Thorpe Hamlet area of Norwich to celebrate its history next weekend

The people of Thorpe Hamlet are getting ready to show off the little-known history of one of Norwich's most varied areas.

Over the three days of next weekend – between Friday, July 29 and Sunday, July 31 – the Thorpe Hamlet History Group will be delving into the history of its community.

The first street to have gas lighting in the whole country was in Thorpe Hamlet, powered by the British Gas Light Company on Gas Hill, while a Napoleonic telegraph station is another part of the area's history.

A spokesman for the group said: 'People think of historic Norwich as being inside the city walls, but there's a lot of history in Thorpe Hamlet, the village community just beyond the River Wensum on the east side of the ancient city boundary.

'There's no better way of bringing a community together than celebrating the place where we live; its history, our memories of how things used to be and how things are changing.

'This event will enable us all to find out more about our Thorpe Hamlet, our neighbours, the people who lived here before us and the clues they have left behind about their past.'

On Friday, July 29, there are open buildings, when people have the chance to peep behind the facades of some Victorian gems such as the old St Matthew's Church, the waterworks and Bewick House – which is now home to Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

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From 6.30pm the Evening News' Derek James will officially launch the weekend's events, followed by storytelling.

On Saturday, July 30, St Matthew's Church will be open between 10am and 4.30pm for opportunities to share memories of Thorpe Hamlet – recording stories and photographs – and there will be stalls and displays, including a selection of artifacts from Norfolk Record Office and a showcase of work from Lionwood Junior School pupils.

There will be a variety of guided walks every 30 minutes between 10.30am and 2.30pm, each lasting around an hour.

The display and exhibitions will again be on show in St Matthew's Church on Sunday, July 31, between 12.30pm and 4.30pm, with a special songs of praise event from 4.30pm with readings from the King James Bible and in Norfolk dialect.

There will also be three more walks from the church at 1.30pm, 2pm and 2.30pm.

- All the events are free of charge, with donations to St Matthew's Church welcomed, but numbers are expected to be limited on the walks so book your place by sending an email to

- For more information, see

- Are you organising a community event in the Norwich area? Call Local Life editor David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email