Norwich the Old City Researching Old Norwich

Researching Old Norwich

Over the past few years, I have (when I could afford it!) been collecting second hand books on Norwich to have a library of information 'at hand'. I have also collected photo's from the web and newspapers. Plus, I am eternally grateful to George and Jonathan Plunkett - George for taking the photographs, and Jonathan for his dedication and patience in scanning all his father's work to share with us and producing a great web site.
If you don't know of George's photographs (and you should - I use some of them on this web site!), then take a look at

The problem with researching old Norwich and it's buildings is that photographs only started appearing just over a century ago. Before that you are relying on paintings and drawings. And with all these sources, you are relying on someone recording the building you are researching.

A prime example is the Curat House. A 16th century building in the heart of Norwich, parts of which still remain today. I have searched, (and here I must thank the staff at Norwich Library and the Norfolk Records Office for all their help) but so far have found very little.

Most searches amongst the old records often lead you off on a tangent as you've found something interesting, but totally unrelated, which slows down the research but opens up new information on other buildings!

Which brings us back to the story in hand - I wondered if the photographs George Plunkett had taken from the Castle battlements in the 1930's would help with my research of the Curat House. I could compare them with similar photographs I've taken recently.
And this is where one of those tangents gets taken, for when comparing the photographs I spotted this...

Looking across White Lion Street 2004

Looking across White Lion Street 1938

In the first photograph there are three different height roofs, yet in the second it is one common roof.
If the photographs had been dated the other way round, you could have understood - they had made a common roof across the buildings. But to see this reversed?
It just goes to show that while photographs might not lie, but they can certainly confuse!
You may also notice the small wing out the back - the older photograph reveals another part of old Norwich still survives!

Why all this research into the actual buildings?
I have started on a quest - no, not to find the Holy Grail! - but to rebuild (on the computer) parts of Norwich as they were. A daunting task. I've had no experience with CAD (computer aided design) so this is going to be a slow process, but progress is being made, so watch this space..........

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Copyright © Ken Ward 2005
Photographs Copyright © Ken Ward 2004/5 (unless otherwise stated)
Last Updated: 02 October 2005