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Lost Norwich river remembered as latest changes to city centre street are completed

PUBLISHED: 15:20 05 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 06 July 2017

The unveiling of the plaque marking the work to pedestrianise Westlegate and All Saints Green. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The unveiling of the plaque marking the work to pedestrianise Westlegate and All Saints Green. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

Norwich’s Westlegate has seen a few changes over the decades - as these pictures show.

Nick Stone, who blogs at www.invisibleworks.co.uk put together this map showing Norwich's lost watercourses. Copyright: Nick Stone. Nick Stone, who blogs at www.invisibleworks.co.uk put together this map showing Norwich's lost watercourses. Copyright: Nick Stone.

But old and new combined today, when the completion of a multi-million project to pedestrianise the city centre street harked back to when a river flowed through the area.

Work started back in January 2016 and has culminated in traffic being banned from Westlegate and All Saints Street, with more work to follow in All Saints Green.

And for anyone still scratching their heads over what the blue glass blocks which snake down the street are all about, the unveiling of a plaque has revealed all.

The plaque informs passers-by that “a river flows beneath your feet” and that the blue line marks where the Great Cockey once flowed through the street.

This picture, taken from All Saints Green in May 1961,, shows the Westlegate Tower being built. Picture: Archant Library. This picture, taken from All Saints Green in May 1961,, shows the Westlegate Tower being built. Picture: Archant Library.

It goes on to say that the Great Cockey is one of Norwich’s lost rivers, with others including The Muspole, Dalymond and Freshflete.

Norwich photographer and heritage specialist Nick Stone, wrote about the lost rivers on his blog and said there was also a Little Cockey, rising somewhere near Chapelfield and flowing across St Giles and Bethel Street, down towards St Benedicts and into the River Wensum near Dyers Yard.

He said the Dalymond’s course is somewhat confused, but it seems to have risen somewhere near Sewell Park or out towards Angel Road before crossing Magpie Road and heading towards the Wensum.

The Muspole ran from the area around St Mary’s Plain, he says, while the Freshflete flowed near the Augustine Friary which stood on King Street.

Westlegate pictured in 1965. Picture: Archant Library. Westlegate pictured in 1965. Picture: Archant Library.

Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee, said he was pleased the plaque in Westlegate would recall the days when a river ran through it.

He said: “It’s lovely to think the stream is still there and it’s not been forgotten.”

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said: “It’s made it a much more pleasant place for people to visit and browse and stay.”

The work has been done as part of the Transport for Norwich project - a Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council project.

Westlegate in 1986. Harris Carpet Centre became JJB Sports and is now a Tesco. Pic: Archant Library. Westlegate in 1986. Harris Carpet Centre became JJB Sports and is now a Tesco. Pic: Archant Library.

It has also seen work in other parts of the city, such as Golden Ball Street, Ber Street and Tombland.

Westlegate in July 2008. Pic: Angela Sharpe. Westlegate in July 2008. Pic: Angela Sharpe.

Westlegate, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Westlegate, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Mike Stonard, left, city councillor, and Martin Wilby, chairman of the council’s environment, development and transport group, after unveiling the plaque marking the work to pedestrianise Westlegate and All Saints Green. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Mike Stonard, left, city councillor, and Martin Wilby, chairman of the council’s environment, development and transport group, after unveiling the plaque marking the work to pedestrianise Westlegate and All Saints Green. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

3 comments

  • So in 2008 I can see 5 shops boarded up To-let - Today all are all occupied - so where are the whingers saying Norwich is being killed off? and just look at that cycling hooligan riding on the pavement!

    Report this comment

    Jonno65

    Wednesday, July 5, 2017

  • Its just concrete ugh!

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Wednesday, July 5, 2017

  • The link to Nick's terrific website just links back to this article. I'm happy to have this comment deleted when you fix it.

    Report this comment

    mjc

    Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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