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Norwich shop renovation reveals secret carvings of city gates

PUBLISHED: 16:46 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:57 09 January 2019

The new Working Title men's clothes store in Norwich has moved to much larger premises in Bridewell Alley. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The new Working Title men's clothes store in Norwich has moved to much larger premises in Bridewell Alley. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

Four carvings depicting Norwich’s old gates have been restored to their former glory after the new owners of a city shop spotted them in the window.

Working Title menswear store opened its doors at 6 Bridewell Alley on January 4 after relocating from nearby Bedford Street and has many historic features inside including shields and carvings.

But whilst the quirky interior made it the ideal location, the outside is also steeped in history.

Before they signed the lease, David Lane, whose husband Martin Turner owns Working Title, was looking at the shop window with a friend and spotted four round carvings on the window panes.

Bishopsgate carving in the front window of Working Title clothes shop in Bridewell Alley Credit: David LaneBishopsgate carving in the front window of Working Title clothes shop in Bridewell Alley Credit: David Lane

Mr Lane said: “I was looking outside the shop with a friend before we had signed the lease and we saw these little things on the window.

“They were so covered in paint you couldn’t tell what they were apart from one which I recognised as Bishopsgate immediately from the well known Ninham etchings.

“I was then determined to restore them and over the last four weeks have put loads of paint stripper and scrapped away and they have come out really well.

With famous fans, men's clothing store Working Title has moved to larger premises in central Norwich. 
Picture: Neil DidsburyWith famous fans, men's clothing store Working Title has moved to larger premises in central Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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“The other ones are St Benedict’s, Magdalen Street and Ber Street gates which were all part of the Norwich defences which are no longer there and someone said the last one went during the war.”

Mr Lane, who has been in charge of the renovation of the shop, also repainted the carvings in gold paint to give them a new lease of life.

He also looked at the directory of the building and discovered it dates back to 1830 with previous uses including a watchmakers, fishmongers, RAF recruitment shop, a botanical chemist and in recent years a bridal shop.

Working Title sells a range of major clothing brands from across Europe and also stocks items from local Norwich designers.

The shop was first opened in April 2016 after Mr Turner, from Thorpe St Andrew, was inspired on a holiday to Barcelona by a shop selling t-shirts by local artists.

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