THIS picture is all about why the grass isn’t growing down that middle strip. It’s because the flints are actually the remains of the once substantial City Wall, built around Norwich in the middle ages. The wall once continued across the road and ran down to the river beyond Oak Street. The house directly opposite used to be The Dun Cow pub which directly abutted the wall. Its owner was kind enough to show me a great chunk of it in his basement today.
And this second photo is the best I can do of the remains of the round tower behind the old pub along an alley which still leads down to the river. From what remains, it seems that this was where the wall ended – although if it did, it would have left a good 50 yards undefended. Someone will have written a full history of Norwich City Walls. I need to track that down. It’s early days on the research, but Oak Street feels like a real victim of the inner ring road to me. Clearly it used to be a busy thoroughfare into the city. But it’s been cut in half and lost a bit of its soul as a result.
Incidentally what am I going to call this chapter? We’re talking about the east side of the river Wensum, so it includes Mile Cross, St Martins and Oak Street, but I can’t think of a handy all-encompassing title.
There’s no shortage of material. I’ve done the Mile Cross estate and Wensum Park and now it’s time to get my head round the little-known Great Hall and the old shoe factory once run by Sexton, Son and Everard. But first, I need to follow that wall.