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Issue 68 Summer 2017

Interview Meet Chris Sargisson the new CEO of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

Lowestoft Town FC announce Amberdew Events as first ever Stadium Sponsor.

Arts and Culture

A guide to what’s coming to our Fine City

Waveney Vally Sculpture Trail

Tony Cooper takes a look.

What’s New | Out & About | Fashion | Motoring | Theatre | & Much More

04 | Summer 2017

2017 Summer | 05

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s we mark 17 years since Spider Creative first started publishing community magazines we should like to take this opportunity of thanking you for your valuable support in helping your magazine to grow from strength to strength. Therefore, it is with much pride and satisfaction to say that we have expanded the distribution of our magazines ranging from a mere 3000 copies in 2001 to over 50,000 copies today. And it is still full-steam ahead for our passionate and hard-working team. With the addition of Norfolk On My Mind and Suffolk On My Mind to our company’s portfolio together with Dispatch covering the lively and important market towns of Attleborough, Wymondham and Diss, we are constantly challenging larger publishing houses and paid-for magazine titles.


Jonathan Horswell @JonathanHorswel

Jonathan Horswell Editor


Brett Nicholas

Issue 68 Summe

r 2017

Interview Meet Chris Sargisso n the new CEO of the Norf olk Chamber of Commerce


Luke Keable

Lowestoft Town FC announce Amberdew Events as first ever Stadium Sponsor.

Arts and


A guide to what’s comin g to our Fine City


Waveney Sculpture Vally Trail

Tony Coop er takes a look.





Oppotunities Available

In this edition of FineCity - which is now produced every two months in keeping with all our other publications - you’ll find Pete Goodrum’s interesting interview with Chris Sargisson, the new CEO of the Norfolk & Norwich Chamber of Commerce. Regular features come from our arts and travel writer, Tony Cooper, who takes us on a trip round Koblenz while Steve Browning takes a trip to King’s Lynn and also introduces us to his fascinating new book, Norfolk Coast in the Great War. Without doubt we are dedicated to achieving positive results for our customers, readers and advertisers alike so we are always on the look-out for ways in which we can improve on what we are already doing. Therefore, if you have any bright and constructive ideas to put forward to us we should dearly love to hear from you. After all, FineCity is YOUR magazine and we want to keep it that way!




Pete Goodrum Stephen Browning Daniel Tink Tony Cooper



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Disclaimer All rights reserved. No part of FineCity may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any other form, or by any other means, electronic, mechanic, photographic, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the owner of FineCity. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of material published in FineCity. However, the owner cannot accept responsibility for the claims made by advertisers or contributors, or inaccurate material supplied by advertisers. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Editor. Although all reasonable care is taken of material, photographs and transparencies submitted, the owner cannot accept responsibility for damage or loss.


Getting Advice for Pension Planning With greater flexibility in the way pension savings can be accessed, it is more important than ever to get advice both while building your pension pot and before you start spending it. Phil Beck explores the advice options available. Putting money aside for retirement has become more attractive for many people. Since pension freedoms came into force in April 2015, anyone over the minimum retirement age – currently 55 – can access as much of their pension savings as they like when they like, subject to paying any tax due. Before pension freedoms the most common approach to providing an income in retirement was to spend a large capital sum to buy an annuity, securing an income for the rest of your life. However, under the new rules, you can now draw directly from your pot, leaving the remainder invested for potential growth. This has also meant that pension savings can be used for other purposes such as new cars, holidays or settling an outstanding mortgage. The new freedoms bring a wide range of possibilities for retirement planning, but they also bring with them a burden of responsibility as soon-to-be retirees sit down and decide exactly what to do with the pot that they have been building up over the years. This is a critical time for your planning: how do you ensure that your money can provide for the rest of your life, whilst factoring in any other spending that you would like to make?

The value of an investment and the income from it could go down as well as up. The return at the end of the investment period is not guaranteed and you may get back less than you originally invested. The tax treatment of investments depends on individual circumstances and is subject to change. For independent advice about your retirement planning, Phil on 01603 706740 or email phil.beck@almarygreen. com. Please remember that the advice here is generic and we recommend that you get individual personalised advice. *www.unbiased. report-stats

The Government’s Pension Wise website will give you a starting point to understand your retirement options, but can’t give you specific advice that is tailored to your individual circumstances. A financial adviser can do this and will ensure that you understand the implications of any decisions you make. Financial advisers must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and it is really important that you ensure that anyone giving you advice about pensions and retirement planning is properly authorised to do so. This not only gives you the confidence that the person giving the advice has the necessary qualifications and knowledge but will also give you the backing of the Financial Ombudsman and Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. The Government has recognised the importance of taking retirement advice and has introduced a facility to allow pension savers to draw up to £1,500 from their pension pot to pay for regulated advice. A maximum of £500 can be drawn to pay for advice at a time, on up to three occasions. The allowance can only be used once in any tax year but, importantly, can be used at any age. This can provide a useful means to check that your plans are on the right track at earlier stages in your working life as well as when making decisions immediately prior to retirement. The allowance is available to anyone who has defined contribution pension savings, where you and your employer, if you have one, make contributions to the fund which is invested for growth. It isn’t available to anyone who is a member of an occupational or defined benefits scheme, where future retirement benefits are based on salary and length of service. Recent research has indicated that taking advice about your pension planning will boost your pension pot. It states that “UK savers who take advice save on average £98 more every month and receive an additional income of £3,654 every year of their retirement, based upon a pension pot of £100,000”.* 08 | Summer 2017

Chris Sargisson Pete Goodrum meets Chris Sargisson The new CEO of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce.

2017 Summer | 09



e’re in the boardroom of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce. It’s a bright sunny morning, and the man opposite me has a bright sunny smile on his face. But then he would. Chris Sargisson is relishing the challenges and potential of his new role as CEO of The Norfolk Chamber of Commerce. ‘I’m definitely in learning mode’ he says. ‘I’m taking in everything I can about the organisation, the team, our plans. I want to absorb it all. How else will I be able to make an informed contribution?’ I’m in learning mode too. I want to find out about the man who has been appointed to head up the Chamber. Stay with me. There’s a lot to learn! Chris Sargisson was born in Northampton. ‘I lived there for about an hour’ he says. The reason for the short stay was that his father was a ‘really quite successful’ Chief Executive in the world of finance, and he moved around a lot. ‘We were nomadic’, says Chris. ‘ I think I’d lived in 6 or 7 locations by the time I was 13’. Interestingly, this moving around had, at one point, brought the family to Norwich. ‘We were here from about 1977 to 1981. I went to Bracondale School, and the Colman School where, later, my own children would go and I would be a governor. I liked it. And I liked Norwich’. After Norwich the next stop was Liverpool, where his father’s employer was based. Spending as much time there as anywhere for a while means he feels an attachment to the city. ‘I see myself as a ‘plastic scouser’ I suppose’ he says. Chris Sargisson holds nothing back when he moves on to expand on his education. ‘I did really poorly at school. I was told I was lazy, which I didn’t think was fair. The truth is I couldn’t work out why I was not doing well’. The answer came as a shock. He was dyslexic. Chris gives me a brief insight into how he sees words and letters differently, but he doesn’t dwell on it. Instead he moves the story on rapidly. ‘I left school at 10 | Summer 2017

17. Norwich somehow beckoned me. I’d felt happy here’. So, in 1988, completely alone and carrying little except ‘a bag of records’ he came here. And started work.

some archaic attitudes. Just suppose a young, computer savvy, man came in to the market with a disruptive business model that would shake it all up. This was the moment.

His first job was with the legendary BB Adams. ‘Whatever else I’d failed at I somehow always ‘got’ computers. I could certainly talk the talk’.

Chris Sargisson went self employed. He put the model together. He launched it. What could possibly go wrong?

Which is why he rapidly became a salesman for Adams, specialising in the first personal computers, and the early Amstrad ‘business machines’.

Well, everything actually. It failed. Totally.

He was good at it, and in one deal sold 10 machines to a local businessman. ‘The next day he came back and said ‘You were great. Come and work for me’. So he did. And in doing so sowed some important seeds. The business he joined was an estate agents and Chris found himself learning about that business at the same time as helping them with his computing skills. ‘The job was 50 % estate agency and 50 % I.T.’. In the early 90s the business was bought by a leading building society, propelling the young Chris Sargisson into a bigger league. ‘I had a great time. I absorbed everything. I loved it. By the age of 20 I was the youngest area manager they’d ever had’. But of course the housing sector would soon undergo unprecedented changes. And what was happening around him made Chris start to think. He’d seen how the estate agency model was somehow flawed. It was trying to modernise and yet retained

‘It was an absolute disaster. I thought I knew it all, and I knew nothing. That said, it was a tremendous learning opportunity. I really recognised my limitations’. By then Chris had met Rachel, now his wife of some 25 years. An interpreter by trade she is says Chris ‘ a calm person compared to me’. Rachel supported him as he licked his wounds. He’s actually quite amusing about it now. ’Rachel was living in Milan for her job and I visited a lot spending time, you know, hanging around cafes, moping, drinking espressos and looking like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders’. He makes it sound almost - stylish! Coincidence is an odd thing. Whatever forces were in the background this is what happened next. The company Rachel is working for are in take over discussions with Norwich Union. She, very supportively, tells Chris to sort himself out, he’s not a failure, and he should get himself into Norwich Union. Who of course are in Norwich. He does all of that and arrives at Norwich Union (it wasn’t Aviva yet) at just the time they’re trying to address the problems thrown up by changes in their market. This is the age of the direct broker - and it’s hurting them. Their solution is to get into a more computerised approach. And here’s Chris Sargisson to help them. Because, and here’s the thing, Norwich Union have never dealt directly with the public before. Chris Sargisson though knows a lot about selling to the public, and he knows computers, which, to be frank, they don’t. ‘It was odd. I soon realised that I was pretty much the only person in there who had worked anywhere else at all, let alone with technology’. The result of all this was the beginnings of Norwich Union Direct. ‘We had an opportunity, in fact a necessity, to build a customer focused brand that was different to Norwich Union. We did it. It was new, and zany. It also healed the wounds’. The problem was that another fracture was just around the corner. ‘By 1999 we had the first tiny glimpses of the internet. We did some

research and went to Norwich Union’s board to tell them that this was something they should be looking at very seriously. And the truth is - they didn’t get it’. Chris did though. With Patrick Smith, the then head of Norwich Union Direct they got an audience with a French venture capital organisation and with the funding they received they started to build Its4me. It was one of the first technology driven insurance companies. ‘You have to remember’, says Chris, ‘these were early days’. He rams home his point with ‘At the time we’re taking about Google was just a year old!’. It was a roller coaster. They ran out of money. And the technology failed. There was also the small matter of the ‘dot com’ bubble bursting. Tenacity paid off however. They rebuilt the technology and the business. It was all there, except the reality was that they now had an excellent product that wasn’t being marketed. ‘It was a conundrum. We couldn’t exactly take ads in Yellow Pages could we?’ What they could do, and did, was ride on the backs of the likes of Money Supermarket and Go Compare. Fledgling as they were these companies were throwing massive budgets at marketing their products, which had the effect of educating the public about the sector. In effect Money Supermarket and Go Compare were doing the marketing for Its4me. And it worked. ‘We had 5 years of phenomenal growth. We employed 400 people and as well as being plugged in to 4 call centres run by other businesses we had our own in Norwich’.

In 2007 they sold it, to Swinton. ‘For tax and legal reasons it had to be finalised at midnight on December 31st 2007. That’s when it hit me. The financial reward was good, but I was about 3 stones heavier than I am now, I was exhausted, I had children I’d not given enough attention to. I’d lost the balance. So I stopped. 2008 was to be a year off ’. The plan was to renovate a house they’d bought. They started work. ‘After about an hour I was bored’. They took time out, travelled with the children and the balance started to come back. Except there was one thing. Buying and selling his house had reconnected him with the estate agent sector. It was somewhere he’d not been since 1989, and not a lot had changed in the meantime. ‘I just saw how it was going to cost me money to sell a house, and it started me thinking again about the potential in creating a disruptive model. A conversation with his friend and former Finance Director followed, and from that House Revolution was born. The story behind this is that he talked with Right Move and when he discovered that to use them you had to be an estate agent, he sort of ‘became’ and estate agent. He blagged it. Asked for the name of his business he looked at a picture of a well known South American icon on his wall and said ‘House Revolution’. It was audacious, but it started something really important.

Key to the strategy, and the success, was employing top quality, customer focused sales people, and delivering not just an outstanding but also a transparent service. Whilst all of this was happening he was also in demand as a consultant, advising businesses, including some start ups. House Revolution meantime was running well. Custom built software and a great brand were fuelling growth. ‘But the truth is, to get to the next level it needed significant amounts of money. Tempting though it was to go back to venture capital and do it again he was all too conscious of how he’d been in 2007. ‘I wasn’t going to do that again’. Skilfully Chris and his team played a waiting game. It was only a matter of time until someone else invested in a market of demonstrable potential. ‘As soon as Purple Bricks became visible we started getting enquires. As soon as the right offer came, we sold. It was 2014’. Still acting as a consultant he found himself working with an architectural practice, and very much enjoyed the creative aspects of the business. ‘It was different to the financial sector. I enjoyed watching the way in which these people applied themselves to the task’. The project was coming to an end when he got a call to say that the Chamber of Commerce was looking for a new CEO. ‘I wasn’t sure at first. But when I realised just how entrepreneurial the role is I was intrigued’. 2017 Summer | 11


The role is now his. He sees it as very much to do with building on something that already has real value. ‘The work done so far, especially by my predecessor Caroline Williams, has been fantastic. The next stage is to get even further into the heart of business and communicate the relevance of the Chamber, and our message, in different ways’. This is interesting. You’ll have gathered from previous ventures that Chris Sargisson is drawn to the ‘disruptive’ business model. For those of you not actively involved in, or aware of, current marketing philosophies I have some good news. Mr Sargisson can, and does, sum up this complex theory better and more succinctly than I’ve ever heard before. ‘It is’, he says, ‘not about change as such. Not even about changing the product or service. It’s about finding different ways to get the message out there’. With such a crowded cv behind him it almost seems pointless to ask the question about what he might do in his spare time. Does he ever have any? But I ask, and I get a surprising answer. There’s no doubt the man has style; the tousled hair, the striped socks with brogues - there’s something dashing about him. Something that says ‘I’ve achieved a lot through technology but I am not a geek’. Damn right. Outside work Chris Sargisson is the lead singer with a ‘steam punk/ska’ band! Say again? Chris Sargisson is the lead singer with a ‘steam punk/ska’ band! 12 | Summer 2017

I should have picked up the early signal when I learned he’d moved to Norwich at 17, alone with just a bag of records. Let’s just put this into some perspective. He and Rachel are 6 years into the house renovation. They live in Norwich and son Eddie is studying music while daughter Florrie is doing A Levels with a view to going into medicine. Rachel - who he takes enormous pride in describing as a ‘kind’ person - is working with businesses on their marketing. Aside from the interior of the house the garden ‘turned out to be bigger than we thought’ so is another ongoing project. There’s skiing, often with Eddie (‘It’s an extravagance’) and he runs (‘Because it keeps the weight down and requires no skill’). It’s a full life. Time to sum up. You’ll see now why I said there was a lot to learn. Don’t think this took hours though. Chris Sargisson is an articulate and engaging man. He’s raced through this story, without notes, or hesitation. He does pause for a moment now though as I ask him about the future. And then he speaks, by quoting Rachel. Her influence on him, and his awareness of it, is a recurrent theme in Chris’ world. ‘She has always said that I have a strong moral compass. With due modesty I guess I have. I want to do the right thing. And that’s what makes this job such a great opportunity. It’s the chance to do the right thing, for our members, and for commerce in the region’.

