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New bronze sculpture to be installed near site of one of Norwich’s medieval gates

The mould of the statue which will be placed in Benedicts Gate. Pic: Alumno

The mould of the statue which will be placed in Benedicts Gate. Pic: Alumno

Alumno

A bronze sculpture, inspired by a poem describing women’s perspectives of Norwich’s medieval gates through the centuries, is to be installed in a city street.

How Benedicts Gate student accommodation will look. Pic: Archant libraryHow Benedicts Gate student accommodation will look. Pic: Archant library

The sculpture will form part of the development of the 302 flat student development Benedict’s Gate, which is being built in St Benedicts Street .

Created by sculptor Joseph Hillier, the 50cm tall statue will sit on top of a two-metre high steel plinth at the entrance to the development after it was granted permission by Norwich City Council.

It has been inspired by a poem by Norwich writer Jenny Pagdin called The Sisters of the Gated City, which views the city’s 12 medieval gates through the eyes of women.

It will be installed close to where St Benedicts Gate once stood.

The 302-bed Benedicts Gate student accomodation being built in central Norwich. This picture was taken in January. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe 302-bed Benedicts Gate student accomodation being built in central Norwich. This picture was taken in January. Picture: Neil Didsbury

A spokesman for Alumno, the developer behind Benedict’s Gate, said: “Alumno is delighted that planning permission has been granted for a sculpture by Joseph Hillier that will be displayed in the grounds of Benedict’s Gate.

“Entitled The Architect, it is inspired by local poet Jenny Pagdin’s poem The Sisters of The Gated City, which is featured on the poetry wall near the entrance of the building.

“The specially commissioned poem tells the story of Norwich women across the ages in the context of the city’s 12 historic gates.

“The 12 sections of the poem, each representing a gate, are etched onto the 12 panels of the poetry wall.

The mould of the statue which will be placed in Benedicts Gate. Pic: AlumnoThe mould of the statue which will be placed in Benedicts Gate. Pic: Alumno

“Hillier’s sculpture depicts the imagined child mentioned in the final part of Pagdin’s poem: ‘Perhaps the first infant she delivers this morning will grow up the architect of her own city’.”

On completion of the sculpture, an official Covid-safe unveiling ceremony for the development is due to take place next month.

Benedict’s Gate is Alumno’s third student accommodation development in Norwich.

It follows Pablo Fanque House in All Saints Green for University of East Anglia students and the development called All Saints Green, for Norwich University of Arts students, next to the bus station.

The Benedict’s Gate development has been built above the existing Norwich City Council-run Barn Road car park, which will be reopened after refurbishment finishes.

MORE: WATCH: Take a tour of Norwich’s medieval gates - had they still been standing



The Sisters of the Gated City by Jenny Pagdin

C13th Walled in at King’s Street Gate for two score years,

my breath still mists out through the stony squint;

meanwhile they have shamed my sister the Scold

out of Ber Street Gate to put her in the stocks.

C16th My sister the Flemish Stranger arrives

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through Brazen Gate. She shares her husband’s loom

with us - and his canary pet!

C18th Come, let us stroll past the picturesque ruins

from St Stephen’s Gate to Wilderness Gardens

where an aerostatic globe bobs overhead

while down in the miasma near St Giles’ Gate

our dearest Mary ministers to the sick.

C20th With no stove in the suffrage shop, each lunchtime

we trudge up to St Benedict’s Gate. Deeds, not words!

Maisie Appleton, Wincarnis Works

by Heigham Gate. Health is priceless, we tell our ladies.

C21st I’m Samira, playing peekaboo with my youngest

by the river near old St Martin’s Gate.

In the evening, near St Augustine’s Gate,

I’ll help make up warm welcomes from the City of Refuge.

My eldest boy just finished at Magdalen Gates,

wants to be a lawyer, has opinions on the news;

perhaps the obstetrician who oversaw his birth

has a crash pad near Pockthorpe Gate, perhaps she writes plays,

perhaps the first infant she delivers this morning

(in the suite with a lino-print of Bishop Gate)

will grow up the architect of her own city

watching cranes pivot in a cobalt sky.


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