Vintage Norwich were lucky enough to get hold of some tickets for the pre booked events at this year’s Heritage Open Days. The pre booked events give lucky ticket holders access to what is usually closed to the public.
This year one of the tours was of the F.J Zelley Jewelers on St. Giles Street, which has been trading as a jewelry specialist since 1982.
A seemingly small Victorian shop front opens up as a very large premises inside. Zelley’s is full to the brim with beautiful clocks; a number of which were manufactured in Norwich; antique jewelry, and an impressive display of amber.
We made our way through the shop and in to the back office. We then went down some rather steep stairs and suddenly we were there. A number of us squeezed into the pretty much untouched 15th Century undercroft. Used as medieval storage, things back then would have been safe and sound in such a chamber.
After snooping around and learning more about the two (yes two) underground chambers we headed back up to the shop floor. The building above ground is mostly 18th century, with alterations over the years meaning the building is much larger than it originally was, but no less impressive!
Upstairs we had a look around the Amber Room. Our lovely guide for the tour, Howard Zelley, is a trained gemologist and has a really impressive knowledge of his collection. We learnt about the different types of amber, and why amber was once so commonly found on the Norfolk coastline, but really you ought to try and book this for next year to learn all about it!