Cat no. 288

The Royal County

Running time15:18 Colour Sound c.1960 Norfolk, Norfolk

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Travelogue of East Anglia


DocumentaryPortrait of a PlaceTravel / Travelogue

The film begins with static picture postcard shots of some of Norfolk's best known towns. These include Sheringham, Cromer and Great Yarmouth as well as showing the three main rivers of the Broads; the Yare, Wensum and Bure.

Approached by the river from Thorpe St. Andrew, the first feature of the film is the County Town, Norwich. A long, high-angle shot, with the cathedral in the background leads into a view of the city walls on Carrow Hill. The unusual street names are highlighted; this sequence shows street signs only, not the actual views. There are shots of Elm Hill, featuring the Elm, and King Street. The film of the latter includes shots of Dragon Hall and the Old Barge Inn and the Howard House. New Norwich, represented by Bonds department store, is contrasted with the old town and Pulls Ferry.

The history of the canal that ran underneath is explained. There are shots of the castle. Originally a wooden structure, it was replaced by the stone edifice during the reign of Henry I. The Guildhall (built 1407) is shown, detailing the dressed flint front, before a substantial feature of the Cathedral. Built in 1096, there are exterior shots of the West Front and Upper Close before an interior shot that shows the stained glass west window. Around the Cathedral precinct there are shots of the Statues of Edith Cavell and Nelson as well as Edith Cavell's grave. Choristers are seen walking in the cloisters, the largest in England, before the 315ft spire and its carvings conclude the feature.

Further Norwich scenes include the Cattle Market and St. John's Alley and the Maddermarket Theatre. Some of Norfolk's wind and water mills feature. The windmill at Burnham Overy Staithe is followed by shots of the flour mill at Horstead. Other country scenes include Worsted, which shows the church and the blacksmith, Harry Yaxley, at work shoeing horses. Shots of Burnham Thorpe show the Church where Nelson's father was the Rector. The Marquis Townshend is shown walking outside Raynham Hall, built by Inigo Jones.A lengthy feature Norwich Union tells of its founding by Thomas Bignold and features Sir Robert Bignold in the board room. The carvings, wall paintings and portraits feature and there are also some exterior shots of some of Norwich Union's buildings.

The next sequence features East Barsham Manor, built during the reign of Henry VII. It was from East Barsham Manor that Henry VIII is said to have walked barefoot to Walsingham. Shots of women pilgrims walking barefoot along a country lane follow before scenes of the village, including the water pump. Hingham village centre is the next subject of the film. Its link with Abraham Lincoln is explained and the stone boulder sent from Lincoln, USA, is shown. The film covers quickly Oxburgh Hall, showing the moat and the Gatehouse and Sandringham House, viewed from a (long) distance, before moving to Earlham Hall. The walled garden is featured and its connections with the Gurney family, especially Betsy Gurney, highlighted. Betsy Gurney became better known by her married name; Elizabeth Fry. After Earlham Hall there are scenes of the exterior of Blickling Hall and gardens.The final sequence returns to the broads. This shows street scenes of Ludham and sailing on the River at Horning, filmed from the Swan Inn.

Background Information:

Unthank Road was named after Lord Unthank. This land formed part of his estate.Tombland derives from the Saxon for market place.The Elm tree on Elm Hill was chopped down in 1986, a victim of dutch elm disease.The Maddermarket Theatre occupies a building erected in 1794 as a Roman Catholic Church. Later it became a Salvation Army hall and a warehouse. I t was converted into a theatre by the Norwich Players and opened as such in 1921.Earlham Hall was built by Robert Houghton in 1642. The South front is late 17th century, the north front, 17th century and Georgian. The Pavilion is probably Georgian. The house was bought by Norwich City Council in 1925. It is now a part of the University of East Anglia.

The film was originally made by Harold Baim as a cinema short. It was bought by the Norwich Union for publicity purposes. A 16 mm version was made with a new sound track. This featured the voice of AP Cooper, a member of the publicity department of the Norwich Union

Featured People:

Marquis Townshend; Sir Robert Bignold; Harry Yaxley, blacksmith

Featured Organisations:

Norwich Union

Featured Buildings:

Blickling Hall; Dragon Hall; Burnham Overy Staithe windmill; The Old Barge Inn, Norwich; Burnham Thorpe Church; The Howard House, Norwich; East Barsham Manor; Bonds Department Store, Norwich; Swan Inn, Horning; Pulls Ferry; Norwich; Horstead Flour Mill; Norwich Cathedral; Oxburgh Hall; Guildhall, Norwich; Sandringham House; Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich; Worstead Church; Earlham Hall, Nowich; Norwich Union's buildings

Harold Baim

Eric Owen

Gerald Levy

M. de Wolfe

A.P. Cooper

Glenda Baim (script supervisor)

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