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In a city as old as Norwich some of the more interesting glimpses into its past are to be found in the historically significant names given to streets.

Hotblack Road NR2  (off Dereham Road)

The uncommon name, Hotblack, which conjures up images for me of road-laying, tar, and snooker on the telly, commemorates the family of John Hotblack who was a boot and shoe manufacturer in the C19 when Norwich was still one of the country’s major shoe producers. Hotblack’s factory was in Mountergate, off Rose Lane, not far from the large Co-op shoe factory.

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At top, one of the very few weavers’ windows remaining in the city

The Hotblack family lived next door in St Faith’s House. 

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St Faith’s House in Mountergate 1936, home to the Hotblacks around the 1890s ©georgeplunkett.co.uk

John Hotblack’s son, Major-General Frederick Elliott ‘Boots’ Hotblack was decorated six times in the First World War and mentioned in despatches five times. ‘Boots’ was in charge of the Reconnaissance Department of the Tank Corps and had laid a trail of tape for the tanks to follow the next day. However, the trail was obscured by overnight snow so, under fire, he walked across the battlefield, showing the tanks the way [1]. Since Hotblack Road is given on the 1907 OS map it would appear that the street was named for the shoe-making family rather than the war-hero son.

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‘Boots’ by Sir William Orpen 1917. Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Lyhart Road NR4

In 1463, lightning struck the central tower of Norwich Cathedral, setting fire to the roof in the crossing, causing the spire to crash down into the nave. In the 1470s the Bishop of Norwich, Walter Lyhart, replaced the wooden roof with a vaulted roof of stone, using some of his own money to employ stonemason Reginald Ely, who had worked on King’s College Chapel, Cambridge [2]. Lyhart’s contribution is commemorated in his rebus of a hart lying on wa(l)ter.

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Another lying hart can be seen amongst the wonderful collection of roof bosses in the cloisters. The cloisters were damaged in the riots of 1272 and the restoration, which was halted by the Black Death, stretched over the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. lyhart cloisters.jpeg

Bishop Lyhart also oversaw the installation in the nave of 255 stone bosses that mark the intersection of short lierne ribs with the main ribs of the vault. The bosses represent biblical scenes, from the Creation to the Last Judgement. A favourite of mine is the overthrow of the Pharaoh in the Red Sea; it shows the Pharaoh’s chariot – looking more like a farm cart – in a literally red sea.IMG_6445.jpg

There was a time when Lyhart’s rebus could be seen in the tower screen at Yaxley, Suffolk [3]. In the same screen was another piece of stained glass depicting the head of a bishop. Could this have been Walter Lyhart himself?

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From ref [3]. 1932

Lound Road NR4

Major figures of the Norwich School of Painters (see previous post [4]) are well represented on road signs – for example, Cotman Road NR1, Crome Road NR3, Ladbrooke Place NR1 – but each time I travel clockwise around the ring road I am reminded of a less-well-known artist, Thomas Lound.

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Early collodion positive of Thomas Lound 1850s

Lound (1802-1861) was a painter and etcher of local landscape but instead of scrabbling for a living, as many members of the Norwich Society of Artists did, he worked as a manager in the family brewing business and actually died with money in the bank. He was employed by the brewery of Tompson, Stackhouse & Co on King Street [5]. In 1844, Tompson’s was sold to the Morgan brothers, one of whom, Walter, drowned in a brewery vat [6]. Morgan’s was one of the ‘Big Four’ Norwich breweries in the first half of the C20.

Lound was taught by John Sell Cotman, whose influence can be seen in Lound’s paintings, though he probably followed more in the footsteps of Thirtle, whose work he collected avidly [7]. 

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View from Old Barge Yard by Thomas Lound (1850) shows the back of  what is now called Dragon Hall, near his home in King Street. The open door (centre) is part of the original C14 doorway within the larger C15 ‘blind’ door-surround installed by Robert Toppes when the building was used as his wool-trading hall.