As to the future, he actually does see things differently, more creatively, than most business leaders. There are no trite targets trotted out from him. What he says, how he looks at it, is this. ‘Where do we think we can get to in five years? Answer that and then draw up the route to get there’. It’s obvious that there will be no babies thrown out with any bathwater as Chris takes over at The Chamber. He learns from everything. It’s also obvious that he’s bringing to the role a unique blend of entrepreneurial zeal, intuitive judgement and inspired leadership. And style. And the vision to be, when necessary, disruptive. It’s an exciting mix and I’ve no doubt whatsoever that he is going to make a real impact. As I’m leaving we talk briefly of arranging pictures for this article. ‘I have some of me as the singer with the band’, he says. ‘Would that be ok?’ Oh yes, it will be ok Chris. There’s no point in my publishing this piece unless people get a chance to see the whole person. And this is quite a person. Ladies and gentlemen, I know you’re going to love him, I give you Chris Sargisson…

feature by:

Pete Goodrum

Writer, broadcaster @petegoodrum

2017 Summer | 13


Koblenz FineCity arts writer, Tony Cooper, visits Norwich’s German twin city of Koblenz on tour with the Norwich Philharmonic Chorus

14 | Summer 2017


ith Miss X in tow, my erstwhile travelling and dining companion, I’ve visited the lovely Rhineland city of Koblenz on numerous occasions and all of them connected to grand and exciting excursions undertaken by the Norwich Philharmonic Chorus who travel here on a regular basis to join forces with the Chor des Musik-Instituts Koblenz to partake of some grand choral work. I well remember the first Big Sing between the choirs. It took place in Norwich at St Andrew’s Hall in 1983 and the work chosen to inaugurate this landmark twinning event was none other than Haydn’s inspiring oratorio, The Creation. It was a loudly-applauded performance and, indeed, one to chalk up. I felt immensely proud of the Phil Chorus - who do so much to keep the long-standing choral tradition of the city of Norwich alive and well - when they took their bow alongside their German counterparts.

Michelle and Caroline with Dietlind and Carl-Günther Benningho


Three years later, in May 1986, the Phil Chorus made their first trip to Koblenz and the work chosen was significant, Britten’s War Requiem, a work I hold dear to me. In fact, I had the pleasure of attending its world première in Coventry Cathedral in May 1962 when the British soprano, Heather Harper, replaced the original soprano, Galina Vishnevskaya, at short notice because Madame Vishnevskaya got caught up in Soviet political interference and was not allowed to travel. The Coventry performance was brilliant as one would expect but so, too, was the performance

in Koblenz. What was remarkable about it was due to the Tel Aviv-born soprano, Gilah Yaron, who trained with the distinguished German-born soprano, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Her voice, strong and authoritative, perfectly fitted the part and she delivered a thrilling performance that was so memorable and, in my case, unforgettable. Therefore, with The Creation and War Requiem, the ‘choral twinning partnership’ got off to a rosy and healthy start. And for the choirs’ latest exchange, they returned to Haydn to perform

his ‘nature’ oratorio, The Seasons, a beautiful work but, surprisingly, not that often heard. In fact, the first time that I came across it was at a concert I attended with Miss X (who, by the way, took her place in the ranks of the soprano section for this performance) at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall a few years ago. This was followed by a further performance at London’s Barbican Centre with Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort and Players in their 30th anniversary year. The work - divided, of course, into four sections depicting the seasons - offers a host of rousing choruses, a riotous wine-tasting scene conjuring up dancing and beer-drinking peasants by the dozen, a cracking thunderstorm and even the croaking of frogs. Achieving fame and fortune in London in his mature years, Haydn had it all wrapped up it seems and was encouraged to write The Seasons following the great success of his oratorio, The Creation, but, sadly, it never surpassed it and lies distinctly in its shadow. Pity, really, because it’s a lovely piece showing Haydn at his best. However, it stamped the composer’s place in the music hierarchy as one of the rare artists to whom old age brought the gift of ever bolder invention as per the likes of Verdi and Stravinsky. Funnily enough, Norwich Phil closed their season in St Andrew’s Hall in March with an impressive performance of The Seasons featuring the Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra

2017 Summer | 15


Norwich Philharmonic Chorus with the Chor des MusikInstituts Koblenz and the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie conducted by Mathias Breitschaft. (Photo: Thomas Frey)

conducted by David Dunnett and a fine trio of soloists: Cecilia Osmond (soprano), Mark Dobell (tenor) and Jonathan Brown (bass). In essence, an ideal curtain-raiser to the Phil Chorus’ Rhineland trip. And the concert in Koblenz a month later in the Rhein-Mosel-Halle was equally impressive performed by the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie conducted by Mathias Breitschaft with Elisabeth Scholl (soprano), Marcus Ullmann (tenor) and Max Collet (bass). Therefore, hearing the work on a couple occasions within such a short period of time

proved for me (and others, too, I should imagine) a truly rewarding experience. Without doubt, the Norwich Phil Chorus concerts with the Chor des Musik-Instituts Koblenz are heart-warming affairs to say the least and always enjoyable occasions too. But to get twinning initiatives and such like off the ground there has to be a ‘fixer’ and one heartily dedicated to the cause. And the driving force in this case was Mrs Richard Jarrold, who, as Fraülein Krall, was born and raised in the idyllic and inviting wine village of Winningen nestling the banks of the Moselle about eight miles from Koblenz. Her eldest daughter, Mrs Nicholas Dixey - who enjoyed a long stint as chairman of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival - is deeply immersed in the Norwich arts scene and is chairman of the Norwich Philharmonic Society while her uncle, Antony Jarrold, is president. And with her sister Michelle, Caroline’s also a member of the Norwich Philharmonic Chorus as, too, is Michelle’s husband, Richard Martin. Their parents, Richard and Waltraud Jarrold, are on the other side of the fence as members of the audience.

Michelle, Richard and Caroline plus Willie Crawshay and Dietlind and Carl-Günther Benninghoven (chair of the Musik-Instituts Choir) at Burg Eltz

16 | Summer 2017

But visits by the Phil Chorus to Koblenz are also marked by an entertaining and varied social programme. For example, on this trip a large party visited Burg Eltz, a medieval castle nestling in the hills above the Moselle between Koblenz and Trier and still owned by a member of the Eltz family who have lived here since the 12th century. Following wallowing in history, they finished off their day by a wine-tasting event at Weingut Richard Richter in Winningen. What could be better!

In between rehearsals and the concert, Miss X and I took off, too, for a good rummage round Koblenz whilst also enjoying a gentle stroll by the Rhine to check out one of the city’s mostcherished attractions - Deutsches Eck (German Corner). An international meeting-place like no other, it’s situated at the confluence of the Rhine and the Mosel and punctuated by the German national flag and the colourful flags of the 16 Länder, a reminder of German unity. Here, too, you’ll find three parts of the Berlin Wall dedicated to the victims of the division. A monumental sculpture of Emperor William I astride his horse dominates the Eck. He was the first German Emperor as well as the first Head of State of a united Germany. Under his leadership - and in league with Otto von Bismarck - Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire. However, King Billy (as I like to call him) is admired by one and all and the steps leading up to his plinth are packed with locals and visitors alike enjoying themselves. It’s a heck of a climb to the top, though, but it’s worth it every step of the way if only to admire and soak up the glorious and spectacular panoramic view that welcomes you. But just up-river from Koblenz - which, by the way, arrives by its name from the Latin word ‘confluentes’ meaning ‘merging of rivers’ - you’ll find someone else on a plinth - or, in this case, a rock - the Lorelei. And like so many other visitors, Miss X and I made a pilgrimage

to see her and in recognition of my visit her magnetism and beauty tracks me every day as she’s now added to my vast collection of European fridge magnets. The legend of the Lorelei, however, is highlighted through the romantic ballad written by the German-born writer, Clemens Brentano, in 1801, Zu Bacharach am Rheine, while Heinrich Heine refined the story in his poem of 1824, Die Lorelei. The ballad tells of a beautiful siren from Bacharach named Lore Lay who, deeply upset and traumatised by the unfaithfulness of her true love, throws herself madly into the turbulent fast-running waters of the Rhine. To revenge life and love she would be heard singing a powerful and mesmerising song from her rock while attending to her long-flowing golden hair while basking in glorious sunshine. Her voice was so beautiful and appealing that it fascinated Rhine river pilots so much that they looked upwards to see where the strain of music was coming from and in doing so were distracted from their tillers and duly wrecked in the process. Folklore at its very best, eh! Visitors lap it up! Why not! You can view the Lorelei rock - which is atop a steep-greyish cliff about 433-feet above the Rhine near St Goarshausen about 30km south of Koblenz - either by boat or by car. Owing to inclement weather - we were in Koblenz in early spring - Miss X and I decided that road transport was the order of the day but, hopefully, next time a boat trip on the Rhine is on the cards and, I suppose, the best way to see, especially for the first time, the Lorelei. And perhaps the order of the day for the next Phil Chorus’ twinning event should open with a rendering of The Siren Song of the Lorelei in which Heinrich Heine - whose lyric poetry was set to music by such eminent composers as Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert wrote the lyrics in 1824 and Friedrich Silcher - mainly known for his lieder but also an important folksong collector - the melody in 1837.

The crest of the mountain is gleaming

The boatman aboard his small skiff,

In fading rays of sunshine.

Enraptured with a wild ache,

The loveliest maiden is sitting

Has no eye for the jagged cliff,

Up there, so wondrously fair;

His thoughts on the heights fear forsake.

The Siren Song of the Lorelei Her golden jewellery is glist’ning; I cannot determine the meaning

I think that the waves will devour She combs her golden hair.

Of sorrow that fills my breast:

Both boat and man, by and by,

A fable of old, through it streaming,

She combs with a gilded comb, preening,

Allows my mind no rest.

And sings a song, passing time.

The air is cool in the gloaming

It has a most wondrous, appealing

And gently flows the Rhine.

And pow’rful melodic rhyme.

And that, with her dulcet-voiced power Was done by the Loreley.

Catalogue of Norwich Phil Chorus exchanges: 2017 Summer | 17

FinePlaces May 1983 (Norwich): Haydn’s The Creation May 1986 (Koblenz): Britten’s War Requiem

Members of the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie: Mathias Breitschaft (conductor), Elisabeth Scholl (soprano), Marcus Ullmann (tenor) and Max Collet (bass). (Photo: Thomas Frey)

May 1989 (Norwich): Verdi’s Requiem May 1992 (Koblenz): Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius September 1992 (Norwich): Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony March 1995 (Norwich): Mozart’s Requiem May 1998 (Koblenz): Verdi’s Requiem November 2000 (Norwich): Duruflé’s Requiem May 2002 (Koblenz): Dvořák’s Stabat Mater July 2003 (Norwich): Haydn’s The Creation May 2005 (Koblenz): Mendelssohn’s Elijah May 2007 (Norwich): Schubert’s Mass in A flat April 2009 (Koblenz): Rossini’s Stabat Mater; Verdi’s Stabat Mater; Verdi’s Te Deum March 2011 (Norwich): Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem November 2013 (Koblenz): Britten’s War Requiem March 2015 (Norwich): Beethoven’s Mass in C April 2017 (Koblenz): Haydn’s The Seasons Forthcoming concerts by Norwich Phil Chorus: Saturday 4th November 2017 (7.30pm) St Andrew’s Hall Norwich Philharmonic Chorus Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra

Matthew Andrews, David Dunnett (conductors)

Europe looked after all of TC’s ticketing arrangements from London.

Soloists: Ruth Holton (soprano), Christopher Steele (tenor)

Return fares from London to Koblenz start at £138 (standard class return). All fares are per person and subject to availability. For bookings please visit or call 0844 848 5848. Please note that calls to 0844 numbers cost seven pence per minute plus the phone company’s access charge.

Brahms: Song of Destiny Mendelssohn: Symphony-Cantata Lobgesang (‘Hymn of Praise’) Travel schedule and facts: Tony Cooper travelled by train from Norwich to Koblenz transported by Greater Anglia to London Liverpool Street for onward travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras to Brussels in which to board Thalys, the hispeed Belgian train service, to Cologne. The last leg of the journey was undertaken by Deutsche Bahn (DB) Regio service to Koblenz, just over an hour from Cologne. Rail

For more information and best-value fares offered by Greater Anglia, please log on to www.greateranglia.

feature by:

Tony Cooper


The Rhinegold guarded by the trio of Rhinemaidens.

Matthew Andrews, David Dunnett (conductors) Soloist: Deborah Miles-Johnson (mezzosoprano) Sibelius: Symphony No 1 in E minor Holst: The Cloud Messenger Saturday 17th March 2018 (7.30pm) St Andrew’s Hall Norwich Philharmonic Chorus Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra 18 | Summer 2017


Are you ready to take on the challenge of Heroic for EACH?

ast Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) has launched a brand new event to raise vital funds for the charity. Heroic, a 5km obstacle course, is for the brave and adventurous among us.

