Streets of Norwich – Haymarket

Part of my Streets of Norwich project….

The Haymarket is a slightly quirkily defined area, cutting in between Brigg Street and the Market Place (Gentleman’s Walk), as well as joining in what is now called Millennium Plain and William Booth Street. For a while this was the city’s Jewish quarter and there was a synagogue here, before the Jews were expelled in 1286. Haymarket was also the annex of the main market place where hay and straw was brought for sale, a role it had for many centuries.

The temporarily boarded up McDonald’s, which was formerly the George & Dragon pub. it was a pub from the 1730s until 1988, when it was converted first into a bank and then into McDonald’s in 2002. This really should be a pub again given its long heritage….

The building at the rear was the once impressive Lambert’s warehouse, demolished in around 1970 and replaced with an awful bland building. On the right-hand side is St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich’s largest medieval parish church.

Some sculptures. In another brilliantly inspired move, Norwich City Council ripped out the fountains and seating which were here, replacing them with nearly no seating and more paving slabs. This used to be a little park area in the mid-twentieth century, something that could perhaps be brought back in.

The Thomas Browne statue, which was placed here in October 1905, to mark the three hundredth anniversary of his birth.

Interestingly, where the statue sits today, there used to be a pub, the White Horse, which was demolished at the end of the nineteenth century (the map above is from 1885), in around 1898. For much of the nineteenth century it had also been called the Seed Mart, which is perhaps a unique pub name.

Another dreadful modern building on the left-hand side, another in a substantial series of incompetent decisions from local planners. It was built as Peter Robinson’s store in the 1962, but it required the demolition of the Gaumont theatre, formerly the Haymarket Picture House, in 1959.

The council have mauled this square so much that it’s lost nearly all of its character. Not that long ago it had a pub that was 250 years old, a huge theatre and an historic warehouse, now it’s got some generic retail buildings that give no nod to the heritage here and nearly no seating areas. There is though some heritage to the buildings which are on one side of the Haymarket, at the rear of this photo, more on which in another post.