Norwich the Old City The Old Skating Rink Page 1

34-36 Bethel Street, Norwich.
Map Ref: City Centre B5

This visit is certainly one of the most unusual historic visits you can make in Norwich. We are going to visit what was for many years a builders merchants warehouse!
But don't be put off - you are in for a treat!

Many readers may recognise this entrance to the yard though not the building in the background which was demolished along with all the other old buildings in the street just after this photograph was taken. (This photograph was taken by George Plunkett in 1933).

Perhaps this photo will help you.
The wall has been changed slightly, but its still there.
This, to many of us, was the entrance to the yard of Lacey & Lincoln, Builders Merchants.
With all the 1930's destruction that took place in this area, it is remarkable that this wall and the building we are going to see survived.

Today, its the home of Country & Eastern. who have turned the old warehouse into a shop of Far Eastern objects and an unofficial museum of objects, doorways & balconies that the owners, Jeannie & Philip Millward have collected on their many trips to the far east.

What many of us who lived in Norwich didn't know, was that this (from the outside unremarkable building) was originally built as a roller-skating rink over a century ago.

The building we are going inside to see was the main skating rink. We are at the Bethel Street entrance, but the original entrance to the rink was from St Giles Street, along a long covered passage-way lined with rocks and ferns. At the far end was a waterfall of Derbyshire rock cascading down into a pool.

The car park we are about to cross was, at that time, an outdoor rink.
Let's go inside.

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Copyright © Ken Ward 2005
Photographs Copyright © Ken Ward 2005 (unless otherwise stated)
Last Updated: 27 September 2005

For books on the history of Norwich check out the Old City Bookshelf
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Photographs by Ken Ward
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