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Holt Society visit to Norwich on 22nd May 2014

The Assembly House

Having found the discussion between Steve Benson and Vicky Manthorpe, Administrator and Secretary to the Trustees of The Norwich Society at our AGM in 2013 most interesting, it was decided to develop our links with Norwich by making an official Holt Society visit.

Personal visits and tours are rarely as satisfying as an organised guided tour, and 26 members of the Holt Society visited on 22nd May 2014 to enjoy the very special visit our Secretary had arranged. The group was collected at 9 am from The Railway Tavern by Marett's Chariots and arrived fifty minutes later at The Assembly House, Norwich. We were introduced to our Blue Badge guide, Jan King (a previous Chair of The Norwich Society), and whilst enjoying coffee were briefed about the forthcoming tour. Jan proved to be a most knowledgeable guide whose obvious love for her city was shown by her expertise and fund of stories.

Guildhall and City Hall

We first visited the fifteenth century Guildhall, the original seat of the city government for 530 years until the administration moved over the road to City Hall in 1938.

We were able to see below ground the crypt and dungeons with manacles still in the walls where Robert Kett had been held prior to his execution at the Castle. Upstairs we admired the old council chamber with its carved Tudor ceiling and 15th century stained glass window. Externally we observed the striking patterns of stone and knapped flint.

Crossing the road we made a brief tour of City Hall, invading the Lord Mayor's parlour and admiring gifts received and the official gown. The main claim to fame of the City Hall, built in 1938, are the fine bronze entrance doors. They have bas-reliefs by James Woodford showing the city's industries, past and present along with key events in its history.

Walking down the hill we heard about aspects of Gentlemen's Walk before going into the Royal Arcade. We then made our own arrangements for lunch.

We met after lunch at St Peter Mancroft Church, Lunch where Jan King again showed her value as a guide in introducing us to various aspects of the church. First consecrated in 1455, St Peter Mancroft Church is reputedly the finest medieval church north of the Alps. It is renowned for its beauty and its unique position in city life. We were able to view the remarkable collection of plate which includes a "pome" to warm the priest's hands.

Returning to our coach parked opposite Norwich Theatre Royal we arrived back in Holt by 4 p.m. Tiring, but most rewarding, our Norwich visit, despite having no Georgian theme, was another successful expedition by the Society.