On Saturday 23rd September, participants will get muddy, wet and dirty as they take on obstacles at Old Buckenham in Norfolk. The event is for people aged 14 and above with individual entry costing £20.00. There is also a group price of £17.50 per person (minimum of 6 people). Early bird prices are available and the charity is welcoming any additional sponsorship that participants are able to raise. Anyone raising over £100 in sponsorship will be entered into a special grand draw for some fantastic prizes. Participants will be testing their strength and agility on obstacles such as tyre runs, a double

sea saw, scrabble nets and many surprises along the way! Tal Williams, EACH Fundraiser said: “We are really excited about the first Heroic event for EACH. The day is guaranteed to be a challenge, but also good fun and great for spectators too. “All funds raised will be to enable us to continue supporting local children and young people with a life-threatening condition, and their families. We are grateful to our headline sponsor Bateman Groundworks for their support. “This is an ideal challenge for individuals or groups and company teams. We have already had a lot of interest for the event and spaces are limited.”

The charity is also looking for volunteers to help on the day so if a fitness challenge isn’t your thing, but maybe helping to sign in participants or hand out water is in your comfort zone, then please contact Tal on 01953 666767. EACH cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across East Anglia and supports their families. For both families accessing care and those who have been bereaved, EACH is a lifeline at an unimaginably difficult time. It costs the charity almost £6 million a year to deliver its services and all funds raised at this event will help. To register for Heroic visit 2017 Summer | 19


Let’s take a look at… Kings Lynn

20 | Summer 2017

FINEPLACES ‘On the Borders of that mysterious and dangerous arm of the German Ocean, called ‘The Wash’, and swept by the chilly blasts that come roaring and raging away from the distant ice fields of the north, and sometimes enveloped in the salt sea fogs that creep up over the flats of the marshland, and enfold in their embrace its shipping and houses, stands the quaint, historic, interesting town of Lynn Regis’.

‘There was a young lady of Lynn

Rev W. B. Russell Caley, M.A., F.R.H.S., writing in Bygone Norfolk, (William Andrews and Co, London, 1898)


‘Bob of Lynn during Twenty long Years, Directed, perplex’d and mismanag’d affairs: A Whig out of Place, and a Tory when in; And a very great Trimmer was Bob of Lynn’. Contemporary verse on Sir Robert Walpole, MP for Kings Lynn – earlier he was elected MP for the rotten borough of Castle Rising – and the country’s first Prime Minister 1721-42.

Who was deep in original sin. When they said ‘Do be good!’ She said ‘Would if I could!’ And straightway went at it again.’

Changes In his beautifully written and entertaining book The Companion Guide to East Anglia (Collins: 1971), John Seymour writes ‘The most romantic town in East Anglia is Kings Lynn’. I well remember this as being true as I had

recently finished a happy 7-year secondary education there. It may have been a bit downat-heel, yes, but the overwhelming majority of the medieval buildings remained and the town had a mellow ‘aura’. Regrettably, the ‘decade that good taste forgot’ followed, which affected the whole of UK life: in architecture, insensitive concrete monoliths came into vogue; men wore shoes with gold chains on them, flared jeans, and kipper ties with red and green flowers all over; kitchens were decorated with brown walls and orange ceilings ( my brother did thus, to his great delight, in our kitchen ) and people hankered after an avocado green bathroom suite ( they always looked dirty so there was little point in cleaning them). Kings Lynn – or Bishop’s Lynn, Lynn Regis or simply, Lynn, suffered greatly at this period as did my home city of Norwich. How better things would have been had we had a moratorium on any new developments from 1970 to 1990, or even a little later.

2017 Summer | 21

FINEPLACES For Lynn didn’t deserve this. Following the establishment of the gorgeous St Margaret’s Church in 1101 as part of his act of penance to the Pope for the act of ‘simony’ – having bought the right to be Bishop of Norwich for the huge sum of nineteen hundred pounds – by Herbert de Losinga, King’s Lynn rose to become one of the largest ports in the Kingdom. The Customs House (1683) and many other fine buildings resulted and, with a bit of a wobble until the railways once again brought prosperity after 1847, the town did pretty well. A second renaissance followed with the arrival of Campbell’s Soups in 1958. At the time of writing, a great debate is on about what to do with the original Campbell’s building - a building so uncompromising that it has a defiant beauty to it. Much remains to be done. A multi-million pound redevelopment of the town centre is underway which will include extensive cycle lanes – seven times as many people than the national average travel to work each day by bike. The future of this ancient town is in the balance.

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A place of learning…and murder Lynn has always been a centre of learning. The most famous person to go to school here was Princess Diana. There has been a grammar school of sorts for many hundreds of years, until recently when King Edward VII Grammar, which I attended, became a Sports College. However, attending the school gave me knowledge of one of the town’s most notorious people – a master at the school. He was apparently a very learned man who was, alas, hung for murder in 1759. His name was Eugene Aram and, to this day, debate continues as to whether or not he was guilty. Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote a famous novel about him in 1832 and he became a Victorian cause célèbre. He was accused of murdering one, Daniel Clark, who may or may not have been having an affair with his wife, and with whom he was involved in a tawdry affair to do with stolen silver plate. In court, he represented himself very eloquently, though evidently not eloquently enough, and many were the King Edward VII schoolboys who took up his cause in a re-enactment of the complex case. The proceedings would generally

peak with an emotional recitation of his last written words in the early hours of the morning that he was hung (he tells us that it was after 3 am because he had slept soundly until that hour): Come, pleasing rest! eternal slumbers, fall! Seal mine, that once must seal the eyes of all. Calm and composed my soul her journey takes; No guilt that troubles, and no heart that aches. Adieu, thou sun! All bright, like her, arise! Adieu, fair friends, and all that’s good and wise!

Execution most gruesome: a fact of life in medieval times. In the book, ‘Discover Norwich’ (Halsgrove), I remark that my home city of Norwich has had, overall, a peaceful history but that the few examples of bloodletting have been particularly gruesome. This was referring to, firstly, the burning alive of ordinary folk in the name of religion, at Lollard’s Pit down by the river, a few hundred yards from the present station. It also refers to the punishments meted out to Kett’s flock after their unsuccessful rebellion in 1549. Those that were hung had the easiest death. Hundreds more were hung, drawn and quartered in the market place, a death so terrible that it must have provided the ‘inspiration’ for the disposal of the corrupt police chief in the Hannibal Lecter film. Others were laid on the ground and tied to a horse which galloped away over the cobbles and, well, yes…. I thought, as a historian of these things, I was quite hardened until I researched the following method of capital punishment practised in Norfolk, with the fine town of Kings Lynn giving it an unspeakable twist. A cauldron of water would be set up and a fire lighted underneath. When it was boiling, the felon would be dropped in. In 1531 in Lynn, however, this was indeed done but, in addition, a gibbet with chain was placed above the cauldron. A girl servant, convicted of poisoning her mistress, was attached to the end of the chain and lowered in, then raised, then lowered again until her screams ceased. Executions were very big business right up to Victorian times, with crowds feasting, drinking, buying ‘confessions’ ostensibly written by the deceased, and holding a series of entertainments afterwards. Folklore suggested that women who could not conceive would have more luck in the future if they could ‘touch’ the body of an executed person, so bribery of those conducting the executions was rife.

Nobody knows and nobody care. To do: As befits such a major town, there is always much going on. There are two festivals each year – one of classical music (Kings Lynn Festival) whilst the other one (Festival Too) is one of the largest free music festivals in Europe and attracts top stars. Each year, on Valentine’s Day, a travelling funfair called The Mart sets up in Tuesday Market Place for a fortnight. There is The Walks If you wish to stroll in a beautiful 18th Century park. It is grade II listed. Be sensitive when discussing: Football. I fondly remember the thrill of bunking off Saturday afternoon activities in my boarding house to go see our local team. We would have a fizzy drink and a luke-warm square slab of pastry containing a strange brown gue that was called a ‘meat pie’. Unfortunately, Kings Lynn football team – The Linnets – was wound up in the High Court at the end of 2009. This extract is taken from the book ‘Discover Norfolk – Land of Wide Skies’ (Halsgrove)by Daniel Tink and Stephen Browning available in all good bookshops priced at £16.99 Take a look at Daniel’s websites: and and Stephen’s and

I have not come across any more examples of this method of execution and I am very glad. An important point is that, in our region, life in medieval times was seen as a bonus, about as secure as a spider in the bathtub. We had the plague, tuberculosis, cholera, poisoning – by food and alcohol – starvation, and no knowledge of the basics of good health. To survive for a week or even a day was a major cause of celebration and, if someone else was gone, Phew! You were left. The insignificance of life is apparent in this traditional rhyme: He enjoyed himself while he was here Went on the same from year to year But where he’s gone and how he fare

feature by:

Steve Browning


Feature by:

Daniel Tink


2017 Summer | 23

MUSIC, MAESTRO, PLEASE! BBC Radio Norfolk’s culture vulture, Tony Cooper, reports on this year’s BBC Promenade concert series and the links that the Proms have enjoyed with Norwich and the old (but well-loved) Triennial Festival


hen the season of the BBC Proms arrive, I always think that summer has truly arrived. A feast of music like no other, the Proms (running from Friday 14th July to Saturday 9th September) offers so much over its eight weeks of music-making not least by the famous Last Night which this year features the tenor, Ben Johnson, who’s a regular visitor to Norfolk in 24 | Summer 2017

his capacity as one of the artistic directors of the enterprising Southrepps Classical Music Festival held in August. He joins a quartet of my favourite singers, too: sopranos Nina Stemme and Lucy Crowe, mezzo-soprano Christine Rice and Canadian bass-baritone, John Relyea. Throughout its illustrious history, the Proms highlight special anniversaries and those to the fore this year include Monteverdi at 450, Handel

at 300 (Water Music) and John Williams at 85 while the birthdays of two iconic and pioneers of American minimalism will also be celebrated: John Adams’ 70th and Philip Glass’ 80th. Adams will be represented throughout the season including the First Night and the Last Night while Glass’ 80th birthday will be celebrated with the first complete live performance of Passages, a 1990 studio

FINEARTS The Royal Albert Hall in all its glory.

album he created with the world-renowned sitar player, Ravi Shankar. The concert, in fact, features Ravi’s sitar-playing daughter Anoushka and the Britten Sinfonia (who, incidentally, are no strangers to Norwich and well-respected through their long-term residency in the city) will be conducted by the American-born conductor, Karen Kamensek, who’s music director and principal conductor of the Staatsoper Hannover.

And the founder-conductor of the Proms, Sir Henry Wood, was no stranger to Norwich either. He was always in the city in his role as artistic director of the Norfolk & Norwich Triennial Festival, a post he held from 1908 to 1930 (a good innings!) while the current director of the Proms, David Pickard (who has now entered his second season in charge) often visited Norwich in his role as general director of Glyndebourne Opera whose

touring company comes to Norwich every autumn. Their repertoire for their forthcoming visit comprises Così fan tutte and Il barbiere di Siviglia plus a brand-new production of Hamlet by the Australian-born composer, Brett Dean, coming direct from this year’s Glyndebourne Festival. In fact, ‘Old Timber’, as Sir Henry Wood was affectionately known, broadened the range of 2017 Summer | 25

FineArts Director of the BBC Proms, David Pickard (Photo: Thane Bruckland)

orchestral music during his tenure at Norwich persuading many young English composers to perform and conduct their own compositions at the Triennial such as Gustav Holst (Hymn of Jesus) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (A Sea Symphony) while Sir Thomas Beecham - a popular figure at the Proms and at the helm of the 1936 Triennial - oversaw the world premières of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Tudor Portraits and Benjamin Britten’s Our Hunting Fathers. The links between the Proms and Norwich are strong and they continue with Norman Del Mar, artistic director of the Triennial for the 1979 and 1982 festivals, who presided over three Last Nights (1973, 1975 and 1983) while Vernon Handley, a conductor who did so much to promote largely-forgotten British composers such as Sir Arnold Bax and E J Moeran, took charge of the Triennial for the 1985 festival and also took charge of the Last Night in the same year. Included in his programme was Sir William Walton’s Gloria and, like Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Arthur Bliss, Walton was a regular guest at many Triennial meetings. In fact, Elgar’s song-cycle, Sea Pictures, was first performed (and conducted by the composer) at the 1899 Triennial by Dame Clara Butt who came on stage of St Andrew’s Hall dressed as a mermaid - ideal garb for the Last Night! Handley was scheduled to conduct Prom 2 of the 2008 season (19th July) but withdrew because of ill health and was replaced by Paul Daniel. After his death, the director of the Proms, Roger Wright - who’s now boss of the Aldeburgh Festival - dedicated Prom 73 (10th September) in his memory.

this year with a recreation Chief Conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent, who’ll be celebrated

The bust of Sir Henry Wood always present at each Prom

of his 500th Prom

This year the Proms - now 90 years ago since the BBC took charge - are all geared up to travel and will visit five different venues and for the first time in recent history travel outside of London to Hull, currently the UK’s City of Culture. Away from the Royal Albert Hall, there will be eight chamber-music concerts at Cadogan Hall, a series of choral concerts at Southwark Cathedral, music-theatre at Wilton’s Music Hall and new and experimental music at The Tanks (Tate Modern) whilst returning to Bold Tendencies Multi-Story Car Park in Peckham for a wide-reaching programme featuring The Multi-Story Orchestra and Youth Choir. The Proms will also explore ways in which politics has inspired and influenced composers across the ages through two big historical anniversaries in 2017: the Russian Revolution and the Reformation. Therefore, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov will be heard in various programmes marking the Russian

26 | Summer 2017

Revolution while the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will be marked by a special day of concerts curated by Bach specialist, John Butt. Engaging new audiences remains a vital part of the Proms’ mission and this year a host of special initiatives are included in the overall programme such as the first-ever Relaxed Prom presented in collaboration with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Royal Albert Hall education and outreach team. The concert will offer an informal environment for people with autism, sensory and communication impairments and learning disabilities as well as individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted. A major focus, too, this year is jazz and soul music with concerts marking the centenaries of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie featuring vocalist Dianne Reeves and trumpeter James Morrison while the music of jazz legend, Charles Mingus, will be celebrated by conductor Jules Buckley and his Metropole Orkest, Providing opportunities for young performers and encouraging the next generation of classical musicians is important to any musical organisation and, to this end, a host of young musicians will line up to take centre stage at the Royal Albert Hall. The First Night, for instance, will feature 300 singers who make up this year’s BBC Proms Youth Choir while the BBC Proms Youth Ensemble will join forces with Bang-on-a-Can All-Stars in a late-night Prom of a speciallycommissioned work from American-born composer, Michael Gordon, whose music is an outgrowth of his experience with underground rock bands in New York City. His formal training in composition, however, was undertaken at Yale where he studied with Martin Bresnick. The BBC National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain will also make their annual appearance under the baton of Thomas Adès while 22 current or former members of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme, as well as seven former BBC Young Musician winners and finalists, will perform this season.

