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A timeline of Norwich

Published date: March 2019

A timeline of Norwich

Read about some of Norwich’s most important dates in history, including when Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral and other historic and important buildings were built. When the Black Death reached Norwich, Kett’s Rebellion and when devasting fires hit the city. See important dates in history for Jarrold Department Store, Colman’s Mustard, The University of East Anglia, Norwich International Airport and Norwich City Football Club.

  • 10th Century

    Norwich is a small Anglo-Saxon settlement, north of the river Wensum with its own mint. During the 10th Century Norwich grew rapidly spreading to the south bank of the river

  • 1004

    The Danes burn Norwich - with the buildings made of wood and thatch, this was easy. However, Norwich was re-built and soon began to flourish

  • 1067 onwards

    Normans start work on Norwich castle

  • 1086

    At the time of the Domesday Book, Norwich had a population of about 6,000 and was one of the largest towns in England. The main industry was the manufacture of wool

  • 1094

    The bishop moves his seat from Thetford to Norwich

  • 1096

    Work begins to build a new cathedral out of flint and mortar

  • 1194

    Norwich granted city charter by Richard I, a document granting the people certain rights

  • 1249

    The Great Hospital is founded by Bishop Walter de Suffield with the original beneficiaries being poor scholars, sick and hungry paupers and aged priests

  • 1266

    During a civil war Norwich is sacked by rebel barons, but it soon recovered

  • 1272

    There are riots in Norwich - with a disagreement between religious men and the citizens of Norwich over duties, boundaries and rights

  • 1278

    Cathedral consecrated in the presence of Edward I

  • 1278

    In 1278 Cow Tower is built for collecting tolls

  • 1300

    Norwich has a population of around 10,000 and the main industry is wool making. At this time there is also an important leather industry

  • 1349

    Plague/Black Death reaches Norwich

  • 1370

    The Bridewell is built and is used as a prison between 1583 and 1828

  • 1381

    During the Peasants Revolt rebels capture Norwich. However, they didn’t hold Norwich for long, with the Bishop mustering an army the rebels retreated to North Walsham where they were defeated

  • 1404

    Norwich is given a new charter and gained a mayor and two sheriffs

  • 1407

    The Guildhall is built between 1407 and 1413 and served as the seat of city government from the early 15th century. In 1938 it was replaced by the newly built City Hall

  • 1420

    Erpingham Gate, a magnificent flint and stone gateway was erected directly opposite the west front of the cathedral around 1420 and was donated by Sir Thomas Erpingham

  • 1430

    Sir Peter Mancroft was built between 1430 - 1455 - the largest church in Norwich

  • 1463

    In 1463 Norwich Cathedral’s spire is struck by lightning and the nave roof is destroyed. In 1480 a new spire is built

  • 1505

    Norwich suffers a severe fire, with two more fires in 1507. With most buildings made of wood and thatch, fire was a constant hazard

  • 1549

    Kett’s Rebellion in Norfolk was during the reign of Edward VI. Enraged by the treatment of landowners, many farmers rebelled and started a revolt in Wymondham, destroying fences that had been put up by wealthy landowners. Led by farmer Robert Kett, the rebels stormed Norwich on 29th July and took the city. The rebels were defeated at the second attempt, this time by an army under the leadership of the Earl of Warwick at the Battle of Dussindale. Kett and many rebels were captured and hanged

  • 1565 onwards

    Weavers come to Norwich from what is now Holland and Belgium, fleeing religious persecution, bringing their canaries with them. Locals soon adopted rearing these birds as a hobby and by the 18th century Norwich became famous for its canaries. This is where Norwich City Football Club got its nickname, the Canaries

  • 1579

    An outbreak of plague kills around a third of Norwich’s population

  • 1700

    The population of Norwich is about 25,000, despite outbreaks of plague in 1625 and 1665

  • 1714

    Bethel Hospital, for the mentally ill, is built

  • 1721

    The first newspaper in Norwich is published in 1721

  • 1754

    Designed by architect Thomas Ivory, the Assembly House is built. It became an entertainment centre for assemblies, concerts and dances, held for the gentry of Norwich

  • 1756

    The first bank is founded in Norwich and it was in 1775 that a local family, John and Henry Gurney, started a bank which still survives today as part of Barclays

  • 1771

    The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital is founded

  • 1801

    Norwich has a population of 36,000

  • 1801

    Theatre Royal is remodelled by William Wilkins, a local builder and architect

  • 1806

    A body of men called the Improvement Commissioners is formed to pave, clean and light the streets of Norwich

  • 1814

    Jeremiah Colman founded Colman’s of Norwich in 1814, at the Stoke Holy Cross mill on the River Tas, four miles south of Norwich