In 1839, six years after the demise of the Norwich Society of Artists, Lound became  co-founding President of the Norwich Art Union [8] that – if it was anything like the Art Union of London – used subscriptions to buy works of art to be distributed amongst members by lottery. Lound was also involved in the Norwich School of Design (1846), a predecessor of the Norwich Technical Institute (1899) on St George’s Street, which is now part of the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). In its first year the Art Union held an exhibition in its gallery at The Bazaar on the corner of Bridewell Alley and St Andrew’s Street [8].

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The Great Hall of the Polytechnic Institution, The Bazaar, Norwich. Courtesy of Norfolk County Council at Picture Norfolk

(Added 5/10/2019) The Classical façade of The Bazaar is highlighted on this mid-Victorian  photograph.

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St Andrew’s Street with The Bazaar, arrowed. The tombstones are in the churchyard of St Andrew’s. Courtesy of Norfolk County Council at Picture Norfolk.

The Bazaar is long gone but by one of those pleasing circularities its former site on the corner of Bridewell Alley and St Andrew’s Street is now occupied by NUA’s East Gallery.

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East Gallery, site of former Royal Bazaar. Courtesy of NUA

Thomas Lound was also on the committee of the Norwich Photographic Society. In 1856 he exhibited five of his own photographs including one of Norwich Fish Market [8].

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The Fish Market, Norwich by Thomas Lound, reissued as a postcard by AE Coe Opticians and Photographers. Courtesy of Norfolk County Council at Picture Norfolk

Bathhurst Road NR2 

Bathurst Road at the city end of Unthank Road was built on the Heigham Lodge Estate that once belonged to Timothy Steward of Steward & Patteson’s Brewery. In 1877 architect Edward Boardman divided Steward’s former land into lots for sale. Three roads were laid around the estate, one of which – temporarily named Grove Street North – was renamed Bathurst Road after Bishop of Norwich, Henry Bathurst (1744-1837).

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Bathurst Road (red) runs parallel to Unthank Road (yellow). Ordnance Survey 1883

As described in Colonel Unthank and the Golden Triangle [9], Heigham Lodge was mistakenly thought to have been the home of William Unthank, who had bought 60 or so acres in Heigham to establish the Unthank Estate. William Unthank and Bishop Bathurst both died in 1837.

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Memorial statue to Bishop Bathurst in north transept of Norwich Cathedral

After the Reformation, Dissenters were banned by the Church of England from burial in their parish church. But in 1821, Bathhurst licensed Norwich’s Rosary Cemetery as the first non-denominational burial ground in the country (see [10] for The Norwich Way of Death). This chimes with the Henry Bathurst’s reputation as the only liberal bishop in the House of Lords and as someone who supported Catholic Emancipation.

Since their Oxford days, Henry Bathurst had been friends with Parson James Woodforde (1740-1803) of Weston Longville, about seven miles north-west of Norwich. When Bathurst was non-resident Rector of nearby Great Witchingham, Woodforde would collect surprisingly large tithes on his behalf. In his absorbing Diary of a Country Parson, Woodforde wrote:

About noon took a ride to Norwich … and dined, supped and slept at the King’s Head. As soon as I got to Norwich I went to Kerrison’s Bank and there recd. for cash etc a Note of £137 (about £8,000 today) which I immediately inclosed in a letter to Dr Bathurst, Oxford. I walked to the Post Office, and put the letter into the Post which sets for London this evening at 10 o’clock. I then went to the King’s Head and eat a Mutton Chop and before I had quite dined Mr Hall came to me, and we smoked a pipe and drank a Bottle of Wine [11].

Harvey Lane NR7

… named after Colonel John Harvey (1755-1842) who moved from the city centre to Thorpe, a few miles east of the city [12]. Harvey came from a long line of wealthy Norwich textile merchants who had turned to banking: he himself was a leading partner of Harvey & Hudson’s Bank. Like nine of his relatives, Harvey became Mayor of Norwich (1792) but in his mayoral portrait he chose to be portrayed as colonel of the local militia.