Without doubt, the Proms always bring the world’s best musicians to London and the stellar line-up for the opening weekend includes international conductors Edward Gardner, Daniel Barenboim and Bernard Haitink sharing the stage with such outstanding world-acclaimed soloists as pianist Igor Levit (Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto) and violinists Lisa Batiashvili (Sibelius’ violin concerto) and Isabelle Faust (Mozart’s 3rd violin concerto).

Always important to Proms’ audiences, too, are visiting international orchestras and this year two great American orchestras will beat a path to Kensington Gore: the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Louis Langrée, the latter-named making their Proms’ début. And the Vienna Philharmonic - regular guests at the Proms - appear on a couple of occasions

Televising the Last Night of the Proms in 1955.

Sir Henry Wood will be brought to life in a special concert showcasing BBC Music’s classical music initiative - Ten Pieces Presents . . . Sir Henry’s Magnificent Musical Inspirations! - featuring an array of young artists including the Ten Pieces Children’s Choir and star saxophonist, Jess Gillam, who made history last year as the first-ever saxophonist to reach the final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition.

2017 Summer | 27

FineArts conducted by Daniel Harding and Michael Tilson Thomas while Sir Simon Rattle will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra together for the very first time at the Proms. But, of course, it’s the BBC orchestras and choirs that are the backbone of this great and imposing festival appearing in 30 concerts over the season. Also making their Proms début is the UK’s first BME (British, Black, Minority Ethnic) orchestra, Chineke! Their late-night concert (Wednesday 30th August, 10.15pm) includes the world première (a BBC commission) of Hannah Kendall’s The Spark Catchers, conducted by Kevin John Edusei and featuring the cellist and winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2016, Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Further late-night offerings include a performance showcasing the classical music of India and Pakistan in a concert curated by the culture heritage trust Darbar, Rachmaninov’s Vespers performed by the Latvian Radio Choir and Sir András Schiff performing Book I of J S Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. He’ll be returning next year to perform Book II. There’s a strong focus on supporting new music, too, and no less than 30 premières will be heard

28 | Summer 2017

Ralph Vaughan Williams conducting the London Symphony Orchestra

with 16 world premières including works by Kerry Andrew, Gerald Barry, Lotta Wennäkoski and Roderick Williams working alongside 14 European and UK/London-based composers.

- 31st July 1946.

And a new piece by 22-year-old Grace Evangeline Mason, a past winner of the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ competition, will celebrate the 300th


The Royal Albert Hall in full swing for the Last Night of the Proms, 2016 (Photo: Chris Christodoulou)

anniversary of Handel’s Water Music. Her work (commissioned by BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and the BBC Proms) will be performed as part of the Proms at Stage@TheDock Hull - a big treat for one and all!

quality audio the BBC has ever broadcast as a lossless audio stream at letting listeners experience the concerts as if they were actually present at the Royal Albert Hall.

This year, too, a special tribute will be made to the well-loved and hugely-popular Proms conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent, affectionately known as ‘Flash Harry’, who steered the Proms for two glorious decades from 1947 until his death in 1967. He’s another musical heavyweight who was also an artistic director of the Norfolk & Norwich Triennial Festival.

BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 6 Music will also broadcast Prom concerts this year while regular television broadcasts will be seen every weekend on BBC Four reflecting the full breadth of the season. The First Night will be relayed on BBC2 and BBC4 and the Last Night on BBC1 and BBC2. And Proms Extra, the popular weekly magazine show hosted by Katie Derham, returns for its fifth season on Saturday evenings - BBC2.

And stirring the memories will be a concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis on Monday, 24th July, 7.30pm, recreating Sargent’s 500th Prom featuring guest soloist, Beatrice Rana, performing Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor. This is the only piano concerto written by this great romanticera composer and it received its world première in Leipzig in January 1846 with Clara Schumann as soloist. Beyond performances, the Proms, as usual, offers ways for audiences to learn more and get closer to the music through a series of contextual events including 72 Proms Extra events comprising free daily pre-concert talks, readings, film screenings, workshops and participation events for all ages. And, of course, every Prom can be enjoyed ‘live’ on BBC Radio 3. And in a UK ‘first’ the entire festival will be streamed in the highest

David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms, says: ‘I’m proud that the festival continues to achieve its original aim after 122 years of its existence in bringing the best classical music to the widest possible audiences. In my second season as director, I’m thrilled to present a season that not only showcases the very best of the world’s greatest artists, composers, orchestras and ensembles but also puts new audiences for classical music at its heart.’ Alan Davey, Controller, BBC Radio 3, was equally as enthusiastic: ‘The Proms presents yet another glorious summer of music for 2017 and as always BBC Radio 3 will broadcast every Prom live. And for the first time this year we’re very excited to be presenting the festival in the best possible audio that you’ll ever hear as a lossless audio stream.’ What could be better!

The BBC Proms season runs from to Saturday 9th September. Check out the full programme by visiting: Box office: 0845 401 5040 or online at There are around 100,000 tickets available at £12.50 or under including standing tickets costing just £6 - these are available on the day of each concert. And for the sixth year running half-price seats are available for under-18s except, of course, the Last Night. Travel to London and the BBC Proms by train: Greater Anglia run regular services every half hour from Norwich to London Liverpool Street calling at stations en route. For the return journey the last two trains leave Liverpool Street at 22.30 and 23.30 and these trains also serve Ipswich for those travelling back to Suffolk. For more information and best-value fares offered by Greater Anglia, please log on to

feature by:

Tony Cooper


2017 Summer | 29

Waveney Valley

Norfolk-based arts correspondent, Tony Cooper, checks out the Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail


trail of sculptures and site-specific artwork will lead visitors to an idyllic site in the Waveney Valley this summer as the fourth Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail will host work of more than fifty well-established artists on a three-acre site of hidden paths, romantic groves and secretive corners on the edge of the Waveney Valley at the Raveningham Centre near Beccles. Organised by Waveney & Blyth Arts, the trail will build upon the success of last year’s event held at Earsham which attracted well over 3000 visitors. Here they viewed work of 45 artists whilst generating sales worth around £7000. Established artists presenting this year include Vanessa Pooley, Liz McGowan, Gordon Senior, Patrick Elder, Simon Griffiths and Meg Amsden. They’ll be joined by a host of emerging artists who are taking part for the first time. 30 | Summer 2017

This year’s trail - featuring site-specific work, 3-D constructions and sculpture as well as textile works, bronze sculpture and ceramics plus a sound installation - will also see the return of curator, Sarah Cannell, who has curated many diverse exhibitions and projects around the UK including the first and second of the River Waveney Sculpture Trails in 2014 and 2015. Ms Cannell, who has encouraged artists to create work in response to the site, said: ‘I’m thrilled to be curating the sculpture trail once again. The three-acre site at the Raveningham Centre is an exciting challenge for both myself and the artists as it has a variety of different settings from open meadow to magical secret gardens, all set in the grounds of a beautiful Tudor farmhouse. There’ll be fifty artists displaying sculptures and responding to the space with a variety of materials and techniques as well as a pop-up shop selling smaller works.’

A programme of workshops, guided walks and events will accompany the event including a family day and a curator’s guided tour of the site to give people an insight into how the sculpture trail was created. Nicky Stainton of Waveney & Blyth Arts said: ‘We’re very excited that Waveney & Blyth Arts’ successful annual sculpture trail has found a new home at the Raveningham Centre. The site has been wonderfully transformed by volunteers over the last few months to create a range of outdoor settings for the work which complement and highlight the variety of artworks on display. The trail will also

feature by:

Tony Cooper


be complemented by an indoor exhibition of landscape-inspired work by Harleston & Waveney Art Trail Collective who have put a number of assistance schemes in place to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy the trail.’ Ms Stainton further commented: ‘We’re very keen to promote greater access and will have a pre-recorded audio guide to the sculpture trail and a portable hearing loop for workshops. There will also be a British Sign Language interpreted curator’s walk.’ To keep one a-going strong round the trail, the on-site Ravenous Café will be open throughout the event and will also host an exhibition of paintings, prints, textiles and 3-D work by the Harleston & Waveney Art Trail Collective.

The trail - in which all artwork is for sale - is open daily from Friday 18th August to Sunday 17th September from 10am to 5pm. Parts of the trail is wheelchair accessible and wellbehaved dogs are allowed but on a leash. Admission: £5 (adults), £4 (members of Waveney & Blyth Arts), under-18s, free. For more information about events and access visit www. or WaveneyBlythArts

The Raveningham Centre is quite a hive for small and flourishing businesses such as M D Cannell Antiques, Norfolk Rugs, Helen Howes Textiles and Hobbies. Don’t pass them by!

2017 Summer | 31



Following on from the Aldeburgh Festival centred upon the Snape Maltings Concert Hall, the Snape Proms occupy this iconic venue for the whole of this month. FINE CITY arts correspondent, Tony Cooper, reports Alina Ibragimova and her periodinstrument ensemble, The Chiaroscuro Quartet, will play Bach, Haydn and Schubert. The Proms will also be hosting three sensational and contrasting choirs, The Sixteen, the legendary South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo Choir and Europe’s largest gay choir, the London Gay Men’s Chorus.


olk, roots and world, jazz, pop, classical, family and popular classics can all be soaked up and enjoyed in this year’s edition of the Snape Proms running throughout the month of August with the final concert edging into the first day of September with the season ending in style with a special live edition of BBC Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night is Music Night’ hosted by Len Goodman. Following last year’s hugely-successful season, this year’s line-up sees some outstanding artists from around the UK as well as from America, Australia, Russia, Germany and South Africa perform in the 50th anniversary year of Suffolk’s internationally-renowned concert-hall. Leading British jazz singer, Clare Teal, accompanied by the Hollywood Orchestra and Guy Barker opens the Proms with a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald while two-time Grammy Award-winning singer and multi-instrumentalist, Jacob Collier - who fuses elements of jazz, folk, trip-hop, classical, Brazilian music, a cappella, gospel and

32 | Summer 2017

soul - is one of a number of stars making their début this year. And one of Britain’s most enduring institutions, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, returns to Suffolk to perform classic big band arrangements by the likes of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. The folk, roots and world line-up see visits by Scottish-born singing star, Barbara Dickson, American-born singer-songwriter, Loudon Wainwright III and acclaimed British folk artists, Eliza Carthy and Seth Lakeman, while humour, storytelling and jazz standards come from The Jay Rayner Quartet, Joe Stilgoe with his witty style and virtuosic musicianship and Alex Mendham and his Orchestra performing hot jazz and dance music of the 1920s and ’30s. The classical programme includes the first Snape Proms appearances by internationallyrenowned sopranos Renée Fleming and Danielle de Niese as well as performances by pianists Elisabeth Leonskaja and Stephen Hough. The acclaimed Nash Ensemble will play Schubert’s Trout Quintet, The King’s Consort takes to an all-Bach programme and star violinist

This year, too, the Snape Proms offers a striking number of symphony orchestra concerts including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, John Wilson Orchestra, New London Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain as well as the world’s first professional blackand-minority ethnic symphony orchestra Chineke! while not forgetting the talented and inspiring musicians that make up the Suffolk Youth Orchestra. Snape Proms at a glance: 1st: Clare Teal 2nd: Ladysmith Black Mambazo 3rd: National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain 4th: Suffolk Youth Orchestra 5th: Barbara Dickson 6th: Seth Lakeman 7th: National Youth Jazz Orchestra 8th: The Nash Ensemble 9th: Stormy - The Life of Lena Horne 10th: Elisabeth Leonskaja 11th: Eric Bibb 12th: Alex Mendham and his Orchestra - late at Snape: a 1920s dance party 13th: Jacob Collier 14th: The King’s Consort 15th: Danielle de Niese

16th: 10cc’s Graham Gouldman: Heart Full of Songs 17th: Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band 18th: Carnival Prom: British Light Music Classics 19th: Chiaroscuro Quartet 20th: Kansas Smitty’s House Band 21th: Aldeburgh Carnival - no Prom 22nd: The Sixteen 23rd: Joe Stilgoe Big Band 24th: LPO and Renée Fleming 25th: Loudon Wainwright III 26th: Come and Sing Mamma Mia Grimethorpe Colliery Band 27th: John Wilson Orchestra 28th: London Gay Men’s Chorus

29th: Chineke! Orchestra 30th: The Jay Rayner Quartet 31st: Stephen Hough 1st September: Friday Night is Music Night Box office: 01728 687110 Full programme details and online booking: Approximately 4000 Prom tickets are on advanced sale at £6.50 plus 20 additional Prom tickets are available at the same price which can only be purchased on the morning of the concert

feature by:

Tony Cooper


2017 Summer | 33

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2017 Summer | 35


Allison Oakes (Gutrune) in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung (photo: Enrico Nawrath)


’m waiting for Stoke-born Wagner singer, Allison Oakes, in the coffee lounge of the upmarket German supermarket, Edeka. Our rendezvous was timed for 2.30pm and, just like a stage cue, she arrives bang on the dot. The warmth and friendship she extended to me on arrival put me in a good, steadfast and comfortable mood. We soon got down to business, though, and I soon found out that she was re-engaged to sing at this year’s Bayreuth Festival. In a league of its own, Bayreuth’s world famous and devoted solely to the works of that great 19th-century romantic composer, Richard Wagner. Officially launched in 1876 with a performance of Das Rheingold, the first opera in Wagner’s epic four-work cycle, The Ring of the Nibelungen, Bayreuth wallows in grandeur and history. For instance, those attending the red-carpet opening included such distinguished composers as Bruckner, Grieg and Tchaikovsky while Franz Liszt, Wagner’s illustrious father-in-law, also witnessed the grand occasion. Other high-profile figures also present included Kaiser Wilhelm, Dom Pedro II of Brazil and, of course, King Ludwig II (Wagner’s wild and eccentric patron) as well as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who, incidentally, encouraged Wagner in establishing the festival. The story of the Ring - the cycle of which also includes Die Walküre and Siegfried and concludes with Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods) - is loosely based on characters from Norse folklore and the epic German poem, Nibelungenlied, which chronicles the life of the dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians and how he was murdered and his wife Kriemhild’s revenge.

