NorwichStreets of Norwich

Streets of Norwich – Bishopgate and Norwich Lower School Gone By


Linked to my Streets of Norwich – Goldsworths Buildings post…..

John kindly got in touch regarding Norwich Lower School, which is a little further down Bishopgate. This is relevant as pupils had to walk by the former Goldsworths Buildings to get to the football pitch near to the river.

There will be a longer interview in the new year on this, but John mentioned:

“The Lower School was built in the old fashioned style common to state schools in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with high windows and a pitched roof. Think of it as an elongated rectangle divided laterally into three classrooms. The room nearest Bishopgate was the 2 J classroom (Mr Christopher Smith, known by us as Smithy), then Form 2 (Mrs Edith Stephenson, the headmaster’s stepmother, who we referred to as Ma Stevo) and furthest back was Form 1 (Mrs Spruce, known irreverently as Fanny – we had no concept of the more slangy meaning of this word as it is often used nowadays, it was just a female name as used by Jane Austen for Fanny Price). We were turned out at break times on to the School Field. The loos were also outside and froze up in the cold spells which happened every winter in those days, accompanied by snow and ice. The whole setup would have failed a modern school buildings inspection and the place was demolished after the next Lower School was built in (I think) the mid 1960s.”

I hadn’t known much about the old Lower School, which was replaced in either the late 1970s or early 1980s with the current building. There was an arson attack in something like 1989 which caused significant damage, but the general structure of the building was restored, although extended.

Unfortunately, the late and great George Plunkett doesn’t have any photos of the school in its current or former incarnation, so I’ll go on the hunt elsewhere for those.