Cat no. 117

Norwich Scenes

Running time17:02 Colour Silent 1930-1946 Norwich, Norfolk

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Various scenes of Norwich.


ActualityArchive AlivePortrait of a Place

The film consists of short scenes. The distinct scenes are as follows:
1) The film begins with girls country dancing inside Blackfriars Hall. The film returns to this scene on three other occasions with a shot of the stained glass window as well as boys and girls dancing. 2) The City Hall in the later stages of construction with the Tower still in scaffold. The Sir Garnet Worseley is on the left of the picture and there are ruined buildings on the right. 3) (b/w) A snow scene shot through a window. 4) A tree blown across a road. There is another shot of this later in the film. 5) A shot across fields and a windmill (in working order) in the background. This is featured later, shot across a river. 6) Flood scenes at Horsey. This is also featured later. 7) (A very brief shot of) dignitaries on the steps of the City Hall. 8) A shot of the sky showing the trail left by an aeroplane. 9) A group, including the Lord Mayor, being photographed on the steps of City Hall. 10) Swing boats in front of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. 11) Open air dancing in Chapelfield Gardens. These and similar scenes are shown on other occasions. 12) An early evening scene outside the City Hall, showing the War Memorial in front of the Hall. Torches are lit and a crowd waits. A later scene which appears to be of the same event shows a band marching past. This may be the rededication of the Norwich War Memorial on 6th November, 1938. 13) A garden fete?
14) A night scene in Chapelfield Gardens showing the Pavilion lit up. 15) A cemetery, possibly Earlham Road. (Shown later on.) 16) Bishop Bridge, followed by a close-up shot, taken from a boat. 17) The relief picture of St. Stephen's Gate on the Wall of the Coachmakers' Arms Public House, St. Stephen's Road. 18) A shot of what is believed to be the oldest shop in Norwich on Westlegate. 19) A shot of the R. C. Cathedral of St. John the Baptist over the roof of the Tuns Public House. 20) A shot of old buildings in Norwich. (Unidentified.)

21) Evening scene showing flower stalls at the market. 22) Interior and exterior shots of the Cathedral including a still of the commemorative plaque to Lord Sheffield. 23) Norwich Castle with the York Hotel in the foreground. 24) An interior shot of a factory. 25) The River Wensum at the back of King Street, showing the Port at work. 26) A view of old houses in Norwich (unidentified.) 27) A view of the Guildhall and crowds awaiting the arrival of the King and Queen. (October 29th, 1938.) There is a shot of some boys up a tree. Following this are shots of the Castle Hotel on Castle Meadow and the Royal Motorcade passing. There are other shots of this later, including the Royal Couple on the balcony and the King making a speech. 28) The interior of an air raid shelter. 29) The exterior of a public air raid shelter. 30) A crowd scene. 31) Couples dancing. 32) A Lord Mayor on the balcony of City Hall. 33) A flower show inside a church, possibly the Cathedral or St. Andrews Hall. This is featured again later. 34) The interior of a shop. This is followed by the same shop, but this time full of people. This may show before and after scenes of a sale. 35) A group, including some nurses, on a model railway in a public park. (Probably Eaton Park.) 36) A garden party. 37) A fairground. This scene includes many nurses, one of whom had won a coconut! 38) A brief scene of a seaside promenade. This is possibly Yarmouth, near the Wellington Pier. 39) A crowd (many seated) waiting by the road. A public address system is visible. A summer scene as many of the women are wearing short sleeved cotton dresses. There is a round towered church in the background, which appears to have part of the roof under scaffolding. 40) Young women folk dancing in a park.

41) An interior shot which appears to show the investiture of a (female) Lord Mayor. 42) An Armistice Service showing the War Memorial outside the Guildhall. 43) Snow on the ground in a park. 44) Destruction of a building by high seas, probably at Sheringham. 45) Demolishing old buildings. (Unidentified.) 46) A building site. (Again, unidentified.) 47) Scenes showing the visit of HM Queen Elizabeth to Norwich Cathedral on May 28th, 1938 to reopen the Cloisters. Her Majesty is seen with the Bishop of Norwich. 48) An old street in Norwich. Again, unidentified. 49) Boys swimming in an indoor swimming pool. 50) City Hall, decorated with red flags. 51) HM Queen Elizabeth arriving at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital to open the Geoffrey Colman Memorial Wing, 1938. 52) A shot of a carriage outside City Hall, followed by an earlier shot of a carriage in a similar spot. 53) Train arriving at the City station carrying returning evacuees. These, mainly women, are seen on the train, with a large proportion eating, and then on the platform, each wearing a number. Lastly, they are seen walking up the platform carrying their hand luggage. 54) A flood scene, showing electricity pylons. 55) Another flood scene, showing water running off a road. 56) A Norwich City match. 57) A crowd scene. 58) Scenes from a carnival. The next shot is of some women, dressed as muses, dancing. This may be a part of the same event. 59) Black and white and colour snow scenes. 60) Scenes in front of the City Hall. There is a military band passing, followed by military vehicles carrying soldiers. Heavy artillery is demonstrated and then tanks parade along the street. Other organisations, including nurses march past and there is a shot of the war memorial. 61) A procession of dignitaries including the Lord Mayor. 62) Two elderly ladies in a private garden