Allison Oakes

Richard Wagner aficionado, Tony Cooper, meets high-flying Stoke-born opera singer, Allison Oakes

36 | Summer 2017

Unlike any other opera to be found in the 19th-century operatic repertoire the drama of the Ring unfolds over 16/17 intensive and dramatic hours. It’s a long haul! And it was a long haul for Wagner, too, as it took him the best part of 26 years to complete starting in 1848 but that included an interval of eight years when he took time off for a breather. And in that time he knocked out Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Some breather, eh! Bayreuth, however, is certainly the place to hear, soak up and enjoy the music of Wagner especially in the Festspielhaus which was built to Wagner’s personal specification just for the sole presentation of his Teutonic works. The crème de la crème of opera singers appear at Bayreuth and Allison Oakes - who


Allison Oakes (Gutrune) and Stefan Vinke (Siegfried) in the forefront of the picture in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, the fourth opera of The Ring of the Nibelungen. (photo: Enrico Nawrath)

harbours a strong, colourful and rich-textured soprano voice - is, happily, one of them and up there among the best. She’s a lovely person to spend time with and right from the start of our conversation it was obvious that she adores (and relishes) her job as an opera-singer. Her first call at Bayreuth was not that long ago, either. ‘I was engaged for Frank Castorf ’s Ring cycle in 2013,’ she eagerly recalled. ‘It was a special year all round as the production marked the bicentenary of Wagner’s birth. I sang Gutrune (sister of Gunther) in Götterdämmerung and also Gerhilde (one of the team of eight Valkyries) in Die Walküre. ‘I had the good fortune, too, of returning to Bayreuth the following year reprising those roles whilst also taking on the role of Freia (the goddess of youth and beauty) - she’s also the sister-in-law of Wotan, ruler of the Gods, whose wife, Fricka, is the goddess of marriage. Therefore, I found myself singing a trio of pivotal Wagnerian roles all tied to the Ring in one season. That’s a great honour but an almighty task too.’ But from an early age Allison always felt the lure of the stage and she remembers well her first trips to her local theatres. ‘I was regularly taken to see shows with my parents, Laurie and Dave, as a very young child,’ she recalled. ‘We frequented the Mitchell Memorial Theatre, the Queen’s or the Victoria Hall in Hanley. I’m glad

to say that these theatres are all still operating to this day. However, I knew instantly I stepped into anyone of these theatres that I wanted to be standing on the other side of the curtain. The only question: Doing what?’ Opera, of course! And that’s what Allison did. But to get to where she is today proved a hard long slog that began with an initial period studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire. But for one reason or other, Allison became restless here and packed her bags and left for Germany where she completed her studies at the Hochschule fuer Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar, with Professor Gudrun Fischer. ‘This turned out to be a very good move,’ she emphasised. ‘I completed six years here followed by a two-year postgraduate course. Funnily enough, I started life as a mezzosoprano but Professor Fischer thought that I would end up a soprano. How right she was!’ During her studies in Germany, a host of roles came her way ranging from baroque opera to contemporary opera. But one thing Allison thought she would never do is sing Wagner. But that all changed after she won first prize in the Aalborg International Wagner Competition in front of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. She was on her way to the top and travelling fast! ‘I landed a trio of ‘‘firsts’’ in this competition,’ she smiled. ‘The Lauritz Melchior prize, the

orchestra prize and the audience prize. I also took first prize and audience prize, too, at the Robert Stolz Vocal Competition in Hamburg and followed this up by being awarded the Licentiate of the London College of Music.’ Not bad going for the young lass from Stokeon-Trent who started her working life as a radiographer in her local hospital. Without a shadow of doubt, Allison developed an operatic career to write home about and over the past few years she has sung such fabulous roles as Tosca in Muenster and Darmstadt and Salome in Oldenburg and Muenster as well as Elisabetta in Don Carlos at Theater Regensburg. However, a big moment in Allison’s career came with her Italian début in 2010 cast in the role of Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at Teatro La Fenice conducted by Sir Jeffrey Tate, who, sadly, recently passed away. In the same year she was also cast in the role of Marietta in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt for Theater Regensburg. Allison’s French début was marked by the role of Marie in Wozzeck, the first opera by the Austrian composer Alban Berg, at Opéra de Dijon. Last year she sang Salome at Staatsoper Hamburg and in April this year Isolde in Tristan und Isolde at Teatro Verdi di Trieste. But other important Wagnerian roles to Allison’s credit include Elsa in Lohengrin, one of 2017 Summer | 37

FineArts the Flower Maidens in Parsifal and Senta in Der fliegende Holländer. ‘Ah, Senta,’ she exclaimed. ‘It’s a lovely role and I remember well the first time that I sang it - it was in a production directed by Jakob Peters-Messer in Wuppertal. It was simply fantastic! In fact, I can safely say that I’ve been extremely lucky with the Wagnerian roles I’ve landed so far.’ But before Allison transcended to the ‘big stuff ’ - and Wagner most certainly falls into this category - she humbly took to the boards in that well-loved musical penned by Noel Gay, Me and My Girl, in a production staged in Germany at the Anhaltisches Theatre, Dessau - a theatre, by the way, closely associated with Wagner and often described as ‘the second Bayreuth’. Set in the late 1930s, the scenario surrounds the unapologetically-unrefined Cockney, Bill Snibson, who finds out that he is the 14th heir to the Earl of Hareford. ‘I loved being in that show,’ said a beaming Allison. ‘It’s the one featuring that big number, The Lambeth Walk. It was my first professional job, too. I played Sally Smith and I think that I landed the part not just because of my singing ability but because I could also tap. That’s my secret weapon, I suppose. I trained as a tap-dancer long before I took to opera.’ Allison, however, was quick to recall the inspiration that fired her musical passion. ‘I guess it was down to my stepfather, Don, who did more than anyone else to get me started and interested in music. His encouragement was second to none. He also helped me financially. Really, I’ve got him to thank for my career. He was into everything from big bands to brass bands and constantly listening to classical radio stations such as Classic FM and BBC Radio 3. His musical knowledge was amazing - and that knowledge, fortunately, passed on to me.’ As a singer, she cites as her role model, the great Swedish soprano, Nina Stemme. ‘She’s a goddess for sure and is blessed with an amazing voice that’s simply beautiful to hear and ideal for Wagner.’

Time was up! Allison vanished into the shopping aisles of Edeka - which, by the way, is situated in the shadow of Bayreuth’s iconic Festspielhaus - to purchase a few essential groceries having just arrived from Berlin where she now lives and finding the cupboard bare in her Bayreuth flat. I duly departed for my digs - a hop, skip and a jump away from Edeka - to get ready for another big dose of Wagner, a composer I can’t live without. Neither can Allison, it seems! This year’s Bayreuth Festival runs to Monday 28th August and this year’s new production - Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - will be directed by the Australian-born director, Barrie Kosky, currently artistic director of Komische Oper, Berlin. He becomes the first Aussie to direct in the history of this iconic festival. Kosky’s production, conducted by Philippe Jordan, features Michael Volle in the central role as the cobbler Hans Sachs while the ‘wunderkind’ of the Green Hill, Klaus Florian Vogt, sings

Walther von Stolzing with Anne Schwanewilms (Eva) and Johannes Martin Kränzle (Beckmesser). This year, too, sees the final performances of Frank Castorf’s Ring cycle with Allison Oakes cast in the role of Gutrune, sister of Gunther, in Götterdämmerung. The repertoire’s completed by Uwe Eric Laufenberg’s Parsifal and Katharina Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde - both rich, compelling and imaginative productions which puts the Bayreuth Festival on pole position and a winner all the way to the chequered flag! For more information visit:

feature by:

Tony Cooper


Allison Oakes (Gutrune), Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester (Gunther) and Attila Jun (Hagen) - pictured on staircase - in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung (photo: Enrico Nawrath)

Performing Wagner is so special implied Allison. ‘One aspect of singing Wagner is down to vocal technique. You need to possess a rounded beauty of sound and as Wagner’s characters are so complicated harbouring many different colours and shades to them, this has to reflect strongly in your singing.’ I don’t think Allison has any problems concerning this matter. Her portrayal of Gutrune, for instance, was admirably sung while her stage presentation and acting ability perfectly matches her vocal technique. At curtain-call she was showered with praise. That, of course, says it all! 38 | Summer 2017

‘I am myself a Norfolk man’

FineCity arts correspondent, Tony Cooper, checks out a special exhibition curated by Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery focusing on the world-renowned Norfolk-born hero, Admiral Lord Nelson


ntitled ‘Nelson & Norfolk’ it will present some of the most extraordinary and potent objects connected to Lord Nelson ranging from his boyhood days in Norfolk to his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. For instance, the undress coat he wore at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798 will be on display together with many other objects never before gathered together in one exhibition. But the undisputed centrepiece of the exhibition has to be the highly-important early French Tricolour, the monumental ensign of the French warship, Le Généreux. Le Généreux was one of only two ships of the line from the French fleet to escape the Battle of the Nile - the British victory which sealed Nelson’s reputation as England’s greatest hero. However, it was subsequently captured on 18th February 1800 and its ensign was despatched as a gift to the city of Norwich by Sir Edward Berry, Admiral Lord Nelson’s flag captain. Measuring 16m x 8.3m, the all-important ensign - roughly-speaking the size of a tennis-court - is

one of the most iconic objects connected to Norfolk’s most famous son. This is the first time that it has been seen in public for more than a century. To help to preserve the ensign, a ‘Just Giving’ fundraising project has been launched in a bid to raise £5000 towards the cost of £40,000 to safeguard and provide accessible storage for it. The success of the appeal will allow the ensign to be enjoyed by visitors at other venues and also for it to be featured in a permanent display in Norwich. ‘The exhibition’s built around key objects such as this emblematic ensign with its remarkable history,’ enthused Ruth Battersby-Tooke, senior curator of costume and textiles at Norwich Castle. ‘In explaining the story of the ensign, together with those of each of the other important exhibits, we are providing insights into Nelson and his times, the cult of his personality and the way he has been lionised and commemorated. The exhibition’s main themes are Nelson’s extraordinary legacy, his reputation and the ongoing nature of his ‘‘Immortal Memory” which continues to be of symbolic importance to the country.’

the artist, William Beechey, commissioned by the City of Norwich, completed in 1801 and included in the exhibition as well as the hat given to Beechey by Nelson after he sat for the famous portrait adding further human interest to the exhibition. Personalia from Strangers’ Hall, Norwich, include a lock of Nelson’s hair, owned originally by Captain Hardy and given to the Norfolk Museums Service in 1847, a napkin bearing the monogram of ‘NB’ (Nelson, Duke of Bronté), an honour conferred upon him after the Battle of the Nile. There will also be scraps of the British ensign and sailcloth from HMS Victory. Extremely apt to be exhibited together with the ensign from Le Généreux is Nelson’s famous undress coat, which he wore at the Battle of the Nile. Made in wool and linen with large brass buttons and gold-alloy braiding, this is a typical flag officer’s undress coat of the period. The coat also gives an indication as to how slight Nelson was. It is one of the important pieces kindly loaned by the National Maritime Museum.

Alongside the ensign of Le Généreux other important objects on display include the black velvet drape from Nelson’s funeral car, a uniform worn by a Greenwich Volunteer who guarded Nelson’s coffin during his two-day lying-in-state, a model of the funeral barge made by a French prisoner-of-war at Norman Cross internment camp and extensive Nelson funeral memorabilia. Particularly noteworthy, too, is the sword surrendered to Nelson by Admiral Xavier Winthuysen after the Battle of Cape St Vincent on 14th February 1797. When two Spanish ships, the San Nicolas and the San Josef, became entangled, Nelson was able to board one then the other.

Admiral Lord Nelson, 1801 by William Beechey (17531839): Norfolk Museums Service

On the deck of the San Josef, Nelson received the surrendered swords of the Spanish, including, of course, the one on display in this exhibition. The same sword is also featured in the large, iconic oil painting of Nelson by

Undress Coat worn by Nelson at the Battle of the Nile: National Maritime Museum, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection

2017 Summer | 39


The Battle of the Nile, 1 August 1798. End of the Action, 1799, by Thomas Whitcombe: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

A dramatic oil painting by artist, Thomas Whitcombe, also on loan from the National Maritime Museum, vividly depicts the drama of the final moments of the Battle of the Nile on 1st August 1798. Amidst the smoke from canons and fires, the magnificent ships are shown with their sails billowing and respective ensigns flying, the foreground littered with debris of wrecked ships and lifeboats filled with sailors lucky to have escaped alive. The painting was executed in 1799, a year after the Battle of the Nile. Together with additional paintings and prints, other notable loans from the National Maritime Museum include the border of a dress embroidered in honour of Lord Nelson and worn by Emma Hamilton at Palermo, c. 1799, a Freedom Box presented to Nelson by the Corporation of Thetford, a picture on glass showing Lord Nelson lying-in-state by J. Hinton and a charming picture embroidered in silk of Nelson and his beloved Emma. In addition, there’s an illustrated letter depicting the action between HMS Leander and Le Généreux written by William Guido Anderson, a midshipman on the Bellona in 1800 and sent to his father, the marine painter, William Anderson.

Nelson funeral car drape: Norfolk Museums Service

40 | Summer 2017

Complementing the important loans from major national museums and institutions around the country are additional fascinating and unique objects drawn from Norfolk Museums Service’s own Nelson archives as well as other local collections in the county including those of Norwich Social History, Fine and Decorative Art and the Great Yarmouth Sailors’ Home as well as Nelson’s schools: Norwich School and Paston College. Numerous items have also been generously loaned by private collectors. ‘Nelson & Norfolk’ is not intended to be a chronology of the life and times of the Great Man illustrated by objects but the exhibition does take as its starting-point narrative from the objects themselves. Therefore, in bringing together so much authentic material, the exhibition reflects the ways in which Nelson has been represented in imagery and how his remarkable life-story has been told through objects. Likewise, a strong cohesive thread is the affection that Nelson had for the county that ‘gave him birth’ and Norfolk’s immeasurable pride in its most famous son. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Nelson memorial in Great Yarmouth, the county’s most significant memorial to its local hero. It also follows on from the recent exhibition ‘Emma Hamilton: Seduction & Celebrity’ at the National Maritime Museum. Business sponsorship is such an important factor in getting exhibitions off the ground and, therefore, one has to be grateful to Woodforde’s Brewery acting as the headline sponsor on this occasion. Like Nelson, Woodforde’s beers were born and raised in Norfolk where Woodforde’s resides as the

The Ensign of Le Généreux, St Andrews Hall, Norwich, October 2016: Norfolk Museums Service

county’s largest brewer enjoying over 35 years of giving people what they love; great tasting beer. In fact, one of their beers is aptly-named ‘Nelson’s Revenge’, a powerful malty beer with great depth of flavour which goes down well with a beef-and-ale or steak-and-kidney pie. ‘It is an absolute privilege to be partnering the Castle Museum for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to uncover more about our very own local hero, Nelson,’ said Rupert Farquharson, Woodforde’s managing director. ‘This is a great opportunity for both young and old, local people as well as international visitors, to really explore and understand more about such a great historical figure and the journey he himself went on to achieve some of the most notable victories in British history.’ The exhibition (to 1st October) is partsponsored, too, by Ben Burgess & Co, East Anglia’s premier agricultural, construction and grounds-care equipment retailer, who have been serving the local farming community since 1931 and have supplied grounds-care equipment since 1962.

