9 of Norfolk's most famous blue plaques

A delighted Sir Michael Caine with the blue plaque he unveiled outside the school he attended as a wartime evacuee in North Runcton. 

A delighted Sir Michael Caine with the blue plaque he unveiled outside the school he attended as a wartime evacuee in North Runcton. - Credit: John Hocknell


Pablo Fanque's blue plaque.

Pablo Fanque's blue plaque - Credit: Antony Kelly

The Beatles, Norwich
On May 17, 1963 Beatlemania came to Norwich when the Fab Four played their one and only concert in the city. The venue was the Grosvenor Rooms in Prince of Wales Road and the queue of eager fans stretched back to the ABC Cinema. To mark the show, the EDP and Norwich School of Art and Design (now Norwich University of the Arts) put up a blue plaque on Grosvenor House as part of a series highlighting surprising aspects of the county's cultural heritage. Another of the city's blue plaques has a Beatles link too. At John Lewis on All Saints Green there's a Discover Norwich blue plaque dedicated to Pablo Fanque. Real name William Darby, he was the first black British circus proprietor and was born in Norwich. And as fans will know, The Beatles namecheck him in a line of the song Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite, on the landmark Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. 

Sir Michael Caine, North Runcton
He might be world famous for his roles in iconic movies such as  The Italian Job, Alfie and many more, but like many actors on the way up, Sir Michael Caine's first part was a more humble one. As a seven year old, evacuated from south London to North Runcton near King's Lynn during the Second World War, Maurice Micklewhite first trod the boards, playing Baron Fitznoodle, father of the Ugly Sisters, in the village pantomime, Cinderella. It set him on the road to stardom and in November 2003 the acting legend returned to Norfolk to unveil a blue plaque at the village hall (formerly his school) where it happened. He was invited back to unveil the plaque by the EDP and Norwich School of Art and Design and spent the afternoon re-visiting his old haunts in the area and meeting fans.

Elizabeth Fry's blue plaque at the Friends Meeting House on Upper Goat Lane  

Elizabeth Fry's blue plaque at the Friends Meeting House on Upper Goat Lane - Credit: Antony Kelly

Elizabeth Fry, Norwich
There is a blue plaque dedicated to the "angel pf prisons",  prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, in Upper Goat Lane, Norwich. Born in 1780, she was a member of the Quaker Gurney family who founded what went on to become Barclays Bank and worshipped at the city's Friends Meeting House. Her mission to improve prison conditions began after a visit to Newgate Prison in 1813 where she was horrified by the conditions she witnessed and tirelessly campaigned for changes to the law to make treatment of prisoners more humane.

Albert Einstein's blue plaque in Roughton.

The EDP Blue Plaque commemorating Albert Einstein's stay at Roughton. - Credit: Colin Finch


Albert Einstein, Roughton
A plaque at the entrance of the New Inn in Roughton commemorates a dramatic episode in scientific genius Albert Einstein's life, which brought him to Norfolk.  After the Nazis came to power, Hitler attacked what he called Einstein’s “Jewish physics” and put a bounty of £1,000 on his head. World-famous for his theory of relativity, he escaped by accepting a position at Princeton in New Jersey. But, on his way to America, he stopped off in Norfolk, in September 1933, courtesy of MP Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson.  His temporary home was  a wooden hut on farmland on Roughton Heath, which was closely guarded in case Nazi bounty hunters came looking for him. The plaque was put up by the EDP and Norwich School of Art and Design.

The blue plaque in St Giles Street commemorating the visit of Laurel and Hardy when the Hippodrome Theatre was on the site. 

The blue plaque in St Giles Street commemorating the visit of Laurel and Hardy when the Hippodrome Theatre was on the site. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Laurel and Hardy, Norwich
A Norwich Lanes plaque in St Giles Street marks the site of the former Hippodrome and some of the world-famous acts which performed there. Also known as the Grand Opera House, the Hippodrome opened in 1903, welcoming performers including the legendary comedy double act Laurel and Hardy and a young man called Archie Leach, who went on to become famous as Cary Grant.


Jenny Lind, Norwich
Thanks to the generosity of opera singer Jenny Lind, Norwich became only the second city in the country to have a children's hospital. Known as the Swedish nightingale, she donated money raised from her concerts in the city in the 1840s to create an infirmary for sick children. It was established in 1853 and there's a green plaque on its original site in Pottergate. It was transferred to Unthank Road in 1900 and later became the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital, within the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. 

The EDP blue plaque at The Hill House at Happisburgh, unveiled by MP Norman Lamb, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Adventure of the Dancing Men in 1903.

The EDP blue plaque at The Hill House at Happisburgh where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Adventure of the Dancing Men in 1903. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Happisburgh
Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a regular visitor to the Norfolk coast and wrote his famous story The Adventure of the Dancing Men during a visit to the Hill House Hotel in Happisburgh in the early 1900s.  An EDP blue plaque was unveiled there in 2006. 

The plaque on the wall of the Thomas Paine Hotel in White Hart Street, Thetford.

The plaque commemorating Thomas Paine on the wall of the Thomas Paine Hotel in White Hart Street, Thetford - Credit: Denise Bradley


Thomas Paine, Thetford
There is a green plaque dedicated to Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, on the Thomas Paine Hotel in White Hart Street. The plaque records the important part the author of The Rights of Man played in American politics, inspiring the rebels to declare independence from Britain in 1776 and the role he played in the French Revolution.

Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society's blue plaque  at the site of the house where Jack Cardiff, director and cinematographer, was born. 

Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society's blue plaque at the site of the house where Jack Cardiff, director and cinematographer, was born. - Credit: James Bass


Jack Cardiff, Great Yarmouth
Legendary cinematographer and director Jack Cardiff was born into showbusiness. The son of Great Yarmouth music hall entertainers, he was born at 2 Standard Place and started out as an actor in the silent era before becoming a camera operator then a cinematographer. Awarded an honorary Oscar in 2001, he was famed for his work on films including A Matter of Life and Death and other films directed by Powell and Pressburger and The African Queen. A plaque in his memory was unveiled in his birthplace in 2014 to mark his centenary.


 

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