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Colonel John Harvey 1792, painted by John Opie RA, fashionable portrait artist and husband of  Norwich abolitionist, Amelia Opie. Presented by the Norwich Light-Horse Volunteers. Courtesy Norfolk Museums Collections NWHCM: Civic Portrait 33

We encountered Colonel Harvey last month in the large oil painting he commissioned from Joseph Stannard: ‘Thorpe Water Frolic, Afternoon’ (1825) [4]. Harvey instigated The Frolic in 1821, largely as a sporting event for the gentry, but opened it up to the working population two years later when city weavers were given a day’s holiday. 10,000 are said to have attended: polite society on the Thorpe side, workers on the opposite bank [12]. Last time, I focussed in on Stannard on the right bank, peering across to the gentry but here we see Harvey peering back from the left. 

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A fragment of ‘Thorpe Water Frolic, Afternoon’ by Joseph Stannard, showing the white-haired colonel in his Venetian gondola. Courtesy Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

Harvey did not live on the riverside in Old Thorpe Hall – only parts of which remain – but at Thorpe Lodge, a five-bayed house that he built on the other side of the highway, re-routing the Yarmouth Road in the process [12]. In the 1930s the central third storey was removed and the east wing demolished; it now houses the Broadland District Council.

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Thorpe Lodge 1974 ©georgeplunkett.co.uk. In the 1930s the curved east wing was removed along with the third storey of the central bay.

Colonel Harvey is thought to have brought old doors from family properties in Norwich to install in the garden wall of Thorpe Lodge [12]. Two plaques – one dedicated to Robert Harvey (1696-1773) the other to Thomas Harvey (1710-1772) – mark fine Georgian houses in Colegate, in the heart of the Norwich weaving quarter, but the Tudor door below comes from neither of these. The garden-wall doors at Thorpe seem to have disappeared in the 1970s but, fortunately, Arnold Kent photographed this door at Thorpe Lodge in 1948 [13]. The flat-arched Tudor oak door came from Mayor George Cocke’s home (1613) at Bacon’s House in Colegate.

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Photographed in the garden wall of Thorpe Lodge 1948, a Tudor door from the home of Mayor George Cocke (1613) at Bacon’s House, Colegate.  The left-hand spandrel contains the Grocers’ arms, the right contains Cocke’s initials as part of his merchant mark. From [13].

Towards the end of the C18 a downturn in the  Norwich textile trade brought increasing unemployment [14]. But business took an upturn when Harvey started making highly patterned silk ‘fillover’ shawls that could now be woven-in instead of having to be filled-in/embroidered by hand. These expensive items (12-20 guineas each) were the height of fashion and a counterpane shawl, twelve feet square and woven on Harvey’s looms, was presented to George III and his wife Queen Charlotte [14].

In 1792 the Royal Mint was unable to obtain sufficient silver for coinage. Harvey responded by minting Norwich trade tokens from base metal, their value no doubt backed by the Harvey & Hudson bank. This can be seen as a philanthropic way of keeping the city’s trade flowing although the loom on the reverse of the coin would also have served to advertise Colonel Harvey’s role in the local economy during his mayoral year [15].

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The reverse of a Harvey token shows a hand-loom, the obverse shows the Norwich City coat of arms, the rim is impressed with Harvey’s name. Norfolk Museums Collection NWHCM : 2006.79.1

Onley Street NR2

The Harveys were related to the Unthanks but to understand the origins of this street name we have to untwist the limbs of the Harvey family tree.