The Ensign of Le Généreux — conservation cleaning: Norfolk Museums Service

Horatio Nelson was born 29th September 1758 in Burnham Thorpe rectory, north Norfolk. He was educated at Paston Grammar School, North Walsham and King Edward VI Grammar School, Norwich. Nelson began his naval career at the age of 13 on 1st January 1771. On 11th March 1787, Nelson married Frances ‘Fanny’ Nisbet, on the island of Nevis. They never divorced.

The sword of Rear Admiral Don Xavier Francisco Winthuysen—surrendered to Nelson at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797: Norfolk Museums Service

In fact, Ben Burgess, who passed away in 2000, was a keen collector of Nelson memorabilia and founded the Nelson Museum in Great Yarmouth, which is home to his lifetime collection. ‘As a company, we’re proud of our founder and are tremendously pleased to support and be involved with this project,’ said

Ben Turner, managing director of Ben Burgess & Co and, indeed, grandson of Ben Burgess. ‘Really, it’s one that we couldn’t refuse.’ FACTS about Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB:

In 1798, Nelson met Emma Hamilton in Naples, the start of their love affair. Their daughter, Horatia, was born in 1801. She died in 1881. Key naval battles: Battle of Cape St Vincent, 1797. Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1797 - Nelson wounded and loses most of his right arm. Battle of the Nile, 1798. Battle of Copenhagen, 1801. Battle of Trafalgar, 1805, which resulted in Nelson’s death. He is buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Aside from the Great Yarmouth memorial, the most iconic monument to Nelson’s memory is the creation of London’s Trafalgar Square in 1835 with its centrepiece, Nelson’s Column, finished in 1843. Check out exhibitions and events at the Royal Museums Greenwich by visiting and for the Norfolk Museums Service Admission to ‘Norfolk & Nelson’ exhibition: adults £6.00, concs £5.70; children (4-18 years) £4.80

The sword of Rear Admiral Winthuysen undergoes conservation in the Norfolk Museums Service conservation lab: Norfolk Museums Service

To donate to the conservation of the Le Généreux ensign, please go to the page at campaign.justgiving. com/charity/costumetextile association/ensignoflegenereux And to view the initial unrolling of the ensign for conservation work, watch the time-lapse video here d59vQ&feature=youtube

feature by:

Tony Cooper Border of dress embroidered in honour of Lord Nelson and worn by Emma Hamilton at Palermo, c.1799: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London


2017 Summer | 41


Picture Perfect Norfolk’s top photographer, Daniel Tink showcases his photography exclusively in every issue of fine city magazine

Feature by:

Daniel Tink


This edition I have searched my vast collection for the four photographs that best sum up a glorious Norfolk summer!

flowers and fungi A dizzying array of wild grasses,

‘Sun, sand, sea and me’. This is

42 | Summer 2017

delight coastal walkers along the

Wells-next-the-Sea. A quintessen

North Norfolk Coast Path.

tial beach for all the family with

long stretches of sand, dunes and colourful beach


“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothi ng — half so much worth doing Rat to Mole, The Wind in the as simply messing about in boats Willows by Kenneth Grahame .”

all ages will love this. Enjoy scenic The Poppyline – little ones of

countryside views of the Norfolk coast and

as you travel from Sheringham

to Holt.

Visit the website for the full range of business, wedding and personal photographic services as well as website design. For a fantastic range of gorgeous shots of Norfolk, visit where you can purchase mounted prints of our beautiful county.

2017 Summer | 43


FESTIVAL FEVER! Norwich-based music writer, Tony Cooper, reports on the Southrepps Classical Music Festival

accompanying the singers in a varied and welcoming programme of song. Tickets £10

The festival, however, opens in earnest on Tuesday, 1st August, 7.30pm, with the Southrepps Chorale conducted by Stephen Richards presenting a popular programme comprising John Rutter’s Feel the Spirit (subtitled Songs and Spirituals) and Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man (subtitled A Mass for Peace). Tickets £15. Embodying the struggle of mankind through the inclusion of Negro spirituals, Rutter’s Feel the Spirit is an uplifting and moving work. And whether Negro spirituals are sung in a field in the midday sun or performed with orchestra and choir, their powerful melodies and lyrics still continue to inspire listeners and performers alike and Rutter’s work surely echoes this sentiment.

Ben Johnson


ust over five miles south-east of Cromer and 22 miles north of Norwich, the quiet, peaceful and tranquil Norfolk village of Southrepps not only has a good local, The Vernon Arms, but, since 2010, a good classical music festival, too. The festival - an initiative of pianist Tom Primrose, tenor Ben Johnson and Daniel Goode, runs from Sunday 30th July to Sunday 6th August - is blooming like no other and gaining new audiences year upon year. It heavily involves itself with young artists as nearly all of the singers and musicians engaged are in their Twenties and at the start of very promising careers. Travelling to Southrepps is fairly easy, too. You can get there by train. Well, nearly! The nearest railway-station to Southrepps is Gunton served by Greater Anglia’s Bittern Line which runs frequent services between Sheringham, Cromer and Norwich. The last train from Gunton to Norwich is 22.40 (MondaySaturday) and 22.05 (Sunday). The festival started out in a modest way with a coterie of 25 young and enthusiastic musicians while Mr Primrose’s father, Neil, gathered a core of volunteers together to support the 44 | Summer 2017

artistic endeavours of the festival’s founders. Therefore, they organise everything from frontof-house management to stage management while local resident, Maggie Tranter, looks after box office. In fact, Southrepps can be considered a ‘village affair’ as all of the concerts take place in the medieval splendour of the village’s intimate parish church dedicated to St James while over thirty families lend their support in providing accommodation and looking after the needs of visiting artists. At the end of the day, it’s down to The Vernon Arms, where good food, drink and convivial conversation is the order of the day.

Commissioned by the Royal Armouries Museum for the Millennium celebrations to mark the museum’s move from London to Leeds. The Armed Man is dedicated to victims of the Kosovo crisis and, like Britten’s War Requiem, it is essentially an anti-war piece and based on the Tridentine Roman Catholic Mass which Jenkins combines with other sources principally the 15th-century folk-song, L’homme armé, in the first and last movements. Tickets £15 An evening recital on Wednesday, 2nd August, 7.30pm, promises an exciting and entertaining concert featuring a talented quartet of singers comprising Rupert Enticknap,

As a curtain-raiser to the festival one can enjoy Festal Evensong in St James’ on Sunday 30th July starting at 5pm (free admission). And, as in previous years, Ben Johnson - who, by the way, is appearing at the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall this year on Saturday 9th September - will preside over a public master-class on Monday, 31st July, 2pm (free admission), at Templewood, Northrepps, where one can enjoy listening to this year’s team of Young Artists while the Young Artists’ recital on Friday, 4th August, 12.30pm, features Tom Primrose

Jonathan Mcgovern, Ellie Laugharne and Ben Johnson. Ellie and Ben, in fact, are currently appearing in Holland Park Opera’s new production of Don Giovanni in the respective roles of Zerlina and Don Ottavio. Tom Primrose is at the keyboard and the programme culminates in a performance of Brahms’ well-loved Liebeslieder Walzer. Tickets £15 Star violinist, Jennifer Pike, makes a welcome return visit to the festival on Thursday, 3rd August, 12.30pm. She’s well known for winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2002 following her performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis. And for six years she held the record of being the youngest winner at just twelve years of age. And that’s some record. Tickets £10. Classical guitarist, Sean Shibe, returns to Southrepps, too, for a concert on the same day (7.30pm) joining the Southrepps Ensemble in a fascinating and speciallydevised programme exploring literary and international perspectives on Catalonia with particular reference to the civil war period. He’ll play works by Boccherini, Ravel and Bruno Dozza. Tickets £15

The featured soloists are Ellie Laugharne, Rupert Enticknap and Jonathan Mcgovern while tenor Adam Smith (a former Southrepps Young Artist) is a featured soloist in Mozart’s Requiem - which takes up the second half of the programme - a work left unfinished at the time of his death. Tickets £20.

Pianist Martin James Bartlett also makes a welcome return visit on Friday, 4th August, 7.30pm, after his sell-out recital last year. The former BBC Young Musician of the Year has continued to add prizes and career accolades to his name and his recital promises to be one of the festival highlights with his programme including works by Bach, Liszt and Prokofiev. Tickets £20

And the eagerly-awaited Gala Concert later in the day (7.30pm) features all of the performers joining forces to celebrate the end of the festival but, as usual, the programme’s a well-kept secret and it’s always a hot ticket, too! Tickets £20

And for those that love English song, a special lunchtime concert on Saturday, 5th August, 12.30pm, by Ben Johnson and Tom Primrose - exploring the music of Benjamin Britten and his teacher and mentor, Frank Bridge - is not to be missed. Tickets £10.

Festival passes - which gains the holder entry to all concerts - cost £65 or individual tickets can be purchased by contacting the festival treasurer, Maggie Tranter, on 01263 834691 or by emailing her at

Later in the day (7.30pm), Ben Johnson will conduct the Southrepps Sinfonia and the specially-formed Southrepps Singers in a programme to include selections from Handel’s An Occasional Oratorio premièred in February 1745 at the Royal Opera House and based upon a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton after the poetry of John Milton and Edmund Spenser. The work, in fact, contains 44 movements split over three parts and the famous chorus ‘Prepare the Hymn’ (a paraphrase of Psalm 81:1-2) is the 26th movement and appears in the second part while the second minuet from the Music for the Royal Fireworks was reused from this oratorio.

The festival rounds off with a coffee concert on Sunday, 6th August, 11.30pm, featuring the Southrepps Ensemble playing Beethoven’s Piano Trio, op 1, no 1 and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet written in 1789 for the clarinettist, Anton Stadler. It is Mozart’s only completed clarinet quintet and is one of the earliest and best-known works written especially for the instrument and remains to this day one of the most admired of the composer’s works. The quintet’s sometimes referred to as the ‘Stadler Quintet’ following Mozart describing the work as such in a letter of April 1790. Tickets £10.

For more information visit

feature by:

Tony Cooper Tom Primrose


2017 Summer | 45

Applications invited for Art Fair East 2017 Major international contemporary art fair returns to the East of England


pplications to take part in the Eastern region’s largest and liveliest contemporary art event are now open.

Art Fair East is now established as a regular feature in the Norfolk art calendar. The 2016 event which featured the work of over 100 artists attracted in excess of 3,500 visitors from across the UK who enjoyed meeting artists and art experts, and seeing a great variety of artwork in one place; many going home happy with a new piece of original artwork. One artist, James Kerwin, sold 22 of his prints at the event other exhibitors made major sales, including a portrait of David Bowie by pop artist Nick Dillon that sold for £7,500 to a private collector. The fair has included an international range of exhibitors 46 | Summer 2017

with dealers in traditional and contemporary fine art, modern art, urban and street art, photography and sculpture. It is also believed to be the first time that signed editions by Banksy and other world famous artists were available in the region. Founded and curated by experienced arts professionals Will Teather and Brian Korteling, Art Fair East showcases quality galleries, dealers and artists. It has become acknowledged as one of the country’s leading fairs outside London. As successful artists themselves, the organisers are both passionate about getting more people interested in original contemporary art and helping artists to make a living from their work. Will and Brian are now inviting artists, galleries and art dealers to apply to exhibit their work

in this year’s fair, the third annual event. Art Fair East 2017 takes place at St. Andrews Hall, Norwich from 30 November to 3 December 2017. They are interested in hearing from potential exhibitors wishing to display contemporary art including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video art, installation, performance and original limited edition prints. All artworks must be one-off or limited edition. The first two fair’s have attracted many applications from artists based in the east of England, especially Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, but there have also been exhibitors from across the UK and overseas, from as far afield as France, China and Lebanon. Will Teather said, ‘Art Fair East is now becoming well established as a high quality art fair here

in the East of England, in London and further afield. Because we select the exhibitors we can make sure there is a good variety of work that will appeal to different people and give an assurance of quality.’ Brian Korteling added, ‘We aim to deliver the best the art-world has to offer to the Eastern region and also introduce Eastern artists to a wider audience. It’s also always satisfying when artists are signed up by galleries as a result of being seen at the Fair.’ Last year’s exhibitors included the Underdog Art Gallery from London Bridge, who deal in artworks by famous names including Damien Hirst. Sammy Forway, Director of Underdog said ‘Art Fair East is a wonderful exhibition opportunity. The fair was a great way for us to

create interest in our gallery and artists outside London, the organisers were very helpful, the whole event was very well put together enjoyed and we working with them. We made several substantial sales and have actually had visitors and made several sales at our gallery in London from people who saw our stand at the Norwich event. We met a lot of talented artists at the fair and have actually worked with a couple of them on exhibitions since. All in al, the Fair is a great way to break into the world of art fairs for galleries or individual artists. That it is run by artists for artists is a big bonus!’ Louisa Milsome from Norwich based Gallery in the Lanes added ‘Art Fair East has rapidly become a key event in the Norwich cultural calendar and a fantastic showcase for commercial galleries in the region.’

Will Teather and Brian Korteling will also both be exhibiting. Will still holds the sales record for the prestigious Other Art Fair in London. His spherical painting of Norwich’s Elm Hill Bookshop achieved the highest sale price ever recorded, becoming the first work to reach a five-figure sum in the fair’s history. In July 2016 Brian Korteling’s Mirror Cube won the River Waveney Sculpture Trail Award adding to his growing tally of prizes. Art Fair East is presented in association with sponsors Musker McIntyre and media partner Eastern Daily Press. 2017 Summer | 47

Trawlerboys confirm historic agreement... Lowestoft Town FC announce first ever Stadium Sponsor


owestoft Town FC are delighted to announce an agreement with Amber Dew Events Limited who will become the club’s first ever stadium naming rights partner.

