guinea pigs on trial


In Guinea Pigs on Trial, Becca and Louise ask the questions, is guinea-pigging a good cure for an empty bank account? And what happens when profit takes priority in the creation of medicine?

Sh!t Theatre’s Guinea Pigs on Trial is an hour-long investigation into the pharmaceutical industry, which, frankly, most theatre audiences don’t know much about. It stems from the pair noticing that Job Centres were advertising medical trials alongside (or instead of) employment. So, of course, they enrolled.

The show picked up a series of glowing reviews at Edinburgh this year, and was part of Norwich Arts Centre’s [Live] Art Club – it’s Pay What You Can, allowing people to step outside their comfort zone and see new cutting-edge work.

To find out more, visit Norwich Arts Centre.

Why not see what else Norwich has to offer? Plan a trip with Visit Norwich.

angel roofs


By the late 1300s, English constructional and decorative carpentry had attained a level of sophistication which was unrivalled in Europe, and angel roofs are one of the most impressive and complex examples of this skill and the hammerbeam roof is another. These two structures are rarely combined, apart from in the East, where it is relatively common, with 59% of Britain’s angel roofs found in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Angel roofs are found in a range of structural patterns, but whatever the structural form, they are all, by definition, adorned with carved images of angels. Some are 8ft tall, others are half-body figures or low-relief carvings. Some roofs have a handful of angels, others scores, and a few have hundreds.

This angel, a hammer beam roof angel at St Mary’s in Bury St Edmunds, dates from c. 1445. The figure is an archangel, bearing a sceptre and wearing a diadem, and was (like the rest of the roof) paid for by wealthy cloth merchant John Baret.

Norfolk-based Michael Rimmer has spent the last five years documenting the angel roofs of East Anglia, and you can explore the collection in his book The Angel Roofs of East Anglia: Unseen Masterpieces of the Middle Ages.

For more information about angel roofs in the East, visit

Plan a trip to explore Norfolk, Suffolk and both county’s angel roofs with Visit East Anglia.

Photo: Michael Rimmer
night sailor


Let’s take a look at another part of the Lynn Lumiere, which lit up King’s Lynn town centre throughout all of 2015, Night Sailor.

In celebration of King’s Lynn port, Julia Dantonnet used light and projection to create Night Sailor which highlighted one of King’s Lynn’s most iconic landmarks, the Custom House. Composed with archive images, geographical and stellar maps, Night Sailors drew on King’s Lynn’s role as a cradle of development for deep-sea navigation in the Middle Ages.

You can see a full video of Night Sailors here, and revisit another part of the Lynn Lumiere which we’ve also examined in Culture365, The Round of Clocks.

The Lynn Lumiere ran until March 2017.

Plan a trip to the area, and find out what else is on offer at Visit West Norfolk.


Photo: Peter Bardwell

edith may dempster


Edith May Dempster was born in Yorkshire on 1 August 1883, she led a largely privileged life, in palatial surroundings with over 40 staff.

This isn’t the story of Dempster’s comfortable upbringing, though. Dempster moved to Suffolk in 1926 after marrying her long term suitor Frank Petty. The couple lived in Sutton Hoo House near Woodbridge, and it was here that her curiosity led to one of the most significant discoveries of the 21st century.

After centuries of abuse from grave robbers and ploughing, Mrs Pretty saw the Sutton Hoo mounds daily from her sitting room window. Intrigued by the secrets they contained, she commissioned local archaeologist Basil Brown to investigate them.

The mounds contained the remains of an enormous burial, later identified as a 7th-century Saxon ship, and probably the last resting-place of King Raedwald of East Anglia. The majority of the remains, including the Sutton Hoo Helmet, were donated to the British Museum, where they remain to this day.

To find out more about Sutton Hoo, Edith May Dempster’s home, and to plan a trip, visit The National Trust.

The East is filled with history. Explore it with Visit East Anglia.

Photo: National Trust / Angus Wainwright


Have you ever been to a gallery in a skating rink? The Old Skating Rink Gallery in the heart of Norwich is home to the South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection Trust (SADACC).

Designed by Horace Lacey and built in 1876, the building was Norwich’s first roller skating rink. It opened on 19th September 1876 to around 1000 visitors. Despite initial success, the roller rink closed in May 1877 due to financial difficulties. The following years saw the building fitted out as a Vaudeville Theatre, a temporary home for the Salvation Army, a storage facility for tinned meat, and a warehouse for a building manufacturer. It remained a warehouse until the early 1990s, when Philip and Jeannie Millward purchased the Rink and renovated it.

