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Norfolk Map

Norwich makes much of its Norwich 12, twelve iconic buildings covering 1,000 years of history. These range from the sublime Cathedral to the, externally at least, mundane City Hall.

"It's got a tower, that makes it stand out."

"Yes, but is standing out the same as being outstanding?"

Its real treasures, however, lie hidden away in the Elm Hill and Princes Street area.

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As our excellent guide on the (sadly retired) Olde Norwich Tour pointed out, Elm Hill is very similar to the Shambles in York; the only difference being that the Shambles is normally heaving with people whereas Elm Hill is virtually deserted.

When I got home, what I found most extraordinary, as a photographer, was the fact that I had taken half a dozen photographs of what appeared to be completely different streets, all in Elm Hill, all within about 100 metres of each other.

It's sad that we seem to have lost the art of making intimate human-scale urban environments that came so naturally to the Tudors.

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The Market

There is no better illustration of this than what has happened to Norwich Market. All the stalls have been replaced by grey metal boxes, with canvas strips painted on the roofs.

Instead of the exciting mixture of the open and the intimate you get when walking through a traditional market, it is a soulless as a container port.

Whilst it may be marginally more hygienic at the point of sale, most of the problems with our food occur further up the supply chain, out of sight. Let's hope that the idea doesn't catch on.

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