The Trawlerboys home Crown Meadow, will now be called The Amber Dew Events Stadium after a two-year deal with the company was agreed. The initial term will be until the summer of 2019 with the Trawlerboys officially playing their first game under the Amber Dew Events brand against Norwich City on July 8th for our first major pre-season friendly. The agreement will also see the Amber Dew Events name and branding prominently visible both internally and externally at the stadium along with our digital media. 48 | Summer 2017

AMBER DEW EVENTS LIMITED, who were formed in November 2015 and based in Norwich, are a dynamic event management company providing event promotion and organisation primarily across the sporting spectrum, delivering bespoke tournaments, events and unique experiences for corporate, sports fanatics, enthusiasts, amateurs and novices across Norfolk, East Anglia and the UK. Featuring a range of sports; including darts, snooker, cycling, white water rafting, rowing, beach volleyball, Formula 1, Football, boxing and Athletics, we create professional sporting events, designed to engage your audience, challenge your competitors and most of all inspire all who take part. Anything from tournaments, corporate entertaining to fundraising, individual pursuits and challenges to team building, we can work with you to create a truly exclusive and inspirational event. With our professional connections and

contacts in the world of sport, we also offer unique opportunities to include sporting legends, medallists, Olympians and icons at your event. Amber Dew Events provides a perfect opportunity for corporate organisations, clubs and individuals. LTFC Commercial Manager Sam Hossack added: “This is undoubtedly a ground-breaking agreement for Lowestoft Town Football Club and one that we are all absolutely thrilled with. We look forward to welcoming Amber Dew Events as our Stadium Naming Rights Partner.’ ’ “This is a deal we have worked hard towards on both sides for a number of weeks, after initially speaking with Lord Russell Baker in regards to hosting an Amber Dew Event here at the football club last year, we stayed in touch,

and this was an opportunity that he was very interested in and after a few weeks of talks, we came to a mutual agreement, an agreement that we are very excited about’’ Lord Russell Baker, Managing Director and Founder of Amber Dew Events Limited said: “On behalf of Amber Dew Events Ltd I am personally delighted and extremely excited about entering into a partnership agreement with Lowestoft Town Football Club. The new ground name; ‘The Amber Dew Events Stadium’ presents an exciting opportunity to raise the Amber Dew Events brand in East

Anglia and beyond. Lowestoft Town Football Club aim to regain their National league status and the drive and ambition within the club is very evident with all involved. A good run in both the F.A Cup and F.A Trophy tournaments would provide great exposure to both the Football Club and Amber Dew Events brands as both National Cup tournaments provide additional TV, Radio, News Editorials and other media coverage. Amber Dew Events are looking forward to working closely with Lowestoft Town Football Club; and as two sporting businesses, we are sure this partnership is well aligned, providing a mutual

platform to further enhance the success and ambitions of both the Football Club and Amber Dew Events”. Lowestoft originally played at the Crown Meadow Athletics Ground, which shared part of the same site as the modern Crown Meadow. In 1889 they moved to a ground in North Denes, but returned to the new Crown Meadow in 1894. It was opened with a match against Lowestoft Harriers on 22 September 1894. And for the first time in our rich history, the club has found its first ever stadium sponsor, now named The Amber Dew Events Stadium.

2017 Summer | 49

Education what and who is it for?

50 | Summer 2017

The election just passed was unusual in many ways, one of them being that education did not figure as largely as usual because people had their minds on Brexit, nationalisation and other things. It is such an important part of our thinking these days that we sometimes forget that once upon a time, and not long ago, it was not universal at all. In fact, some did not get any teaching whatsoever… Before the Middle Ages Before the Middle Ages education in England was very much a question of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have not’, about 99% the latter, it has to be said. For all but a tiny part of the population, schooldays did not exist. The reason for this is that the engine driving education was religion. Education, in Latin, was primarily for aspiring clerics and those able to consider other prestigious professions – if you wanted to be a diplomat, for example, or a lawyer. Large fees were payable. For those at the very top of society and those at the bottom – nobleman and peasant – there were

specialised arrangements for the years that we now consider ‘schooldays’. The son of a knight, for example, would learn all about chivalry and hunting, while the poorest would pick up whatever skills they could from everyday jobs – labouring, scavenging for wood, poaching or even the art of begging. The most upwardly mobile – although the idea was never openly discussed – may have become apprenticed to a silversmith, signwriter or coachmaker. This was an education all about survival and nothing to do with learning for its own sake: a cynic might point to it as the crude beginnings of modern day ‘vocational’ training. As the country settled into the Middle Ages, however, a great deal of thought began to be given to education, especially the question ‘What is it for?’ Following great victories such as Crecy and Agincourt, England began to get a fine idea of its own importance and also a feeling of relative security unknown before. Ideas became fashionable, none more so than that of education – philosophy, religion, reading, writing and arithmetic. It is at this time - the early 15th Century - that the first ideas of ‘schooldays’, developed. Considering how hit-and-miss the system was as it developed, Britain found itself with a rich and diverse education system by the later middle ages. It was common for a rich man to leave a sum of money for the foundation of some kind of educational establishment. Usually, this arrangement would entail prayers being said for him every day. The most famous – Winchester and Eton- were founded in the 15th century. Later, all manner of different institutions arose, their exact character entirely dependent on the wishes of the person leaving the money: The Great Hospital in Norwich, for example, was founded both to take in ‘decrepit’ – over fifty years of age – clergy and also to pay for good meals for 7 destitute boys. Winchester (1382) and Eton (1440) were founded in this way. This model was copied up and down the land.

2017 Summer | 51

FINELIVING Up at dawn Life was hard at these schools. Work began at dawn and went on until there was no longer light to see by. Meals were inadequate and floggings common. Classes were huge, as the wages of the master was determined by the number of scholars he taught. Books were rare and so oral repetition, parrot style and senseless by modern standards, was the norm. Many a boy must have learnt – I remember it from even my own schooldays – huge chunks of Latin text, the meaning of which he didn’t have the faintest clue. Learning was primarily by rote as books were rare. The brightest of boys might also be taught to write business and legal documents. Henry VIII changed the system greatly by his abolition of the monasteries: much of the money confiscated was used to fund a new type of grammar school, of which St Paul’s (1518) is a prime example. Medieval Latin was deemed ‘corrupt’ and classical Latin and Greek replaced it. There was also a greater emphasis on book learning. The Bible and Prayer book were also used. In a rare example of early enlightenment, a few eminent thinkers proposed that school should actually be a happy place – not a place of flogging – and that classes should mix together (within reason). A new and radical idea in circulation was that boys should actually be taught to think and not just to repeat things by rote that they did not understand. Norwich was home to the influential thinker, Sir Thomas Browne, during the seventeenth century - his statue can be seen on Hay Hill in the city centre. He had some enlightened views on education by the standards of his time. He is buried in St Peter Mancroft. Oliver Cromwell and Charles II By the end of the century, there had never been so many schools, and under Oliver Cromwell this proliferation of schools continued Alas, the pendulum swung back with a vengeance with the restoration of Charles II: school were seen to be an encouragement to people thinking that everyone was born equal, which was precisely the cause of the recent instability. Classes should once more be established and the lower should not mix with their social superiors. The old-style grammar school declined rapidly – education for the poorer but able was left to the Dissenters who often would be hampered, even closed down, at the whim of the authorities. By middle of the 18th century working class children did not go to school at all, staying a home and, as early as possible, tending the fields or working in some other way. 52 | Summer 2017

Until the 18th century it was – generally speaking- considered that it would upset the status quo to educate poor people and that they would not want to keep ‘travelling up one farrow and down another’ if they were educated. But it was in the 18th century that the radical notion of education for the whole nation raised its inconvenient head. Christian bodies such as the SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) suggested that Christians should try to help the poorest. However, they were also prompted to action by fear of unrest from the lower orders. Often new schools were called ‘Something-coat’ often – Greycoat or Bluecoat, Orangecoat or Yellowcoat. We have reports that these coats were sometimes worn over leather breeches which, once drenched by rain and dried again, became hard and most uncomfortable. These schools would try to teach ‘relevant’ (i.e. those likely to reduce fear of unrest) subjects whilst at the same time teaching the poor to be happy with their lot in life. The French Revolution (1789) cast a long shadow of fear over society. Revolution was not to be countenanced. Was it not more natural to be happy with the state into which God had placed you whilst at the same time incredibly grateful to your benefactors? Terrible private schools Alongside these more ‘advanced’ schools were a ragbag of privately run, unregulated establishments. Anyone might open a school simply by putting up a sign saying they operated one. So, we have good and bad – mainly bad. We might have a priest, a soldier returning wounded from Waterloo, a drunk, a widow or, maybe, a very kind and skilled person with some leisure time. These so-called ‘Dame schools’ were everywhere, some operating in poverty and all unregulated: you would learn whatever the ‘Dame’ could teach – maybe just washing, butter making, sewing or reciting religious texts by rote. Schools in the 18th and 19th centuries

A major factor at the end of the 18 and into the 19th century was the industrial revolution and the consequent need for child labour. Many influential people suddenly became the champion of ‘letting children earn dignity by work’. Besides, was it not a parent’s, not the state’s, sacred duty to educate their child? Schools rapidly declined in popularity but, paradoxically, what many historians would regard as the start of modern education really began in the Sunday School movement. It was found that crime among the poor declined and that older folk, taught in separate classes in the evening, were very grateful for the chance to learn to read uplifting texts and the bible. This led to a system of day schools. The shortage of staff was rectified by the ‘monitorial’ system, whereby a master taught older pupils who then taught younger ones. Each of these then taught as appropriate – in consequence many ‘classes’ were huge, as much as a couple of hundred large. For a while – maybe fifty years - this monitorial system held in vogue and was seen as little less than the beginning of a new civilisation by some, even spreading to famous public schools such as Charterhouse. The Church of England was much in favour. However, the weaknesses of the system gradually became apparent – it was only really possible to learn by rote and discussion or problem-solving was impossible

as the ‘monitors’ were not skilled enough. The ultimate culmination is reached in Mr Gradgrind in Dicken’s ‘Hard Times’, when all the children could do was quote ‘facts, facts, facts’. Even worse, sometime boys such as Oliver Twist in Dickens’ famous novel, are left to be ‘educated’ in skills like pickpocketing by the likes of Fagin. Trafalgar (1805) and Waterloo (1815) showed to those in power that the great British Empire could not develop without ample supplies of soldiers and cannon fodder. Education was to be discouraged for the lower orders and a report by the House of Commons in 1816 found that only 1 child in 16 attended school. Stephen Browning has written a book ‘When Schooldays Were Fun’ (Halsgrove, £19.99) which explores schooldays from ancient times to the present.

feature by:

Steve Browning


2017 Summer | 53


NEW BOOK RELEASE ‘Norfolk Coast in the Great War’ by Stephen Browning. Pen and Sword, paperback, £12.99

Available in good bookshops, including Jarrold and Waterstones, and online at Amazon, Blackwells, Foyles, WH Smith and all usual suspects from 24 July 2017 ‘Norwich in the Great War’ I have previously written ‘Norwich in the Great War’ published by Pen and Sword in January 2016. I am thrilled to say that it has received a great review from Dr Giovanni Timmermans of the Western Defence Association, especially about the research undertaken for the book. Also, national review site Books Monthly calls it ‘Superb’ and the Army Rumour Service ‘Excellent’. Features of the new book The new release, ‘Norfolk Coast in the Great War’, has the following features: 1. It is the first ever study of its kind, ie a ‘sweep’ around the Norfolk Coast during the years of conflict 1914-18 2. It uses material from original sources never published in book form or at all. 3. While covering important events overseas – particularly with relation to Norfolk men – it also describes the joys and disappointments, highs and lows, subjects of everyday conversations, entertainments and general life of

54 | Summer 2017

those who lived on the vulnerable coastline. 4. There are some wonderful tales to tell: Kings Lynn, cordite and conkers; the pioneering work on the cliffs of Hunstanton that had a crucial bearing on the outcome of the war; the bravery of the greatest of the life boatmen, Henry Blogg of Cromer and his crew; the incredible war service of the Rector of Stiffkey, Harold Davidson, sometimes known as the ‘Prostitutes’ Padre’, who ended his life being mauled to death by a lion; the story of Tom Crisp, VC, who, despite having the bottom part of his body shot away by the guns of a U-boat, kept command of his fishing skip; the antics of the Red Baron off the coast (until he lost his life following a battle with a Sopwith Camel aircraft which was probably made by Boulton and Paul in Norwich); the pioneering work of ‘the first woman war photographer’, Olive Edis, from her studio in Sheringham; and a great many other stories. 5.The text covers places previously comparatively or completely neglected, those discussed including: Norwich, Kings Lynn, Sandringham, Hunstanton, the Burnhams, Holkham, Wellsnext-the-Sea, Stiffkey, Cley, Holt, Weybourne, Sheringham, Beeston Regis,The Runtons, Cromer, Happisburgh, Caister, Sea Palling, Great Yarmouth, Gorleston-on-Sea and Harwich. 6. For each section of the coast, the details of a few men who lost their lives are given. It

is intended in giving details of the few to honour the many who never made it home or to the history books. 7. There are over 180 photographs, many of them archive and rare. Of particular interest to many will be the ‘then and now’ photos, eg of Sheringham High Street in 1914 contrasting with one taken today. 8. The book concludes with an itinerary for a 46 mile walk along the Norfolk Coast from Hunstanton to Cromer, in sections or all at once. In great parts of this walk, the vista has not changed at all in 100 years. Please do not hesitate to contact the author for more details, interviews or a signed copy of the book: Stephen Browning Talk and Book signing at Holt Independent Bookshop I will be giving a talk and having a chat about the Norfolk coast in the Great War years at Holt’s beautiful bookshop, 10 Appleyard,

on Friday 15th September staring at 6.30 pm. Light snacks provided. I will be signing copies of the book during the evening. Tickets are £5 and available from Tickets are redeemable against the purchase of a book.

For the last two years it has been named by the Independent as one of Britain’s best 50 bookshops and it has also been commended in The Guide, The Guardian’s directory of leading independents.

Please come along if you can and book soon as space is limited. It would be great to see a good number of Fine City readers there!

The Holt Bookshop hosts and organises a wide range of author events at the shop, Gresham’s School and as part of the annual Holt Festival.

