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Mourning our lost gems

PUBLISHED: 14:09 22 June 2012

Chapel field garden

Chapel field garden

Archant

Remembering the Norwich buildings which, for one reason, disappeared - often because they stood "in the way of progress."

Going, going, gone... some were blown up, others pulled down because they stood in the way of “progress” while whole neighbourhoods were condemned and flattened.

And then there were some which were demolished for no good reason at all.

Norwich has lost some fine buildings and communities over the last century. From theatres and railway stations to churches and courts and yards.

Some were architectural gems, landmarks which should have been cherished rather then destroyed – and remember we almost lost both the Guildhall and Elm Hill.

In the past our city fathers have been inclined to keep the demolition men busy – from the days when the city walls came tumbling down to be eventually replaced by ring roads.

I asked you for your favourite old buildings and areas of Norwich which have disappeared over the years.

Andrew Wenley of Norwich sent in his top 20 list of what he considered the biggest losses.

A few weeks ago I revealed his top 10:

1) The Hippodrome, St Giles.

2) The Corn Hall, Exchange Street.

3) The Grosvenor Rooms. Prince of Wales Road.

4) The Electric Theatre, Prince of Wales Road.

5) Grapes Hill.

6) The Drill Hall, Chapelfield Road.

7) The Pagoda, Chapelfield Gardens.

8) City Station, Barn Road/St Crispins.

9) St Paul’s Church, near Peacock Street.

10) The Haymarket Picture House.

Now we move on to the rest of the top 20:

11) Botolph Street/Stump Cross – destroyed to make way for Anglia Square.

12) Lambert & Sons, tea and tobacco warehouse at the top of the Haymarket – replaced by C&A (now Next).

13) The old Free Library building on St Andrews.

14) The fine old buildings on Theatre Street (opposite Hatch Brenner) which were demolished in the late 1960s for road widening.

15) Buildings on Magdalen Street including Woodruff’s Dolls Hospital, demolished for the flyover.

16) The old Thatched Cinema and old Bonds buildings on All Saints Green – bombed.

17) The original Curls building, rebuilt in the 1950s after being destroyed in the Blitz, and now trading as Debenhams.

18) Various old courtyards on and around Magdalen Street demolished as part of the inner ring road.

19) The Methodist Chapel on Calvert Street.

20) The Chapel in the Field Congregational Church, overlooking Chapelfield Gardens.

Do you agree with Andrew? Can you think of other buildings we should have saved? Drop me a line at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email me at derek.james@archant.co.uk

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