The Dutch have had a long and lasting influence in the development of Great Yarmouth as an historic centre for fishing and shipping. A Dutchman, Joas Johnson, suggested the building of a harbour at Gorleston to counter the build-up of silt in other areas. The Dutch also invented the herring curing process that turned the town into a bustling conurbation built on the ‘silver darlings’.
It isn’t surprising that the Dutch feature so prominently in the history of Great Yarmouth, there is only 96 miles separating the town from the nearest Dutch harbour of Scheveningen.
Over time, Great Yarmouth’s annual herring fair which began during the medieval period and ran from Michaelmas (29th September) to Martinmas (11th November) became known as the Dutch Fair, the subject of this work by George Vincent painted in 1821.
Born in Norwich in November 1796, Vincent was educated at Norwich School where he studied art under John Crome. He later became a member of the famous Norwich School of Painters which included among others, John Sell Cotman and Joseph Stannard.
Although a talented painter working alongside internationally renowned artists life didn’t go according to plan for Vincent. Imprisoned for debt in December 1824, he died in relative obscurity in 1831.
Tom Hickathrift is a legendary figure of East Anglian English folklore — a character similar to Jack the Giant Killer. He famously battled a giant, and is sometimes said to be a giant himself, though normally he is just represented as possessing giant-like strength.
The legend states that Tom lived in marsh of the Isle of Ely and although initially lazy and gluttonous, he was prodigiously tall and it soon became apparent that he had the strength of twenty men.
Various proofs of his strength are given: he carried twenty hundredweight of straw and a tree as if they weighed nothing, kicked a football so far that nobody could find it and turned the tables on four men who tried to rob him.
He eventually got a job carting beer in Wisbech, but the long journey tired him, so one day he cut across the land of the Wisbech Giant. The giant took this badly and fetched his club to beat Tom, but at this point Tom took the axle-tree and cartwheel and fought the giant. After a furious battle the giant was killed. Tom took his land and was from then on held in esteem by the people of the area.
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The House in the Clouds is a water tower at Thorpeness, in Suffolk. It was built in 1923 to receive water pumped by Thorpeness Windmilland was designed to improve the looks of the water tower, disguising its tank with the appearance of a weatherboarded building more in keeping with Thorpeness’s mock-Tudor and Jacobean style, except seeming to float above the trees.
In 1977 the water tower was made redundant by mains water supply arriving in the village, and additional living space was created. In 1979 the main water tank was removed to fully convert the building into a house. The building currently has five bedrooms and three bathrooms; it contains a total of 68 steps from top to bottom and is around 70 ft high.
The Market Cross marks the site of a crucifix in the centre of the ancient market place at Bury St Edmunds which was erected between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Market crosses symbolised fairness with dealings in the market and were used for preaching and to make public announcements. In 1583 the cross was dismantled and replaced with an open wooden shelter for corn sellers.
Markets have been held in Bury St Edmunds for more than a thousand years and still thrive today, with markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Even today, the street names recall their history (for example Butter Market and Hatter Street) describing the goods traded there – beasts, butter, corn, wool and fish.
Today, contemporary gallery Smiths Row inhabits the market cross, and exhibits a range of temporary exhibitions as well as a popular gift shop.
See what’s on at Smiths Row, and plan a visit at their website.
Opened in August 2015, gallerytwentythree is the brainchild of Form_art Architects.
The gallery is a continuation and expansion of Form_art’s practice of working with artists, set in their own gallery environment. The gallery brings together works including paintings, ceramics, textiles, printmaking and furniture, which are displayed in collections or groups of art and objects, offering a re-working of the traditional gallery environment.
Form_art Architects admire those artists and makers who share the passion of producing well-executed pieces of design and artwork.
The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchants and their market towns. The League dominated Baltic maritime trade from 1400-1800.
The Hanseatic cities had their own legal system, and furnished their own armies for mutual protection and aid, and could be found across Northern Europe, from the Baltic to the North Sea.
King’s Lynn, in Norfolk, whilst not a full Hanseatic city, was a trade outpost until 1751 and traces of this heritage can be seen today. Today, its Hanseatic roots remain: from England’s only remaining Hanseatic warehouse, to the annual Hanse Festival which takes place in May each year.
Julian of Norwich was an English anchoress whose work, Revelations of Divine Love, is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman.
Very little is known about Julian’s life; in fact, Julian wasn’t her actual name – she was given this name as her cell was built on the wall of the Church of St. Julian in Norwich. Many historians believe she was born in 1342 to a privileged family in Norwich, and became an anchoress in her thirties.
During this time, Julian of Norwich suffered from a severe illness, and had a number of intense visions. She wrote about the visions immediately, and this became the first version of Revelations of Divine Love. Over the next thirty years, Julian attempted a more in-depth theological exploration of the visions, which became known as The Long Text, consisting of 86 chapters, and approximately 63,500 words.
From Julian of Norwich to England’s only UNESCO City of Literature, writing is an integral part of Norwich. Discover more at Writers’ Centre Norwich.
Norwich is the City of Stories, spanning art, people, music, and literature. Create your own story when you plan a trip with Visit Norwich.
Many people won’t recognise his name, but Thomas Clarkson was a prominent figure in the English abolition movement. This picture depicts him as the key speaker at the first Anti-Slavery Society Convention (now known as Anti-Slavery International). Before this, he helped pass the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which ended British trade in slaves.
Clarkson spent a significant part of his life in Suffolk. He lived in Bury St. Edmunds for a number of years after marrying Catherine Buck, and later moved to Playford Hall, between Woodbridge and Ipswich, where he died in 1846 – there are several areas in the region named after him in remembrance.
Learn more about Clarkson’s extraordinary life here.