The story of a famous bookshop The Holt Bookshop is an independent outlet in the charming Georgian market town of Holt in beautiful North Norfolk. Situated just off the High Street it has more than 12,000 books in stock and prides itself on its variety of local interest titles including a wide range of natural history books. The shop was opened by Stephen Fry in 2005 and was quickly recognised as one of the best bookshops in the region.

Past guests include Kate Aidie, Diane Athill, Alan Bennet, Stephen Fry, Peter Hennessy, Richard Ingrams, Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Palin, Stella Rimington and Shirley Williams.

feature by:

Steve Browning


2017 Summer | 55

THE WOW FACTOR Written by Richard Bainbridge

Richard Bainbridge, chef-proprietor of Benedicts in Norwich, shows how to make the most of this season’s bounty‌ Freshly-picked strawberries.


56 | Summer 2017


Issue 58

he Fraisier Cake is a modern-day classic, what patisserie dreams are made of! A true celebration of juicy English strawberries, combined with lashings of thick cream, this

classic French cake will go down well at birthday parties and summer gatherings. Guaranteed to impress your guests, it is tricky to achieve, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get it right.

FRAISIER CAKE INGREDIENTS FOR THE GENOESE SPONGE 250g plain flour 8 medium eggs 250g caster sugar 60g melted butter


FOR THE PASTRY CREAM 100g egg yolk 120g caster sugar 50g cornflour 500g milk 50g salted butter 1 vanilla pod 8 gelatine leaves (hydrate the gelatine in cold water) 200g firm whipped double cream

FOR THE VANILLA SYRUP 2 vanilla pods 320g water 150g caster sugar


1-1.5kg English strawberries

FOR THE GLAZE 100g apricot jam

METHOD Pre-heat oven to 190oC. To make the sponge, place the eggs and sugar into a Kenwood bowl and whisk for about 12 minutes, or until it has doubled in size and leaves a thick ribbon trail. Lightly shower the flour in, delicately folding it in with a plastic spatula. Then add the melted butter. Pour the mixture onto a lined baking tray (20cm by 30cm), and spread your sponge mix out over the whole tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes. When cooked, remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooking rack. Place a cloth on top and allow to cool.

To advertise call 01953 456789

For the pastry cream, place your egg yolks, sugar and cornflour into a bowl and whisk until pale in colour. Place the milk and vanilla pod onto a medium heat and slowly bring to the boil. Once your milk is boiling, pour into the bowl over the egg mixture and whisk continuously. When completely mixed, transfer back into the pan and place on a low heat, whisking all the time. You are now looking for the custard to start to thicken. Allow the flour to cook out. (It is quite hard work at this point to make sure you don’t let the cream stick to the bottom.) Once cooked out (about 5 minutes), squeeze your gelatine leaves of any existing water and add to the cream mixture. Keep whisking until the gelatine is incorporated. Place into a bowl and allow to cool. Once cooled, slightly fold the

whipped cream into the cooked cream and mix well. Place into a piping bag with a piping nozzle. For the syrup, place everything into a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. To build the Fraisier cake, place the 24cm dessert/ cake ring on a clean tray lined with baking paper. Now cut the sponge out to fill the dessert ring and place on the bottom. Pipe a layer of the diplomat cream all over the base. Brush well with the vanilla syrup. Using your halved strawberries, line them around with the cut side against the mould. Continue to fill with the diplomat cream until three quarters of the way up the strawberries, then add another layer of strawberries, and finish with a final layer of the sponge. Brush the vanilla syrup on top. Completely cover the top of the cake with the cream and smooth all over. To finish, arrange the last of the strawberries on top, and using the warmed glaze, lightly brush all over. Place your cake in the fridge and allow to set. Bring out from the fridge and remove the ring. Place onto a cake stand and leave to sit at room temperature for at least an hour prior toSummer serving.| 2017




The Fine City’s Fine Ales


he Fine City's love affair with fine ales is a long-standing one and the discerning drinkers of Norwich know a good beer when they taste it.

58 | Summer 2017

Ufford Ales and rented a unit to house it on Watton Road, Norwich.

Golden Triangle has been brewing contemporary hoppy ales for The Fine City for six years, regularly adding distinctive new beers to their range. These award-winning ales are brewed locally in small batches and delivered weekly to the fine pubs of Norwich and Norfolk.

Last year Golden Triangle’s Mosaic City was voted through to the final of the Champion Beer of Britain competition at CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival. The 3.8% pale ale brewed with the distinctive Mosaic hop clearly stood out from the crowd, winning Gold in the Golden Ales category. Notably, this was the highest award of any East Anglian beer in recent years.

Golden Triangle is an independent craft brewery established in May 2011 by Kevin Tweedy. Like every good brewery it began with a love of beer. Kevin started brewing in the kitchen of his home in the heart of Norwich’s "Golden Triangle" and named the blossoming business after it.

This year, Elderflowerpower will be representing Golden Triangle at the GBBF from the 8-12th August. Elderflowerpower is a 4.2% refreshing golden ale brewed with hand-picked Norfolk Elderflowers. This year’s brew was launched to a warm reception at The Plasterers Arms, one of the best ale pubs in Norwich.

Kevin honed his craft at a residential brewing course at, the well known, Brewlab in Sunderland. He graduated to brewing his first commercial ale, City Gold, at Ufford Ales near Peterborough after deciding to purchase their brewing kit

If you would like to taste Golden Triangle’s innovative ales they can be found in the finest real ale pubs in and around Norwich. These include The Beehive, The Plasterers, The Leopard, The Kings Head, The Trafford, and The Murderers.

After City Gold was voted “Beer of the Festival” at the first City of Ale festival 2011, the brewing business grew quickly. Keen to find a home for the burgeoning brewery, Kevin purchased the Ten Barrel brewing kit from

For more information about Golden Triangle ales and where they are available, find and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. T: @GoldenTriangleB F: @GoldenTriangleBeer

2017 Summer | 59


A Feast For The Eyes


Norfolk Restaurant Week to take centre stage at Holkham Country Fair

orth Norfolk’s much-loved biennial Holkham Country Fair is teaming up with Norfolk Restaurant Week for the first time to bring visitors an enviable line-up of twelve top chefs from across the county, who will perform cookery demonstrations in the new Woodforde’s Food Village. Norfolk Restaurant Week is Norfolk’s largest dining event celebrating the culinary skills, fine foods and venues in and around the county. Hosted between 30th October and 10th November it offers the opportunity for foodies across the region to sample restaurants or revisit existing favourites all at unmissable prices.

opportunity for visitors to witness Norfolk’s top chefs, ‘cooking up a storm’, in the Food Village.” Martin Billing, Founder of Norfolk Restaurant Week, adds: “We are very grateful to Holkham Country Fair for giving us a platform to showcase our event in the lead-up to its launch later in the year. Last year we saw over 21,000 diners – local and further afield - choose from 46 menus at some of Norfolk’s best restaurants. This year is a really important milestone for us; not only because we are celebrating our fifth anniversary but because we are expanding the event countrywide.”

Sarah Green, Event Organiser for Holkham Country Fair, comments:

The twelve confirmed chefs performing cookery demonstrations at Holkham Country Fair on 22 and 23 July include:

“I am delighted to have Norfolk Restaurant Week at this year’s Holkham Country Fair. It is so important we make the two-day event a showcase of all that is brilliant in Norfolk and this partnership provides the perfect

• E ric Snaith from Titchwell Manor, Titchwell • S imon Marsh from The Grove, Cromer •R  ichard Golding from The Market Bistro, Kings Lynn • F ran Hartshorne from The White Horse,

60 | Summer 2017

Brancaster Staithe • Ben Dawes from The Pigs, Edgefield • Marc Sangster-Bullets from the Art Café / Grey Seal • Ryan Galvin from The George Hotel, Cley-next-the-sea • Daniel Freear from Strattons Hotel, Swaffham • Phil Milner from Shucks at The Yurt, Thornham • Ben Handley from The Duck Inn, Stanhoe and The Hunny Bell, Hunworth Sarah continues: “The cookery demonstrations offer a real opportunity for visitors to watch the professionals doing what they do best. We hope the displays will give those watching inspiration to buy local produce and test their culinary skills at home. After all, East Anglia has some of the finest, seasonal ingredients on offer.” Advanced tickets for day, weekend and camping are available now. For more information or to book tickets visit:

Welcome to Red Lodge Home of Country Living & Gourmet Food A warm welcome awaits you in this traditional Country House reminiscent of days gone by. Roaring fires, comfy sofas, country walks and the feeling that you’re not so much a guest as a welcome friend come to visit. Red Lodge has an impeccable pedigree. Dating from the late 1800’s we form part of Narford Hall, one of Norfolk’s oldest Landed Estates with over 3000 acres, 1500 acres of which is woodland and actively managed with the recently restored Parkland and Avenue Introducing our bespoke private dining experience in Scarletts@Redlodge, our excellently appointed Georgian dining room. Book your family dinner or romantic getaway at Red Lodge and you will experience exquisitely prepared meals to your order served at our Walnut & Ebony dining table. Booking available upon request How about giving the gift of an overnight stay in The Mulberry Room with dinner and breakfast, gift certificates available Bespoke evening meals from £15.00 pp Cookery courses form £45.00


01603 622890

Tel: 01760 339 525


156-158 Northumberland St, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 4EE

Family Run

01603 760565 2017 Summer | 61

Summer warmth… Ahh…the wonderful warmth of summer is upon us.


ow lovely to work outside under the soft blue sky. How liberating to eat outside, enjoy a glass of something cold outside and then snooze outside! The freedom of swimming in the sea under the vast Norfolk sky, or walking across fields…of driving in an open top car (now I’m dreaming!). The summer is here and to be enjoyed. Even if, as happened last weekend, just as the last dish was placed on the table the heavens opened! Huddled close under a large parasol my family and I kept surprisingly dry as the rain drummed and dripped, our spirits were high and the food was delicious. ! In the nursery the polytunnels are in the process of being emptied, swept and cleaned ready for, dare I say it, protecting plants in the cooler months ahead. I may plant a crop of autumn/early winter chrysanths…I love the deep pinks and russets and if I time it right I could sell bunches at the Festive Fair at the Forum in late November…better get planting!!

62 | Summer 2017

So, you may have guessed, I’m loving the outdoor living. Near our table outside I have three rooftop mulberry trees, these have two metre long stems with horizontal lush green growth as a flat plane measuring about 6 x 1.5m… this gives dappled shade when needed and also is a green ceiling on which are attached these gorgeous “Festoon Lights”. As the sun goes down these create a festival style atmosphere… each bulb has 5 copper wire LEDs inside which give off a sparkle up in the foliage canopy!

recycled glass… it looks lovely on a table with one or two stems of eucalyptus, the colour of which would tone beautifully with the turquoise glass. Each piece has a soft hue, reminiscent of our lovely Norfolk coast, from where this piece takes its name! !

Still on the plant and glass theme, another recent addition to the Posh Plants online shop is this eye catching Hanging Terrarium in glass. The simple organic shape comes with 70cms of thick natural hemp rope for hanging indoors, maybe above a plant collection, or, in a kitchen or bathroom window. Fill with succulents, ferns or cacti depending on the position and the type of look you are after. !

All the above and lots more are available from… and go to the online shop!

For a stand alone glass sculptural piece, this organic “Wells Bubble Vase” is crafted in 100%

If you're an outside or an inside sort of person, just take a moment and enjoy the wonderful summer. The weather is great, the days are long and we should count ourselves fortunate to be living in such a “Fine County”…enjoy!! email… tel…07703 347014 ! Sue Huckle Posh Plants, Seven Acres Nursery, East Tuddenham NR20 3NF. Topiary, garden and interior plants for hire and sale.

2017 Summer | 63

Award Winning Landscaping and Design

Paving and Pathways Ponds and Water Features Lawn Laying Walls and Brickwork Timber and Decking Driveways, Fencing and Screening Garden Design by Georgina Read

T: 01953 852139 E: W:

Follow us on Twitter @finecitymag

Contemporary, classic or chic modern

Kitchens and Interiors The kitchen is the heart of the home. That’s why at Graham Torbitt Kitchens and Interiors we provide quality craftsmanship, contemporary design, unique and fresh ideas to bring you the kitchen you desire. With over 25 years experience, let us put the heart back into your home.

Bespoke design and budget Creative solutions Integrity and expert advice Professional service Free consultation Inhouse at Premier Marble 3 Dewings Road, Rackheath, Norwich NR13 6PS

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Italian Collection Bolzano

Complimentary 8mm Underlay With Every Carpet!


01603 443588 2017 Summer | 65


Invest in your future...


s owner and editor it’s a great privilege to be able to produce my series of magazine - Dispatch, FineCity, Norfolk on My Mind and Suffolk on My Mind. The hours are long, at least 70 hours each week, which means many late nights, early starts and weekends in the office.

around £12.00 per hour, whereas in the World of Network Marketing you work that hour now and get paid for it but then the following month you get paid again, and again, and again and again for that one hours work you did months or even years ago. This is called Residual Income and I really like this concept!

In addition to my publishing company and being worked into the ‘nooks & grannies’ of my already busy day, I have also been building an additional business in the little know World of Network Marketing, where I spend just a few hours a week investing in my future.

In addition to the money I receive, which incidentally is around £200.00 per hour currently and rising to £300.00 per hour, I was also recently presented with the Mini, shown above, because I invested approximately 5 hours a week for the past few years and reached a criteria which I could choose how quickly or slowly I achieved.

In the traditional World of work the ‘Boss’ may ask you to work the occasional overtime, which nine times out of ten we agree to do, and they pay you the average hourly rate of

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In the fullness of time time-freedom will click in as the residual income reaches a point where

the average UK salary is being earned but you are still just investing your 5 hours each week. Invest a little more time and do it for a little longer and the sky’s the limit!

I’d really welcome the opportunity to show you what I am doing as you may feel you’d like to do it too. It may not be for you, but at least you will have seen what I am doing and you can make that decision, rather than me denying you the opportunity. I just need 10 minutes to show you, plus the time to answer any questions you may have. How soon can I pop and show you, during the day, one evening, weekday or weekend. It’s just a cup of coffee and a chat, nothing more.

2017 Summer | 67

FineCity Magazine - Summer 2017  

The Summer Edition of FineCity Magazine, covering the fine city of Norwich in Norfolk.

FineCity Magazine - Summer 2017  

The Summer Edition of FineCity Magazine, covering the fine city of Norwich in Norfolk.