Would you think of Norwich as a cosmopolitan city with a multicultural population? Do you know how much Norwich benefited from immigration? Do your roots lie across the sea in the Low Countries?
Local historian Frank Meeres, author of the forthcoming book 'Strangers: A History of Norwich's Incomers', leads a guided walk on Thursday 21st June, looking at the benefits that newcomers have brought to Norwich over many centuries.
Norwich has always had incomers - from Romans, Saxons and Vikings through to the Normans, Jewish communities and 'Strangers' from the Low Countries - with each group adding to the richness of city life. Some of Norwich's most iconic structures - the Cathedral, Castle and Market Place - were created by the Normans, whilst older incomers left their mark on the city's street patterns and names.
The walk will take place on Thursday 21st June during Refugee Week, with two sessions, 10.30am and 2.30pm, both starting from The Guildhall. Lasting two hours, the walk is free of charge and is a fascinating and eye-opening guided tour of Norwich city centre, showing the influence that immigrants and refugees have had on the city over the centuries, and how it has shaped it into the place it is today.
Frank explains more about the tour: 'We shall be walking along the line of a Roman road, looking at the contribution of Saxons, Scandinavians and Normans to the urban landscape, thinking about the 'Strangers' of sixteenth-century Norwich, looking at the impact of more recent incomers such as the nineteenth-century Jewish community - and finishing with a look at a carving made by a Dutchman almost six hundred years ago!'
Places are limited on the walks, so please register in advance by contacting Rachel Barrett at Norwich HEART on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01603 599577.
The tour, and Frank Meeres's forthcoming book on the subject, is supported by Norwich HEART's SHAPING 24 project, which aims to increase awareness of the longstanding historical links between Norfolk and the Low Countries.
SHAPING 24 is being led by HEART with Ghent City Council as the partner organisation. The project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund from the European Union's INTERREG IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013.
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Notes to editors
For more information please contact Lindsey Roffe, Partnerships Manager at Norwich HEART on 01603 599579 / email@example.com or Janet Robertson, Communications Officer on 01603 599578 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Norwich 12
Norwich 12 is the UK's finest collection of individually outstanding heritage buildings spanning the Norman, Georgian, Victorian and modern eras, offering walks and tours; visitor attractions; exhibitions; music and performances; cafes and restaurants; and gift shops. It is a pioneering heritage concept that is developing 12 of the city's iconic buildings into an integrated family of heritage attractions which will act as an internationally important showcase of English urban and cultural development over the last 1,000 years.
Norwich 12 comprises: Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral, The Great Hospital, The Halls - St Andrew's and Blackfriars', The Guildhall, Dragon Hall, The Assembly House, St James Mill, St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Surrey House, City Hall and The Forum.
Norwich 12 is an initiative by Norwich HEART, which secured £1 million from the Treasury's Invest to Save Budget for the project to initially run 2006-9. The ERDF funding allows this initiative to be developed until 2011.
About SHAPING 24
SHAPING 24 - Strategies for Heritage Access Pathways in Norwich and Ghent - is a cultural tourism initiative that links together the 12 heritage sites in Norwich that make up Norwich 12, with 12 heritage sites in Ghent. The project seeks to promote and support the 24 sites, raise the profile of Norwich and Ghent as significant cultural heritage cities and increase awareness of the longstanding historical links between this part of England and the Low Countries. By working together, the two cities benefit from the experiences and professional expertise in both cities, and are able to apply innovative approaches to the challenges facing historic cities.
SHAPING 24 is being led by HEART with Ghent City Council as the partner organisation. The project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund from the European Union's INTERREG IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013. The total value of SHAPING 24 is €4.5m, of which Norwich's share is €2.3m, which includes match funding from a variety of organisations.
About Norwich HEART
Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is a private, charitable trust set up to act as an umbrella organisation for all of the heritage on offer in Norwich. We strategically plan, regenerate, manage and promote Norwich's heritage and act as a best practice model internationally for developing heritage as a social and economic regeneration vehicle. HEART receives core funding from Norwich City Council and further project funding from a variety of sources which has to date included the European Union, HM Treasury, the East of England Development Agency and Norfolk County Council.
Norwich 12 and SHAPING 24 are initiatives by HEART.
This project arose out of a mutual desire to exploit the existing connections between the two cities - Norwich and Ghent have previously worked together on the Liveable City project which aimed to improve the public space in historic city centres.
Norwich also shares many important aspects of economic, social and cultural history with Ghent going back centuries - for example the lives of the burghers, merchants and guildsmen in the two regions in the middle ages; the development of the wool trade in the sixteenth century; the establishment of trade routes; religious connections; and the importance of migration for the two cities - especially the settlement of Flemish workers in Norwich in the 16th century.
Today these two cities share a sense of cultural development, developing and promoting the distinctiveness of their city's heritage in a range of innovative ways.
Just as Norwich was England's second city from the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, Ghent was one of the most important cities in Europe from the year 1000 to around 1550, second only to Paris in size.
Today, it is the capital of the province of East Flanders with a population of 240,000.
As with Norwich, much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact. The city boasts three beguinages and a belfry which are recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, one medieval castle, a cathedral, several museums and two important abbeys.
For more information go to www.visitgent.be.
'What is Interreg IVA 2 Seas Programme?
Interreg IVA 2 Seas Programme is an EU-funded programme which can part-finance joint co-operation projects between organisations in eligible areas in England and organisations in eligible areas in France, Belgium and/or the Netherlands under a variety of themes including Economic Development, Environment and Quality of Life.
The programme covers an area of cross-border cooperation located at the crossroads of the Channel and the North Sea and involves the coastal regions of four member states: France (Nord-Pas de Calais), England, Flanders and the Netherlands.
The overall aim of the INTERREG IVA Programme is to: 'Support strategic cross-border co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable region.'
For more information on the 2 Seas programme visit: http://www.interreg4a-2mers.eu/UK/pdf/InfosclesUK.pdf'
This press release reflects the author's views. The INTERREG IVA 2 Seas Programme Authorities are not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
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