  • 1819

    Smallpox kills 530 people in Norwich

  • 1823

    Jarrold & Sons Ltd was founded in 1770 in Woodbridge, Suffolk and moved to Norwich in 1823

  • 1836

    Norwich’s first police force is formed

  • 1844

    Norwich railway opened in 1844

  • 1850s

    The council builds a pure water supply

  • 1857

    The first public library opens in Norwich

  • 1870s

    A network of sewers is built

  • 1875

    Norwich High School for girls is founded

  • 1877

    Slum clearance begins in Norwich

  • 1882

    Norwich City railway station opens

  • 1884

    Work to build the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Norwich begins

  • 1887

    HM Prison Norwich is established, and the prisoners are transferred from the Castle to the new prison

  • 1891

    City College Norwich is founded

  • 1894

    Norwich Castle opens as a museum

  • 1899

    Royal Arcade, designed and built by Dereham-born architect George Skipper is built

  • 1900

    Electric trams run in Norwich - covering more than 17 miles

  • 1901

    Population in Norwich is 111,733

  • 1902

    Norwich City Football club is formed and their iconic 'On The Ball, City' anthem, widely considered to be the world's oldest football song and still sung today, is thought to also date around 1902

  • 1908

    Norwich City Football Club move to The Nest, a disused chalk pit

  • 1909

    Sewell Park opens

  • 1910

    Norwich’s first cinema opens. Known as the TDL or Theatre de Luxe, it was the first "picture palace" in the city

  • 1921

    In 1921 the conversion of the Roman Catholic Chapel, into a working theatre is completed and the Maddermarket Theatre is founded

  • 1923

    Ethel Colman is the first Lady Lord Mayor of Norwich and daughter of the mustard giant Jeremiah James Colman

  • 1924

    Heigham Park is formally opened, with work having started in 1921

  • 1927

    Woodrow Piling Park opens in 1927

  • 1928

    Eaton Park opens

  • 1929

    Sloughbottom Park and Mile Cross Gardens open

  • 1933

    Norwich Airport official opening at site in Mousehold

  • 1933

    Waterloo Park opens in 1933

  • 1935

    Electric trams cease running in Norwich

  • 1935

    Norwich City Football Club move to Carrow Road from their former ground, The Nest

  • 1938

    City Hall is built

  • 1942

    In April, Norwich was hit by aerial bombing by German forces

  • 1962

    A new Central Library is built in Norwich

  • 1962

    Norwich City Football Club win the League Cup

  • 1963

    Norwich University is founded in 1963 and admitted its first cohort of 87 students in this year

  • 1967

    Norwich Airport moved to Horsham St Faith

  • 1971

    First holiday charter flights begin to run from Norwich Airport

  • 1972

    Norwich City Football Club are promoted to the top flight

  • 1973

    Colman’s mustard shop opens in Norwich, closing in April 2017

  • 1977

    Norwich Arts Centre opens

  • 1978

    The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, located on the University of East Anglia’s campus and designed by the architects Norman Foster and Wendy Cheesman, opens

  • 1979

    Norwich Puppet Theatre is founded. It first opened to the public in 1980, following the conversion of the medieval church of St. James, in the heart of Norwich

  • 1980

    Sewell Barn Theatre opens

  • 1985

    Norwich City Football Club win the League Cup

  • 1988

    Norwich Airport terminal opens

  • 1992

    The official launch of Norwich Research Park

  • 1993

    The Castle Mall shopping centre opens, having taken around 4 years to complete, occupying nearly 7 acres in the centre of Norwich

  • 1994

    Norwich Central Library burns down

  • 1995

    Norwich Playhouse opens in what was formerly a 19th Century maltings

  • 1999

    Riverside Leisure Complex opens

  • 2001

    Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital founded

  • 2001

    The Forum is completed, built on the site of the previous Norwich Library which burnt down in 1994

  • 2005

    Chapelfield Shopping Centre opens

  • 2006

    99.9 Radio Norwich begins broadcasting

  • 2007

    Theatre Royal building is refurbished

  • 2009

    In 2009 Norwich hosted the city’s first Gay Pride event, for the regions lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans life communities

  • 2009

    Norwich Film Festival begins

  • 2011

    A total of 132,512 people live in the City of Norwich according to the 2011 census

  • 2017

    Colman’s mustard shop closes in April 2017

The above is a time line of Norwich and is intended to serve as something of interest and does not claim to be completely accurate. Although great care has been taken to methodically research these dates and events in Norwich, there may be some inaccuracies (eg whilst researching, differing dates have been found in books and online material for the same event!)

If you would like to see something added to this timeline that you feel shouldn’t have been missed, please get in touch.

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