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Enjoy church concert with a difference

PUBLISHED: 08:52 12 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:22 02 July 2010

November: The Norwich Over The Water Calendar 2010 features photographs taken by Matthew Williams.

November: The Norwich Over The Water Calendar 2010 features photographs taken by Matthew Williams.

Derek James

The carol singing season is still with us…and this is the church concert with a difference.

Every year the lovely St George's Church in Colegate, Norwich, hosts a rustic rollicking carol service done in West Gallery style - so called because it was often performed by a band of singers and musicians from a gallery at the west end of a church.

Derek James

The carol singing season is still with us…and this is the church concert with a difference.

Every year the lovely St George's Church in Colegate, Norwich, hosts a rustic rollicking carol service done in West Gallery style - so called because it was often performed by a band of singers and musicians from a gallery at the west end of a church.

This was the style of music in town and country churches from about 1700 to 1850, often written for amateur musicians with organ accompaniment as many of the churches didn't have one in those days.

One West Gallery tune which everyone knows is the melody of the Yorkshire song On Ikley Moor Baht'At.

Churchwarden and photographer Matthew Williams says: “Every year the church hosts a rustic rollicking carol service done in West Gallery style with everybody singing genuine early 19th century carols accompanied by fiddle, squeezebox and other similar instruments rather than that new-fangled posh organ thing,” he smiled.

The concert is on Sunday January 17 at 6.30pm in St George's, Colegate, but there will be a drop-in rehearsal from 2pm for anyone who would love to have a go but feels their rustic singing is a bit rusty!

Fundraising calendar is big seller

The Norwich Over the Water 2010 calendar I told you about before Christmas - featuring photographs taken by Matthew Williams from the tower looking over the city - and published to raise money for St George's, has sold out.

“We made a hard decision not to do a reprint, to ensure that we didn't have any left, making sure all the money raised went towards the intended purpose, the refurbishment of the kitchen/toilet facilities in the church,” said Matthew.

“I suppose the moral is, make sure you buy next year's calendar early,” he added.

His photographs were supplemented by a couple of fantastic old pictures highlighting the people and the place around a century ago which came from the Norfolk County Council Library & Information Service.

The picture of the men and women outside the factory of silk manufacturers Frances Hinde & Sons, was taken in the 1920s. Perhaps you know what was happening? Whatever the occasion it certainly demanded the wearing of a hat!

The other photograph is looking towards the Art School (now part of Norwich University College of the Arts) from near the junction with Colegate.

It probable dates from around 1910 and you may just be able to see the Castle looming over the scene, as it sill does today.

Note the gas lamp, and the original granite setts paving the street.

You can almost hear the clip clop of the approaching pony and trap echoing off the east wall of the church.

The dragon is keeping an eye on all those at St George's.

When major repairs were completed to the tower three years ago the opportunity was taken to bring the clock back to working order.

The hands were the only bits that could be re-used. The stylised dragon watching over passers-by as they check their watches was a copy of one on the previous clock.

You'll find a dragon inside the church, together with a depiction of St George himself.

Did You Know?

On this day in Norwich of 1290 a fierce flood knocked down the gates of St Giles' Hospital and caused widespread damage across the city.

On this day in 1879 the British-Zulu War began.

On this day in Loddon in 1930 fire swept through the granaries and warehouses of Woods, Sadd & Moor causing major damage.

On this day in 1947 the London Co-op opened the first supermarket in Britain at Manor Park.

On this day in 1959 Henry Cooper became the British and European heavyweight boxing champion when he beat Brian London on points.

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