News

Vendor City Guide: Norwich

Street secrets revealed by the people who know them best

Our guide this week: Jim Hannah is originally from Hamilton in Scotland but moved south to find work almost 40 years ago. He sells the magazine in his adopted home of Norwich every day. “I needed something to keep my mind occupied,” he says. “The Big Issue and my regulars helped me to get back on my feet.”

Why I like living in Norwich

The locals

The people down here, I got on with them straight away. Norwich is not a big city, it’s small, but for the size there’s a lot in it. You’ve got two cathedrals for a start. Strangers’ Hall museum is a big house where they’ve done all the rooms up to show different periods in history. The museum on Bridewell Alley has different tools and things like that. We’ve got a patch here they call the Norwich Lanes – medieval streets with old churches, old buildings, all different kinds of things. My pitch is right in the centre of it.

The most famous thing about Norwich

Cathedral city

The cathedral is one of the places tourists visit most often. They always want to go to the main cathedral, which is Church of England, but we have two. There’s also a Catholic one up at the top of Grapes Hill and that’s lovely. I’ve been round them all. I like going in and seeing the drawings and stained-glass windows. There’s also an old church just across the road here. It’s called St John Maddermarket and is from the 1500s. You get in there for nothing.

My favourite places

Our parks

There’s a lot of nice parks. Eaton Park is about a 10-minute walk from the city centre. When the fairground comes they put it in Chapelfield Gardens. It comes twice a year, around March and October. They also hold fetes there. Then, of course, you’ve got the Royal Norfolk Show at the end of June for farmers showing off all their machinery, their cows and their sheep and all that. Norfolk is pretty rural so Norwich is where people come.

What is there to see and do

Do you like to be beside the seaside?

Great Yarmouth is only down the road really, about a 35 to 40-minute ride away. It could do with having some money pumped into it but it’s still nice. You’ve also got at the seaside Sheringham, Cromer, Hemsby, Lowestoft – a real choice of places and they’re not too far away.

The best places to eat and drink

A world of cuisine

There’s a good place straight ahead of me. It’s called The Iron House. You get lunches and breakfasts. The gentlemen who took it over put a wee bar in the back. Then you’ve got a pub called The Belgian Monk, in an old building. It sells Belgian beer. The main part of the city is full of restaurants. You’ve got a right good choice of restaurants: Chinese, Italian, Japanese. They even have The Ivy in Norwich now.

This sporting life

Shoots and scores

Norwich is a football town. Most of the people here are football mad. Norwich City just got promoted to the Premier League and the first games are Liverpool, Newcastle and Chelsea. They’ve always got a full house. I went into a charity shop a couple of months back and got myself a set of lawn bowls. I’m going to take it up as a hobby.

Interview: Steven MacKenzie   

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
FOSO is the new FOMO: Why are we so afraid to switch off and be out of office?
Work

FOSO is the new FOMO: Why are we so afraid to switch off and be out of office?

Almost no recorded cases of disability benefit fraud despite DWP crackdown: 'PIP fraud is a non-issue'
dwp pip/ disabled person
Disability benefits

Almost no recorded cases of disability benefit fraud despite DWP crackdown: 'PIP fraud is a non-issue'

Deaf man awarded £50,000 after 'oppressive' and 'discriminatory' treatment by DWP
dwp jobcentre
Department for Work and Pensions

Deaf man awarded £50,000 after 'oppressive' and 'discriminatory' treatment by DWP

Green transition: Help retrain gas workers or risk 'cliff edge' job losses, government warned
Green transition

Green transition: Help retrain gas workers or risk 'cliff edge' job losses, government warned

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know