Kieron Williamson (born 4 August 2002) is a watercolour artist from Holt, Norfolk. His paintings and ability by the age of six have caused considerable interest in the UK media and are notable for his advanced use of perspective and shading. Williamson is most known for his prodigious skill, and paintings of Norfolk landmarks.
This painting of Cley Mill is one of Williamson’s most famous, and was displayed at his retrospective art exhibition at Holt Festival in July 2012 at the age of just nine. To this day, he still paints, and is expected to have made over £1.5 million from the sale of his work.
Stephen Fry, whilst not born in the East, is arguably one of its most well-known (not to mention well-loved) long-term residents.
Fry is involved with a number of local organisations, including Norwich Playhouse and until very recently he was a member of the the Norwich City Football Club board, regularly visiting Carrow Road to see the Canaries play.
In February 2016, Stephen Fry hosted a very special event in aid of Norwich City Football Club Academy. Members of the public were invited to join him for a three-course meal by NCFC board member, Delia Smith.
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’.
A violin that was left behind at a prisoner of war camp in Braintree, Essex during World War Two has recently been restored to working order by a specialist in Woodbridge, Suffolk. The restored violin was believed to have been crafted by a German prisoner of war, and then given to his captors as a gift at the end of the war.
Woodbridge Violins (pictured here), who are responsible for the restoration, said that it must have been crafted by a professional, as it is such a fine piece of craftsmanship. It’s possible that the man who made it was a violin maker before the war started. It’s unknown where the maker found the wood to make the instrument, and how he managed to boil his own glue to use in the production of the instrument, but it’s believed he was assisted by a British officer stationed at the POW camp.
The violin is owned by Woodbridge resident David Powell whose parents lived in Braintree and were given the instrument by an officer in 1945. It has since become a family heirloom, and was always in and around the family home (though it was without strings until the recent restoration.
Do you have a violin of your own that needs restoring (or maybe you’re just fascinated by this story)? Visit Woodbridge Violins.
Explore the rest of the area, including Woodbridge’s award-winning restaurants, cafés and bakeries at Visit Suffolk.
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 Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket has a number of exhibitions dedicated to the wide range of people living in the region, with a particular focus on how life has changed in the last few centuries. This gypsy tribute is part of a funerary memorial in one of the museum’s permanent exhibitions.
The museum holds a mix of domestic items, including historic and more modern caravans, oral histories and images from the gypsy communities in the region which it has worked with closely in the past. This is a rare chance to explore a community that is often forgotten about throughout history.
Today we explore another piece of literature inspired by the East. The Nine Tailors is a 1934 mystery novel by British writer Dorothy L. Sayers, her ninth featuring sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.
The fens serves as the backdrop for this story, after the principal character Wimsey is stranded in the village of Fenchurch St. Paul on New Year’s Eve after a car accident. What follows is a tale of hidden heirlooms, murder and mystery.
To celebrate its long relationship with both the arts and the sciences, Ipswich Museum showed a specially-commissioned contemporary art installation called Art/Science/Life in February 2016. Artist Lucy Lyons worked in residence to create a new site-specific artwork inspired by the significant Natural Science collections, which were displayed in the atmospheric Octagon gallery of the former Art School.
Based at Acme Studios in North London, Dr Lyon’s practice uses drawing as research and has exhibited internationally. She has worked in several medical museums, and coordinates a performance and visual art research group at the Nordic Summer University in Denmark.
Alongside the new work, there were creative responses from partner organisations Pacitti Company and New Wolsey Theatre, as well as Lisa Temple-Cox, Ipswich Museum’s Artist Ranger. The exhibition was accompanied by a programme of events and workshops for both adults and children.
The exhibition also provided a ‘Drawing Room’ in one of the small galleries, which offered a selection of museum objects from the stores as inspiration and a range of drawing materials to work with. Visitors to the exhibition were invited to use this space to draw and display their work, so the gallery will slowly fill with artwork over the course of the exhibition.
This exciting new commission was funded as part of Ipswich Museum’s Happening on High Street programme funded by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts.
The Southwold Angel was found on top of a cupboard during recent restoration work at St Edmund’s Church. It was carved from a single piece of locally sourced English oak and was originally positioned against a wall, supporting one of the posts that helped spread the load of the roof. The shape of the base matches some of the stone corbels in the north aisle of St Edmund’s Church, which is where it must once have sat.
Over time, the angel has suffered the ravages of the deathwatch beetle, and was probably removed from its original location during repairs to the aisle roofs in the mid-19th century. Now on loan to Southwold Museum, it is a rare survivor of pre-Reformation English carving, on public view for the first time in centuries.
For more information, and to see the Southwold Angel up close, visit Southwold Museum.
The East is filled with Anglo-Saxon history. A fine example is this Anglo-Saxon glass, discovered in a grave during building work in Westgarth Gardens, Bury St Edmunds.
This object is evidence of Anglo-Saxon trade, as glass was not produced in Britain at this time. Glass was produced abroad, imported and traded by travelling merchants. This beaker was probably produced in a glass workshop in France, Belgium or Germany. As glass vessels like this one were both rare and costly, we can infer that its Anglo-Saxon owner would have been of high status.
Cone beakers may well have been used at feasts. Their conical design would have fuelled the Anglo-Saxons’ love of drinking: in the absence of a flat base on which to rest the beaker, you would have had to down your drink in one, before resting the beaker upside down on its rim.