Sheringham Little Theatre, nestled on the North Norfolk coast, is home to one of the last surviving summer repertory seasons in the country, celebrating its 55th anniversary in 2016. This much-loved community arts venue has a year-round programme of events, including film, art exhibitions, dance, drama, music and comedy. Our popular winter pantomime is enjoyed by school groups and families, both local and visiting North Norfolk.
As well as watching a performance, you can also take to the stage with a variety of workshops, classes and amateur performance opportunities every year!
Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury and has influenced the town a great deal over the last few centuries. In Spring 2016 Gainsborough’s House created a new walking trail, Gainsborough’s Sudbury, to explore the town that inspired Gainsborough on foot, highlighting some of the fascinating heritage sites across the town, and some of the landscapes that are now immortalised in his paintings.
This map of Sudbury offers visitors the chance to explore the town at their own pace, and visit the sites that are of most interest to them, including Gainsborough’s House itself, Vanners Silk Weavers, Friars Street and the beautiful Water Meadows.
The map is free, and can be found at Gainsborough’s House. Plan a trip to explore Gainsborough’s Sudbury.
While you’re in the area, why not see what else Suffolk has to offer? Visit Suffolk is the perfect place to start.
The Cathedral of St John the Baptist, in Norwich, is one of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic revival architecture in England. Designed in the Early English style by George Gilbert Scott Junior, St John’s contains some of the most exquisite 19th century stained glass in Europe. It also has a wealth of Frosterley marble and beautiful stone carving.
The Cathedral was built on the former site of the City Gaol. At the Duke’s request it was designed in the Early English style of the 13th century by architect George Gilbert Scott junior, a recent convert to the Catholic faith.
One of the first things that you notice as you walk up the steps to the Cathedral is the thousands of fossils contained within the stone steps. Once inside, this element is continued with more fossils speckling the black Frosterley marble pillars surrounding the nave.
The Cathedral is open every day of the year from 7.30am to 7.30pm. Visitors are welcome at all times but are asked to respect the silence rule during services.
Built in 1845, the Old Custom House stands at the heart of the Ipswich Waterfont, and now houses the offices of Ipswich Port Authority.
Whilst the Waterfront area has recently undergone a massive regeneration with restaurants, a hotel, marina and new homes, the Old Custom House still stands as a reminder of the historic significance of the River Orwell to Ipswich history.
The classical style of the building is particularly impressive from the dockside, with its four columned porticos bearing the Ipswich Coat-of-Arms of lion rampant and the stern of three ships supported by sea-horses, a reminder of the town’s maritime heritage. Architectural features include a striking red and cream brick design and a raised four-column portico displaying the Ipswich Coat of Arms. The building is Grade II listed
St James Mill is the archetypal English Industrial Revolution mill in perhaps an unexpected part of the UK. It was built on a site occupied by the White Friars (Carmelites) in the 13th century, and an original arch and undercroft survive.
The building has undergone a number of different uses over the years. When the local textile trade went into decline, St James Mill was bought by Jarrold & Sons Ltd for use by its printing department in 1902. The building was subsequently leased to Caley’s – the chocolate manufacturer – for their box and crackers department, and sold to the government as a training factory for war veterans in 1920. Jarrolds bought back the mill in 1933 and today it is a private office complex.
Rather than looking at a physical object, event or place today, we’re looking at a feeling. A number of places in the East are regularly featured on ‘Happiest Places to Live’ and ‘Happiest Places to Work’ lists.
In January 2016, business psychologists OPP named Norwich the happiest place to work in the UK, beating Brighton, Birmingham and Liverpool to the top spot. Earlier in February 2016, the Office for National Statistics revealed that Great Yarmouth was in the top 10 of Happiest Places to Live in the UK. In 2015, Ipswich was named third happiest place to live in the UK by Rightmove.
No matter what the source, and whether it’s about work, leisure or leaving, one thing is certain, happiness is an important part of the East!
Perhaps it’s the picturesque parks (like Eaton Park, Norwich, pictured here), breathtaking landscapes (which we’ve explored in previous 365 items, such as National Trust walks) or the fantastic world-class culture (which we’ve been exploring for the past 257 days)!
England’s largest and most elaborate provincial medieval city hall, Norwich Guildhall was the centre of city government from the early 15th century until its replacement by City Hall in 1938.
The elaborate design and size of the Guildhall reflect Norwich’s status as one of the wealthiest provincial cities in England in medieval times. The building represents the growing economic and political power of the new ruling elite that was emerging – wealthy freemen who were merchants and traders. Norwich was given more self-governing powers in 1404 and the Guildhall was built to house the various civic assemblies, councils and courts that regulated its citizens’ lives. Evidence of these historic functions, which continued until the 20th century, can still be seen. Other parts of the building are in commercial use.
The exterior provides an excellent example of the flint work that the city is so famous for. The east end of the building was reconstructed in the 16th century and is crafted from alternate squares of faced flint and ashlar stone, giving the building its chequered effect.
Tours of the Guildhall are usually available during Heritage Open Days, and a cafe in the building is open year round.
Pump Street Bakery was founded in November 2010 by father and daughter team Chris and Joanna Brennan. It is the result of Chris’ years developing his skills as a self-taught baker, and Joanna’s enthusiasm for all things gourmand. Chris manages the baking team, while Joanna takes care of the shop and cooks for the café.
The bakery is a crucial part of Orford’s identity. Local produce and flour is used wherever possible, and all sales of the Orford White and Orford Granary loaves contribute to the Orford Community Fund which supports a number of local projects.
It’s also a favourite of an Oscar winner! Mat Kirkby won the Academy Award for best live action short film in 2015, and loves Pump Street so much that he mentioned their doughnuts in his acceptance speech. Of course, the bakery has since promised him free doughnuts ‘for good’.
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse has been operated by Norfolk Museums Service since 1975, but was a workhouse (in various forms) from 1777. This photograph, showing the Gressenhall staff in 1936, was taken to mark the departure of the Master and Matron, Mr and Mrs Robinson.
The team at Gressenhall today have very different roles to the staff pictured. They offer visitors a chance to explore the lives of Norfolk people over the past 250 years. This is most notably seen in Gressenhall’s learning officer Rachel Duffield who is shortlisted for VisitEngland Tourism Superstar 2016.
Rachel has certainly been bringing the workhouse to life for the past seven years in her guise as ‘Moaning Martha’, a fictional inmate whose gossipy monologues about life in the workhouse – delivered in an authentic Norfolk rural accent.
Find out more about Gressenhall staff, past and present, when you plan a visit to Gressenhall.
Why not explore the rest of the area? Visit Norfolk is packed with useful information.
The artist John Constable was just 12 years old when one of his great heroes – the renowned English painter Thomas Gainsborough – died in the year 1788. Constable admired the work of Gainsborough so deeply that he once described Gainsborough’s landscapes as capable of bringing ‘tears in our eyes’, knowing ‘not what brings them’.
Although Constable was born nearby in East Bergholt, this is the only known view the artist captured of Gainsborough’s hometown of Sudbury, Suffolk. The pencil and wash sketch shows the parish church of St Peter’s, one of three in Sudbury. The grouping of houses shown against the southeast corner of the church no longer stand, and are otherwise not recorded. Pictured in 1814–1815, this is a rare view of an important Suffolk market town by one of its best-known artists.
Constable’s St Peter’s Church, Sudbury was on view at Gainsborough’s House from March-June 2016.