One of the Norwich 12, The Forum is the landmark Millennium building for the East of England and a marvellous example of 21st century design.
The Forum sits on a pre-conquest settlement, inhabited by French settlers after the Norman invasion. During the Reformation the site was home to immigrants from the Low Countries – known as ‘Strangers’ they contributed significantly to Norwich’s textile trade. We explored the Strangers in a previous Culture365 post.
More recently Norwich Central Library was located here. Destroyed by fire in 1994, it provided the opportunity for massive archaeological excavations of the site.
Designed by Sir Michael Hopkins, The Forum is a £65 million project, built to mark the millennium in the East of England.
The main section forms an enclosing horseshoe, made from handmade load bearing bricks with several windows. The glass façade forms a stunning entrance and embraces the marvelous Gothic church tower of St Peter Mancroft.
Immortalised in John Constable’s work, the landscapes of Flatford are one of Suffolk’s best-loved features. Flatford Mill sits at the heart of this area, and is the perfect starting point for any Constable-inspired visits.
The Mill was owned by Constable’s father, Golding Constable, and ground grain for flour.
Today, it’s occupied by the Field Studies Council (and has been since 1946), though visitors are still able to enjoy the views from the front and back of the property, the same views that inspired Constable centuries ago.
The Mill is the starting point for plenty of self-guided walks, too. We explored Suffolk walking routes around National Trust properties in a previous 365 item.
Immerse yourself in Constable Country, starting with Flatford Mill, at the National Trust.
On January 19 1915 Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn became the targets of the first fatal air raids of the German’s fearsome Zeppelins during the First World War. The terrifying German Zeppelin raid on the two towns killed four people, including two civilians, 53-year-old shoemaker Samuel Smith and 72-year-old widow Martha Taylor. They were killed when the L4 Zeppelin dropped bombs on Bentinck Street, King’s Lynn.
The giant airships had already been used to strike the Belgian cities of Liège and Antwerp in the opening weeks of the First World War, killing a number of civilians during the siege of Antwerp.
The Ancient House Museum in Thetford has on display an unusual object in the form of an aluminium frame from a Zeppelin that came down in 1916. It came from a German Zeppelin, the L48, belonging to the German Navy.
In the centre of Ipswich stands a rotund old lady, scarf around her neck, brolly clutched in one hand, padlocked handbag in the other. She watches the world go by through a pair of glasses so thick they might as well have been WW2 pilot goggles. She is simply known as Grandma.
The statue is tribute to Carl Giles, the legendary cartoonist who worked for the Daily Express for nearly half a century. He lived in Ipswich, and if you follow Grandma’s gaze you’ll see the office where he used to work, drawing the adventures of the ever popular Grandma and her family as they made their way through a changing 20th century.
On 17th January 2016, astronomers ran a Suffolk Stargazing workshop at RSPB Minsmere.
The evening began with an introductory talk, followed by the opportunity to view planets, galaxies and more from a variety of telescopes on show.
This was particularly fitting, as Suffolk’s night skies have amazed people for centuries. English poet Jane Taylor wrote the favourite nursery-rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star whilst in Lavenham, inspired by the village’s breathtaking night skies.
For more information about Minsmere, visit the RSPB.
Plan a trip to the inspiring area surrounding Minsmere, and find the perfect place to warm up after stargazing withThe Suffolk Coast.
The East is filled with stories, from ancient myth and legend to tales of modern day heroes. Back in 2011, Ipswich-based Pacitti Company collected stories from people across the region, and identified 205 common symbols that appeared multiple times. This compendium of stories was titled A People’s Peculiar, and was a part of the company’s On Landguard Point project, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
British jewellery-designer Victoria Johnson transformed these 205 symbols into individual silver-clay charms. The full collection of charms, plus real-life from the Museum of East Anglian Life’s permanent collection are currently on display in Abbot’s Hall in Stowmarket – there’s also the opportunity to add your own story to the ever-growing compendium.
Newfoundland was an exhibition of work by contemporary jeweller Romilly Saumarez Smith at Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts from December 2015 until April 2016.
The pieces on display reference the East’s ancient heritage. They all contain Roman, Anglo-Saxon or Medieval metalwork, dropped or discarded hundreds of years ago, and found by Romilly.
Romilly’s work transforms these items, which would have been commonplace domestic objects in their time, into marvellous celebrations of the region’s unique heritage. A small belt buckle becomes a delicate ring; a garment bin becomes a brooch.
Romilly adds contemporary detail, through tiny pearls, gold and diamonds, which amplifies each piece.
Alongside the collection, photographer Verdi Yahooda made some exceptional photographic prints of the original metal finds, which accompanied every piece.
Located in the heart of Bury St. Edmunds, Moyse’s Hall Museum houses collections from The Bronze Age, Roman and Medieval times.
Immerse yourself in the history of a rural community and enjoy the eclectic range of exhibitions available. There are opportunities to take in artwork from Mary Beale, England’s first female professional painter, or try and solve the notorious Red Barn Murder for yourself.
Situated in a building that itself is over 1,000 years old, the Museum’s architecture perfectly compliments the history and life works exhibited throughout the building. Suitable for all ages, a visit to Moyse’s Hall Museum is the perfect family day out.
To plan a visit or find out more information, visit the West Stow website here.
Abbot’s Hall is a Queen Anne House in the grounds of the Museum of East Anglian Life.
Now over 300 years old, the house and its inhabitants have long played an important part in Stowmarket’s history.
The name ‘Abbot’s Hall’ originated in the 12th century when King Henry II granted the manor of Stowmarket to the Abbey of St Osyth in Essex. Following the Abbey’s dissolution in 1539, a variety of families went on to own the estate.
Today, the Hall houses a series of exhibitions as part of the Museum of East Anglian Life. Find out what’s on at the moment at the MEAL website.
Plan a trip to Stowmarket, and explore the rest of West Suffolk with Visit Suffolk.
As part of Norwich’s celebration of the sculptor Ana Maria Pacheco in 2015 (as explored in another 365 post), Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery exhibited ‘Enchanted Garden’, a new series of eight polychromed and gilded alabaster reliefs, in its Norman Castle Keep in January 2016.
The reliefs reflect the artist’s long interest in the famous medieval alabasters in the Castle’s collection and her friendship with the late Francis Cheetham, former Head of the Museum and an expert on alabaster.
The ‘Enchanted Garden’ series paid homage to the power of human imagination, drawing on literature and the wild and magical landscapes that Pacheco knew as a child.