Norwich – Bridewell Prison Door

And today’s post is about a door-frame. Content doesn’t get more interesting than this….. OK, it does, but I still like this door and I’ve only recently noticed that it exists.

Perhaps the best description of this door is from George Plunkett, who noted:

“Descending St Andrew’s Hill from London St, there is about halfway down on the left a wooden doorway thought to date from about 1490, the former entrance to the Bridewell. Its spandrels, carved to resemble foliage, support a large wooden grille enclosed within the doorframe. This grille, which in unglazed, is of Gothic design and consists of two large lights, each divided into four smaller ones by slender mullions which interlace at the top like tracery in a church window. Sadly two of these mullions have gone since the 1930s; in view of the extreme rarity of such a doorway one would like to see it sympathetically repaired and conserved to prolong its existence for a few more centuries.”

And he’s quite right, he has a photo from 1935 and it shows that bits have gone missing since then, having previously managed to survive several centuries. And I’m not sure what that bloody awful box is doing to the left of the doorway, it hardly ignites a feeling of beauty and history.

These Norwich Lanes tablets (or slabs, whatever they’re called) very often give details of where pubs once stood, but this is a handy reminder that this door was once the entrance to Bridewell Prison. And if this excitement about the door isn’t enough, here’s some more about the flint wall on the same building, with a bit more history about the prison. I think I need to get out more….