taylor, one of the first German scholars in England. The city "boasted of her intellectual supper-parties, where, amidst a pedantry which would now make laughter hold both his sides, there was much that was pleasant and salutary: and finally she called herself The Athens of England."
Notwithstanding Norwich's hitherto industrial prosperity, the wool trade was experiencing intense competition by the 1790s, from Yorkshire woollens and increasingly from Lancashire cottons. The effects were aggravated by the loss of continental markets after Britain went to war with France in 1793.[d] The early 19th century saw de-industrialisation accompanied by bitter squabbles. The 1820s were marked by wage cuts and personal recrimination against owners. So amid the rich commercial and cultural heritage of its recent past, Norwich suffered in the 1790s from incipient decline exacerbated by a serious trade recession.
As early in the war as 1793, a major city manufacturer and government supporter, Robert Harvey, complained of low order books, languid trade and a doubling of the poor rate.[e] As with many generations of their Norwich forebears, the hungry poor took their complaints on to the streets. Hayes describes a meeting of 200 people in a Norwich public house, at which "Citizen Stanhope" spoke.[f] The gathering "[roared its] applause at Stanhope's declaration that the Ministers, unless they changed their policy, deserved to have their heads brought to the block; – and if there was a people still in England, the event might turn out to be so." Hayes says that "the outbreak of war, in bringing the worsted manufacture almost to a standstill and so plunging the mass of the Norwich weavers into sudden distress made it almost inevitable that a crude appeal to working-class resentment should take the place of a temperate process of education which the earliest reformers had intended."
At this period opposition to Pitt's government and their war came—in their case almost unanimously—from a circle of radical Dissenter intellectuals who are of interest in their own right They included the Rigby, Taylor, Aitkin, Barbold, and Alderson families—all Unitarians, and some of the Quaker Gurneys (one of their girls, Elizabeth, was, under her married name Fry, to be famous campaigner for prison reform). Their activities included visits to revolutionary France (prior to the execution of Louis XVI), the earliest British research into German literature, studies on medical science, petitioning for parliamentary reform, and publishing a highbrow literary magazine called "The Cabinet" (in 1795). Their mixing of politics, religion and social campaigning was suspicious to Pitt and Windham—and caused Pitt to denounce Norwich as "the Jacobin city". Edmund Burke attacked John Gurney in print for his sponsoring anti-war protests. Politics aside, it is safe to say that Norwich was the most active intellectual hotbed outside London in the 1790s, and did not achieve a comparable prominence until the University of East of Anglia arrived in the late 20th century.
Sources—C B Jewson "Jacobin City"; I Scott "Reactions to Radicalism in Norwich 1989-1802; J P Foynes "East Anglia against the Tricolor 1789-1815"; Cambridge Modern History).
By 1795 it was not just the Norwich rabble who were causing the government concern. In April that year, the Norwich Patriotic Society was established, its manifesto declaring "that the great end of civil society was general happiness; that every individual … had a right to share in the government …" In December the price of bread reached its highest yet, and in May 1796, when William Windham was forced to seek re-election following his appointment as war secretary, he only just held his seat.[g] Amid the same disorder and violence as was often the case with Norwich elections, it was only by the narrowest of margins that the radical Bartlett Gurney, campaigning on the platform of "Peace and Gurney – No More War – No more Barley Bread" failed to unseat him.
Though informed by issues of recent national importance, the two-sided political culture of Norwich in the 1790s cannot be totally disconnected from local tradition. Two features stand out from a political continuum of three centuries. The first is the dichotomous power balance. From at least the time of the Reformation, there is a record of Norwich as a "two-party city". In the mid-16th century, the weaving parishes fell under the control of opposition forces, as Kett's rebels held the north of the river, in support of poor clothworkers. Secondly, there seems to be a case for saying that with this tradition of two-sided disputation, the city had over a long period of time developed an infrastructure, evident in her many cultural and institutional networks of politics, religion, society, news media and the arts, whereby argument could be managed short of outright confrontation. Indeed at a time of hunger and tension on the Norwich streets, with the alehouse crowds ready to have "a Minister's head brought to the block", the Anglican and Dissenting clergy were doing their best to conduct a collegiate dialogue, seeking common ground, and reinforcing the same well-mannered civic tradition of consensus as that illustrated by historians of earlier periods.
, historic headquarters of the Norwich Union insurance company
In 1797 Thomas Bignold, a 36-year-old wine merchant and banker, founded the first Norwich Union Society. Some years earlier, when he moved from Kent to Norwich, Bignold had been unable to find anyone willing to insure him against the threat from highwaymen. With the entrepreneurial thought that nothing was impossible, and aware that in a city built largely of wood the threat of fire was uppermost in people's minds, Bignold formed the "Norwich Union Society for the Insurance of Houses, Stock and Merchandise from Fire". The new business, which became known as the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Office, was a "mutual" enterprise. Norwich Union was later to become the country's largest insurance giant.