Today, large architectural items are on display permanently throughout the building, and display cases installed in 2011 reveal the best of the SADACC Trust collection. The SADACC Trust is currently displaying a selection of textiles from South Asia, in the exhibition Cloth: A Journey through South Asian Textiles, inspired by the recent major exhibition The Fabric of India at the V&A.

For more information, and to plan a trip to the Old Skating Rink Gallery, visit the SADACC.

Want to explore Norwich’s many galleries, but not sure where to start? Visit Norwich is the perfect guide!

orchestra in a phonebox


Is it possible to fit the entire BBC Symphony Orchestra in a phonebox?

The obvious answer would be no, but Aldeburgh Music have managed it. At the 2015 Aldeburgh Festival, audiences could step inside a traditional red phonebox, put on a virtual reality headset, and be transported inside a packed Snape Maltings Concert Hall for a special performance of Frank Bridge’s The Sea.

The headset gave the audience a 360 degree view of the concert hall, offering the chance to see the meticulous work of the orchestra up close, with a camera positioned three feet above conductor Martyn Brabbins’ head.

See what’s on at Aldeburgh Music.

Plan a trip to the area, explore Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh, and look for orchestras in other unexpected places (though you probably won’t find another in a phonebox) with The Suffolk Coast.

Photo: Aldeburgh Music



The Christmas home of the Royal Family since Victorian times, this grand estate in West Norfolk is one of the highlights of the East.

The House is surrounded by 24 hectares of carefully tended gardens, but the actual estate covers 8,000 hectares. The Country Park, which is open to the public free of charge, accounts for 240 of these and is a wonderful place for the whole family to visit. Tours of the house are available from spring to autumn, allowing you to see behind the scenes of this famous property. And there’s also a museum to visit, a visitor centre and restaurants where you can sample produce grown on the estate.

Plan a day out fit for royalty by visiting the Sandringham website.



Photo: John Fielding (Flickr)
celebrity puppet auction


On 25th November 2015, Norwich Puppet Theatre hosted a very special fundraising event. The 35th Anniversary Celebrity Puppet Auction saw handmade puppets from a selection of artists, actors and writers auctioned to raise vital funds for the Puppet Theatre.

Puppets by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, actress Maureen Lipman and artist Maggi Hambling were all up for auction, with guests enjoying live music between the lots.

Norwich Puppet Theatre has events all year round.

Plan a trip and see what else is on with Visit Norwich.




With Remembrance Day fresh in our minds, we look back to November 2015, when two new displays in Norwich uncovered the fascinating story of one man’s experience of the First World War and the important legacy he left the city.

One of the exhibitions, entitled Norwich and the First World War: Soldiers and Workers, Duty and Philanthropy opened at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell. At the same time, new permanent displays in the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum at Norwich Castle brought the world of the trenches to life through the sketches and letters of a serving officer.

Both the exhibition and new displays were inspired by the life and legacy of local architect and soldier, Cecil Upcher. They formed part of a major First World War centenary programme by Norfolk Museums Service, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The exhibition ran until March 2016. See what’s on at the Museum of Norwich.

Plan a trip to visit the various First World War exhibitions across the city with Visit Norwich.

Photo: Norfolk Museums Service

sir thomas savage


Sir Thomas Savage, an ancestor of Princes William and Harry, inherited Melford Hall, Suffolk in 1602. However, unlike most owners of Melford, there was not a picture of him on the walls until very recently.

This was because, until recently, there was only one known likeness of Savage, currently held in a private collection in Yorkshire.

It’s quite peculiar for an estate to be missing a picture of a previous owner, and it was a search that the National Trust had been carrying out for years.

The search came to a close when the National Trust acquired an image that, for 200 years, was thought to be of a 17th-century Archbishop of York. Upon winning the painting at auction, it was sent to the National Trust’s conservation institute in Cambridge, where a signature of the painter, and date of painting was revealed, linking the image to Thomas Savage.

The link stemmed from the red bag in the image, which was always possessed by Chancellor to the Queen. The date of the painting, combined with the presence of this bag suggested that the subject of this painting was, in fact, Sir Thomas Savage.

Now, the painting hangs in Melford Hall, next to a painting of Sir Thomas Savage’s wife, Elizabeth, reunited at last.

If you’re interested in exploring Melford Hall, visit the National Trust.

Widen your search, and discover more in West Suffolk at Visit Suffolk.

Photo: National Trust / Amy Howe