Colonel Harvey’s brother Charles (1757-1843) dropped the surname Harvey when he inherited Stisted Hall in Essex from his uncle, the Reverend Onley. The Reverend had himself adopted his wife’s family name, Savill, making him a Savill-Onley. Double-barrelled names were often adopted to preserve a family name that would otherwise have died out due to lack of male heirs or, in the case of Reverend Savill-Onley, ‘in appreciation of the fortune (£33,000) his wife had brought with her’ [16].

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Charles Harvey, MP for Norwich, later Savill-Onley. Courtesy Norfolk Museums Collections THEHM:DS.25

When Charles Savill-Onley died his son adopted the name of Onley Savill-Onley [17].

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Onley Savill-Onley Esq 1795-1890. From [16].

Onley Savill-Onley had a daughter, Judith Sarah, and it is she who connects us with the Unthanks by marrying Colonel Clement William Joseph Unthank of Intwood Hall [9]. Their eldest son was Clement William Onley Unthank (1874-1900). Sadly, when only in his twenties, he died of a polo accident while serving in India.

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Clement William Onley Unthank ca 1900. From [9].

When Colonel CWJ Unthank and his wife moved to her family house at Intwood Hall, CWJ started selling off the Unthank estate in what is now Norwich’s Golden Triangle. Over the years the estate was developed from Trinity Street down to Mount Pleasant and, in memory of their son, one of the later side-roads off Unthank Road was named Onley Street [9].

To be continued …

©Reggie Unthank 2019

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‘An excellent Christmas-stocking filler’. The book Colonel Unthank and the Golden Triangle, which contains more about the Unthank family and describes the development of the the streets either side of Unthank Road, is still available from: Jarrolds’ Book Department (https://www.jarrold.co.uk/departments/books); or City Bookshop in Davey Place (http://www.citybookshopnorwich.co.uk/); or direct from me via the contact form (https://colonelunthanksnorwich.com/contact/).

Sources

  1. https://www.edp24.co.uk/features/norfolk-war-hero-who-was-too-brave-1-4801801
  2. Paul Hurst (2013). Norwich Cathedral Nave Bosses. Pub: Medieval Media, Norwich.
  3. Christopher Woodforde (1932). The Medieval Glass in Yaxley Church. Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History vol XXI pt 2.
  4. https://colonelunthanksnorwich.com/2019/09/15/the-norwich-school-of-painters/
  5. https://suffolkartists.co.uk/index.cgi?choice=painter&pid=4128
  6. https://www.norridge.me.uk/pubs/names_/brewers/morgan.htm
  7. Josephine Walpole (1997). Art and Artists of the Norwich School. Pub: Antique Collectors’ Club.
  8. http://www.earlynorfolkphotographs.co.uk/Norwich%20Photographic%20Societies/Norwich_Photographic_Societies.html
  9. Clive Lloyd (2017). Colonel Unthank and the Golden Triangle. ISBN 978-1-5272-1576-4
  10. https://colonelunthanksnorwich.com/2018/10/15/the-norwich-way-of-death/
  11. https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.227134/2015.227134.The-Diary_djvu.txt
  12. Trevor Nuthall (2014). Thorpe St Andrew: A Revised History. Pub: Trevor Nuthall ISBN 978-0-9543359-1-5.
  13. Arnold Kent and Andrew Stephenson (1948). Norwich Inheritance. Pub: Jarrolds and Sons Ltd.
  14. Walter R Rudd (1923). The Norfolk and Norwich Silk Industry. Norfolk Archaeology vol XXI, pp245-282.
  15. Katy Barrett. Eighteenth Century ‘Hand-Loom’ Token. Analysing the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum. https://england.prm.ox.ac.uk/englishness-token.html
  16. Reverend A J Nixseaman (1972). The Intwood Story. Printed in Norwich by RR Robertson.
  17. https://www.jjhc.info/harveyjohn1842

Thanks. I am grateful to Clare Everitt of Picture Norfolk, Ken Skipper of Cork Brick Gallery Bungay and the George Plunkett archive (www.georgeplunkett.co.uk).