Alma Mater - UEA and Norwich - Day One

Mary & I first met as undergraduates at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 1971. Mary was studying for her BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences ...

Photo 1: Mary Outside the School of Biological Sciences (May 2024)

... whereas my degree subject was in Chemical Sciences. The original School of Chemical Sciences has been renamed as the School of Chemistry and now shares the building with the School of Pharmacy ...

Photo 2: Ian Outside the School of Chemistry (May 2024)

I left UEA 47 years ago so I wasn't expecting to see any current faculty members I remembered. I did, however, spot a few emeritus professors/associate professors that taught me during the time I was there (1971-1977): Mike Cook, Roger Grinter, and Alan Haines.

I also did my PhD at UEA while Mary kept us solvent by working at the John Innes Institute.

We thoroughly enjoyed our six years in Norwich and might have stayed there if it hadn't been necessary to get a job!

Having revisited Norwich a number of times in the 1970s and 1980s, our return in 2024 was the first time in more than 30 years. Since finishing our first degrees in 1974, both the university and the city of Norwich have increased in size. UEA had around 3000 full time students in 1974 and now has over 17,000. In the 1971 census, Norwich city had a population of 122,000 which had increased to nearly 145,000 by the 2021 census. An even bigger increase in population has occurred when taking into account the wider metropolitan area.

We travelled by train from Hereford to Norwich via Birmingham and Peterborough - a five to six hour journey. If I remember correctly, it was a similar journey time in the 1970s when we were travelling from Manchester to Norwich. We had booked accommodation next door to Norwich station so we could quickly dump our bags and have a stroll by the River Wensum in the early evening sunshine. Invigorated by the strong smell of cannabis along the river path, we made our way into the city centre, passing the Cathedral on the way.

Photo 3: Pull's Ferry (May 2024)

Photo 4: Norwich Cathedral (May 2024)

Photo 5: Norwich Cathedral (May 2024)

Photo 6: Norwich Cathedral (May 2024)

One final landmark of interest, before heading back to our accommodation, was The Assembly Rooms ...

Photo 7: The Assembly House, Norwich (May 2024)

Along with Just John's (Photo 8)**, the Assembly Rooms was a favourite haunt of students. A great selection of cakes (the meringues were especially memorable) and the largest pots of tea you could imagine (at least 5 cups each); did I mention the excellent value as well.

[**filled baguette sandwiches and baked cheesecake along with freshly-brewed coffee. Yum Yum] 

Photo 8: Just John Delicatique (aka Just John's) - Credit acknowledged

Now renamed The Assembly House, the tea room has moved upmarket and, I would imagine, outside the price range of the ordinary student except for special occasions. 

On the way home we passed the National Centre for Writing housed in Dragon's Hall (built around 1430 CE) ...

Photo 9: Dragon's Hall, Norwich (May 2024)

... an archetypal building for Norwich.


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