The design of Norfolk House was inspired after a visit by Raymond King and his wife to Sweden in 1938. There they discovered the Town Hall at Halmstad in southern Sweden - a noteworthy example of modern Swedish architecture. King was keen to develop something similar in Norwich, struck by the simple style of architecture.
Norfolk House was the result. King acquired the site in July 1949 - the previous buildings, owned by a man called Henry Trevor, had been destroyed by German bombers in 1942. Trevor had opened his furniture business here in 1842, in Post Office Street (which was later renamed Exchange Street). His business prospered, and he was later joined in partnership by his step-son, Mr Page. After it was bombed, the business of Trevor Page & Co. Ltd re-located to Queen Street, making way for Norfolk House.
The building was also built to retain a very 'local' atmosphere - it is surmounted by a Norfolk Wherry in stone. To reiterate these ideas, the shield of East Anglia is mounted beneath the Wherry.
The East Anglian flag, which was to fly from one of the banner poles protruding from the balcony at Norfolk House, has a significant part to play in the relationship the building has with Sweden. Adopted by the East Anglian Society, the flag united the shield of St Edmund and its three golden crowns, with the cross of St George. It is these three crowns which highlight the coincidental similarities between the two countries - the royal emblem of Sweden also comprises of three crowns. Although not directly connected, it is an interesting likeness.
The site housed a furniture business before being destroyed by bombs during the Second World War. As Norfolk House, the building is let out to various businesses, including subsidiaries of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Amplivox, a hearing aid centre.
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