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!
It really was fascinating stuff. Vintage Norwich love a good snoop around behind the scenes, and this snoop did not disappoint!
Friars Quay, opposite the Playhouse, Norwich
31st October All Day
Take an Edwardian-style punt on a candle lit ghost hunting trip through the historic centre of Norwich. Discover the frightening secrets that lie hidden in the darkness beneath the streets of Norwich. On the haunted river tour your traditionally dressed chauffeur will point out the places where ghosts have been sighted. You will be told a series of short ghost stories which, where possible, seek to explain these supernatural manifestations. Sit comfortably on spacious, cushioned seats and wrap up warm (or hide) in cosy tartan blanketS!
31 October, 5pm – 10pm 2 every hour
£10 per adult, £3 children
Book in advance
Magdalen Street has become a bit of ‘must go to’ destination in Norwich. One of the newest additions is the shop Shade of Pale (near Lloyds TSB bank) which opened in April 2012. Owner Bren Tuttle is no rookie on the vintage scene, having sold at Aladdin’s cave both in the shop itself and at the Saturday fleamarket.
With a lovely big shop front, walking past is a bit like walking by a sweet shop, with lots of things to draw the eye. The shop itself has several sellers, which makes for an eclectic mix of china, furniture and collectables.
The shop was full browsers and shoppers, and with treasures dotted everywhere it’s a great place to look for inspiration for your home. The great thing about a vintage inspired home is that you can create something eclectic or stick to a decade, use an array of vintage items or just dot a few items like an old camera on a bookshelf or something pretty on your dressing table to add interest. However you choose to style your home, buying vintage items adds a uniqueness that’s special.
Anyone looking to recreate a kitchen like your gran had, or build a dinner service that’s either for everyday or a special occasion should take a look in this shop. The great thing about shops like this, is that you never know what you’ll find and sometimes that’s something that you didn’t even know you wanted! It’s always fun to see how people react to items that bring back a memory for them too. One shopper picked up some bowls then recalled to her friend how her mum used to have these same bowls and how they were brought out at Christmas for the prawn cocktails, another shopper cooed at some vintage Sindy and Barbie furniture.
As well all these lovely items from the past, Bren is also a supporter of local designers too. Displayed in one of the several cabinets was a collection bangles and necklaces which had been cleverly created by up-cycling cutlery. All created by Tom Green of Filby Fayre Creative Crafts, like many things in this shop, these really would make a great gift.
This shop is a fabulous little gem, it’s one to put on your list of shops to explore if you haven’t already. You can find Shade of Pale at 67-69 Magdalen Street. The opening hours are Tues-Fri 10:30am-4pm and Sat 10am-4pm.
Visit the Shade of Pale Facebook page
After a long wait whilst refurbishment was taking place, the much anticipated reopening of The Bridewell Museum finally happened on 3rd July.
Costing £1.5m this redevelopment project has given this Norwich treasure a much needed face lift and it certainly seems to be worthy of this investment.
The museum tells the story of Norwich and its people by focusing on the trades and goods which the city has produced over its long history.
For Vintage Norwich the most interesting sections were the Shopping and Trading collection which highlighted the shops of the city with trade displays, memorabilia and some of the actual products sold.
Another fantastic, and much missed, display is The Pharmacy, a recreated display of pharmaceutical goods.
We also enjoyed a new room, dedicated to Norwich since the war, which had displays of vintage kitchenalia and board games plus a great 1950s living room where you can sit on a comfy sofa and watch television– or at least archive footage of the people of Norwich.
New to the museum, and situated in the foyer, is the fantastic History Wall, which some of you may have contributed to after our post back in April! Looking just like a painting of well-known Norwich cityscapes it is actually made of 9000 digital images sent in by the public via Facebook, Twitter and email.
If you contributed make sure you get along and see if you spot your photo!
Bridewell museum on Bridewell Alley, Norwich, is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4:30pm.
Adult admission costs £4.40.
There are always great things happening in Norwich but there are also, of course, plenty of amazing things happening all around the county as well.
Copyright David Indge and Victorian Nights
One of the things that Vintage Norwich is most excited about this summer is the forthcoming Victorian Nights – a brand new festival in Norfolk.
With their remit to amaze, delight and inspire the team of Victorian Nights are bringing 12 events across North Norfolk over two days – the 18th to 20th May.
Events will take place in Cromer, Sheringham and Wells-next-the-sea.
Laura Crossley, who is coordinating the project said:
“The Victorian Era was a very special time in North Norfolk’s history, as the coming of the railways brought tourists who were enchanted by the sea and beautiful landscape of the area, and towns were transformed into the popular tourist destinations they remain today. Victorian Nights will transport Cromer, Sheringham and Wells back to this lavish era, with a unique and exciting programme of events, including archive film, re-enactments, performances, a steam train ride, a Victorian photo parlour, and a fabulous Victorian fashion show. We encourage visitors to dress up Victorian-style and, most importantly, to have lots of fun!”
For more information about the events visit their website www.victoriannightsnorthnorfolk.com or pick up one of their leaflets. Most of the events are drop in but some are pre bookable.