Background Information:

Mr. John Henry Willis (died 30 March 1962, aged 88) of Southwell Lodge, Norwich, was Norwich's meteorologist. He was a collector of films as well as a film maker. Whiffler's Column in the Eastern Evening News of August 29th, 1940, records that he possessed many old news reel films as well as rare early films. He possessed a record of the welcome by the Danish royal family of Dr. F.A. Cook, the bogus arctic explorer, a 1896 film of Hyde Park Corner, film of an Elliehammer triplane from 1904 and some early Charlie Chaplin films. Whiffler records that Mr. Willis ... has made films one of his great hobbies. Of late years he has turned to making his own colour films, and he has some remarkable records of local events and industries.

2) The City Hall was opened by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on October 29th, 1938. In this scene the Hall is in the later stages of construction, dating the film earlier during 1938. 6) During 1938 Horsey was flooded several times. These floods are recorded in Norwich Events. February 13th: A northerly gale, accompanied by abnormally high tides, resulted in the sea breaking through at Horsey and flooding an area of fifteen square miles. February 18th: The village of Horsey was partially evacuated owing to floods. March 1st: New defences at Horsey broken by high tides. April 3rd: New defences at Horsey again submerged by high tide. 18) This building was the Barkin' Dickey Public House. It gained its name from its poorly painted sign. Supposed to be a horse, the creature was so badly painted no-one could decide if it was a dog ('barkin'') or a donkey ('dickey'). 39) The Church shown in the background is distinctive for being very long and having a low round tower. It may be St. Mary at Coslany, St. Mary's Plain.

41) This appears to be Ruth Hardy, third lady Lord Mayor of Norwich 1950 - 1951. 42) The War Memorial was moved from the Guildhall to the City Hall in 1938, therefore this was filmed earlier. 49) These scenes may be of the Swan Baths, Heigham Street. They were built in 1879, steam from the laundry next door being used to heat the baths. The pool closed in 1933. 53) These shots date from 1946. They show the return of children who had been evacuated to Canada during the war. This is filmed at the City Station. 60) There is a brief shot showing the buildings behind the Guildhall to be in one piece. This dates this demonstration before the 'Baedeker Raids' of 27th - 30th April, 1942, when these buildings suffered a direct hit.

62: The two ladies appearing in the private garden are thought to be the sisters of the filmmaker John Henry Willis (d 30 March 1962, aged 88). The sisters are Mary Esther Colman Willis (1872-1961) and Edith (Edie) Lucy Willis (1875-1962).

Featured People:

HM King George VI; HM Queen Elizabeth; The Rt. Rev Bertram Pollock, Bishop of Norwich; Ruth Hardy, Lord Mayor of Norwich 1950 - 1951. Various other Lord Mayors of Norwich. The two ladies in the final scene, in the private garden, are thought to be the sisters of the filmmaker John Henry Willis (d 30 March 1962, aged 88). They are Mary Esther Colman Willis (1872-1961) and Edith (Edie) Lucy Willis (1875-1962).

Featured Organisations:

Norwich City F.C

Featured Events:

The visit of HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Norwich: October 29th, 1938.The visit of HM Queen Elizabeth to Norwich to reopen the Cloisters at Norwich Cathedral, May, 1938.The rededication of the War Memorial. 6th November, 1938

Featured Buildings:

Blackfriars Hall) Norwich Castle; City Hall) The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital; The Guildhall) Norwich The R.C. Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Norwich.Bishop Bridge) Norwich Cathedral; York Hotel); Castle Hotel ); Sir Garnet Worseley); The Coachmakers' Arms) Public Houses in Norwich.The Tuns); Norwich City Football Ground, Carrow Road

Mr. Willis

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