From earliest times, Norwich was a textile centre. In the 1780s, the manufacture of Norwich shawls became an important industry and remained so for nearly a hundred years. The shawls were a high-quality fashion product and rivalled those made in other towns such as Paisley (which entered shawl manufacture in about 1805, some 20 or more years after Norwich). With changes in women's fashion in the later Victorian period, the popularity of shawls declined and eventually manufacture ceased. Examples of Norwich shawls are now highly sought after by collectors of textiles.
Norwich's geographical isolation was such that until 1845, when a railway connection was established, it was often quicker to travel to Amsterdam by boat than to London. The railway was introduced to Norwich by Morton Peto, who also built the line to Great Yarmouth. From 1808 to 1814, Norwich had a station in the shutter telegraph chain that connected the Admiralty in London to its naval ships in the port of Great Yarmouth. A permanent military presence was established in the city with the completion of Britannia Barracks in 1897. The Bethel Street and Cattle Market Street drill halls were built around the same time.
In the early part of the 20th century, Norwich still had several major manufacturing industries. Among them were the manufacture of shoes (for example the Start-rite and Van Dal brands), clothing, joinery (including the cabinet makers and furniture retailer Arthur Brett and Sons, which continues in business in the 21st century), and structural engineering, as well as aircraft design and manufacture. Important employers included Boulton & Paul, Barnards (ironfounders, and inventors of machine produced wire netting), and electrical engineers Laurence Scott and Electromotors.
Norwich also has a long association with chocolate manufacture, primarily through the local firm of Caley's, which began as a manufacturer and bottler of mineral water and later diversified into making chocolate and Christmas crackers. The Caley's cracker-manufacturing business was taken over by Tom Smith in 1953, and the Norwich factory in Salhouse Road eventually closed in 1998. Caley's was acquired by Mackintosh in the 1930s, and merged with Rowntree's in 1969 to become Rowntree-Mackintosh. Finally, it was bought by Nestlé and closed in 1996, with all operations moving to York after an association of 120 years with Norwich. The demolished factory stood on the site of what is now the Chapelfield development. Caley's chocolate has since made a reappearance as a brand in the city, although it is no longer made in Norwich.
HMSO, once the official publishing and stationery arm of the British government and one of the largest print buyers, printers and suppliers of office equipment in the UK, moved most of its operations from London to Norwich in the 1970s. It occupied the purpose-built 1968 Sovereign House building, near Anglia Square, which, in 2017, stands empty, and is due for demolition if the long-postponed redevelopment of Anglia Square goes ahead.
department store has been based in Norwich since 1823.
Jarrolds, established in 1810, was a nationally well-known printer and publisher. In 2004, after nearly 200 years, the printing and publishing businesses were sold. Today, the company remains privately owned and the Jarrold name is now best known and recognised as being that of Norwich's only independent department store. The company is also active in property development in Norwich and has a business training division.
Pubs and brewing
The city was home to a long-established tradition of brewing, with several large breweries continuing in business into the second half of the century. The main ones were Morgans, Steward and Patteson, Youngs Crawshay and Youngs, Bullard and Son, and the Norwich Brewery. Despite takeovers and consolidation in the 1950s and 1960s, by the 1970s only the Norwich Brewery (owned by Watney Mann and on the site of Morgans) remained. That too closed in 1985 and was subsequently demolished. Only microbreweries can be found today.
It was stated by Walter Wicks in his book that Norwich once had "a pub for every day of the year, and a church for every Sunday". This was in fact significantly under the actual amount, and the highest number of pubs in the city was in the year 1870, with over 780 beer-houses. A Licensing Act in 1872, had several detrimental effects for landlords and customers, with the total number of pubs dropping to 634. As of 2018, around 100 pubs still trade in the city centre and surrounding areas.
A "Drink Map" was produced in 1892 by the Norwich and Norfolk Gospel Temperance Union, which showed 631 pubs in and around the city centre and surrounding districts. By 1900, the number had dropped to 441 pubs within the City Walls. The title of a pub for every day of the year survived until 1966, when the Chief Constable informed the Licensing Justices that only 355 licences were still operative , with the number slowly shrinking, as over 25 have closed in the last decade.
Nazi bombing of Norwich
Norwich suffered extensive bomb damage during World War II, affecting large parts of the old city centre and Victorian terrace housing around the centre. Industry and the rail infrastructure also suffered. The heaviest raids occurred on the nights of 27/28 and 29/30 April 1942; as part of the Baedeker raids (so-called because Baedeker's series of tourist guides to the British Isles were used to select propaganda-rich targets of cultural and historic significance rather than strategic importance). Lord Haw-Haw made reference to the imminent destruction of Norwich's new City Hall (completed in 1938), although in the event it survived unscathed. Significant targets hit included the Morgan's Brewery building, Colman's Wincarnis works, City Station, the Mackintosh chocolate factory, and shopping areas including St Stephen's St and St Benedict's St, the site of Bond's department store (now John Lewis) and Curl's department store.
229 citizens were killed in the two Baedeker raids with 1000 others injured, and 340 by bombing throughout the war—giving Norwich the highest air raid casualties in Eastern England. Out of the 35,000 domestic dwellings in Norwich, 2,000 were destroyed, and another 27,000 suffered some damage. In 1945 the city was also the intended target of a brief V2 rocket campaign, though all these missed the city. (Sources: 4 Civil Defence Region bombing reports at National Archive; M J F Bowyer "Air Raid").
Post-Second World War redevelopment
As the war ended, the city council revealed what it had been working on before the war. It was published as a book - 'The City of Norwich Plan 1945' or commonly known as 'The '45 Plan' - a grandiose scheme of massive redevelopment which never properly materialised. However, the ten years between 1960 and 1970 completely altered the city, and significantly large areas of Norwich were cleared to make way for modern redevelopment.
In 1960, the inner-city district of Richmond, locally known as 'the Village on the Hill' was condemned as slums, and many residents were forced to leave due to compulsory purchase orders on the old terraces and lanes. The whole borough was demolished, which consisted of around 56 acres of existing streets, including 833 dwellings (612 considered unfit for human habitation), 42 shops, four offices, 22 public houses and two schools. Communities were moved to high rise buildings such as Normandie Tower, or new housing estates such as the Tuckswood Estate, that were being built around the city at the time. A new road, Rouen Road was developed in the area's place, which consists mainly of light industrial units and council flats. Ber Street, a once historical main road into the city had its whole eastern side demolished. The final part of St Peters Street (opposite St Peter Mancroft church), along with large Georgian townhouses at the top of Bethel Street were demolished to make way for the new City Library in 1961. This later burnt down in April 1994, and was replaced in 2001, with The Forum.
Many more buildings were demolished during the construction of the inner ring-road, which saw an ancient road junction, Stump Cross with Tudor and Georgian buildings in Magdalen Street, Botolph Street, St George's Street and most notably Pitt Street, cleared to make way for a fly-over and Brutalist concrete shopping centre, Anglia Square and office blocks such as HMSO building Sovereign House. Other areas affected by the ring-road were Grapes Hill, a once narrow lane lined with 19th-century workers cottages, being cleared and widened to form a dual carriageway leading up into a roundabout. Shortly before the construction of this roundabout, the city's old Drill Hall was demolished, along with sections of the original city wall and other larger townhouses along the start of Unthank Road. Its unusual name comes from the Unthank family who were local landowners. The northwesterly corner of Chapelfield Gardens was also cut off to accommodate the new roundabout. About a mile of Georgian houses along Chapelfield Road and Queens Road; which included many houses that were built into the city walls, were bulldozed in 1964. This included the surrounding district off Vauxhall Street, consisting of swathes of terrace housing which were condemned as slums. Post-war housing and maisonettes flats now stand where the Rookery slums once did. Some aspects of The '45 Plan were put into action, which saw large three-story Edwardian houses in Grove Avenue and Grove Road, and other large properties on Southwell Road, demolished in 1962 to make way for flat-roofed single-story style maisonettes, that still stand today.
Heigham Hall, a large Victorian manor house off Old Palace Road was also demolished in 1963, to build Dolphin Grove flats.
Further housing developments in the private and public sector took place after the Second World War, partly to accommodate the growing population of the city and also to replace condemned and bomb-damaged areas, such as the
Heigham Grove district between Barn Road and Old Palace Road, and West Pottergate off Dereham Road/Earlham Road. Other central streets such as St Stephens Street was widened, firstly by Norwich Union's new office blocks and shortly after redeveloped with new buildings after it suffered extensive damage during the Baedeker raids. On Surrey Street, many six-storey Georgian buildings were demolished to make way for Norwich Union's office. Other notable buildings that were lost were three theatres, Norwich Hippodrome on St Giles Street, which is now a multi-storey car park, The Grosvenor Rooms and the Electric Theatre of Prince of Wales Road, The Corn Hall on Exchange Street, the Free Library on Duke Street and the Great Eastern Hotel, that stood facing Norwich Station. It has been said that more of Norwich's architecture was destroyed not during the Second World War, but by the council in post-war redevelopment schemes.
Other notable events
In 1976 the city's pioneering spirit was on show when Motum Road in Norwich, allegedly the scene of "a number of accidents over the years", became the third road in Britain to be equipped with sleeping policemen, intended to encourage adherence to the road's 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) speed limit. The bumps, installed at intervals of 50 and 150 yards, stretched 12 feet across the width of the road and their curved profile was, at its highest point, 4 inches (10 cm) high. The responsible quango gave an assurance that the experimental devices would be removed not more than one year after installation.
From 1980 to 1985 the City became a frequent focus of national media due to the squatting of Argyle Street, a Victorian street that was demolished in 1986, despite being the last street left to survive the Richmond Hill redevelopment. On 23 November 1981, a minor F0/T1 tornado struck Norwich as part of the record-breaking nationwide tornado outbreak on that day, causing minor damage in Norwich city centre and surrounding suburbs.