Saturday, 31 August 2013

It’s nearly time for this year’s Heritage Open Days, 12th-15th September, with free events celebrating the county’s fantastic heritage for everyone to enjoy. Check out open buildings, guided tours and walks, exhibitions and performances across Norwich, Thetford, South Norfolk, Broadland, Great Yarmouth and further afield. There's plenty to see and do across the long heritage weekend with lots of drop-in activities and open buildings.

There are still a few pre-book events available – discover Norwich Cathedral’s medieval graffiti, tours of Rosary Cemetery, Francis Cupiss printing company in Diss, The History of Advertising Trust in Raveningham and Ships Ahoy! tours in Blakeney.From Monday 2nd September remaining and return tickets for pre-book tours will be available in person only from HEART at The Guildhall, Norwich.

Pick up the events brochure in cultural venues, tourist information centres, libraries, post offices, cafes and shops across Norfolk, or download

Friday, 30 August 2013

Nice little earner

From HOPE not hate:

EDL liars' plan Scandinavian visit

Gruesome Twosome: Trouble will follow

The twin evils behind the English Defence League, serial liars Stephen Lennon and his cousin Kevin Carroll, are planning a speaking tour of Scandinavia next month.

For Lennon, it will be his first trip out of the UK since his ill-fated trip to the US landed him in prison for using a false passport. For Carroll, it will be another opportunity for a wild drinking binge.

The two are guests of the Swedish Free Press Society and Dispatch International, front groups for Islamophobes. The aim of the tour is to rubbish allegations in the British press that the EDL are "football hooligans and despicable racists."

Despite the fact Lennon is a fraudster, a thug a convicted football hooligan and a liar, he will no doubt be presented as some kind of freedom fighter. Carroll will no doubt wear some kind of crucifix around his neck for the trip. Both will be bladdered.

The tour starts in Malmo Sweden on September 28 before moving to Copenhagen in Denmark the next day. Whether the pair even dare show their faces in Norway remains to be seen.

The last time the two went to Sweden, their old friend Paul "Posh Spice" Weston got so drunk, he thought he had been mugged.

Weston is not on the invite list for this trip, but what is guaranteed is that the pair will face an uphill task to be heard over the antifascist noise that will follow them.

Free Press: We call it a piss-up

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Troublesome cleric more Prejudice than Pride

From EDP24 by David Freezer:

Controversial pastor investigated by police over Norwich Pride comments

A controversial pastor of a Norwich church group is under police investigation after describing the annual Norwich Pride celebrations as an “unashamed carnival of perverted carnality”.

The Rev Dr Alan Clifford, of the Norwich Reformed Church, has regularly made local headlines over the years for his strong views on religion, homosexuality and many other issues.

He is now waiting to hear if he will face prosecution for his actions, which follow an open email which was sent to the organisers of Norwich Pride and was copied to several other sources, including the EDP and Norwich Evening News.

The email was unprompted and sent following this year’s Norwich Pride parade on Saturday, July 27, which saw around 5,000 people join the colourful celebrations of equality in the city centre.

Mr Clifford was one of five people to hold a “gospel witness” on Gentleman’s Walk as the parade made its way from Chapelfield Gardens, along Theatre Street and Gentleman’s Walk and then up Gaol Hill to the front of City Hall.

Mr Clifford explained in his email that he had approached a stall on Hayhill and asked for some of the official Norwich pride pamphlets – a stall from which he was banned by Norwich City Council in April 2012, for giving out “hate motivated” literature.

He then offered leaflets entitled Good News for Gays and Jesus Christ, the Saviour We All Need, saying: 
You need them, they will do you good.
Police then provided a buffer as Rev Clifford and his fellow protesters walked ahead of the Norwich Pride parade.

Mr Clifford continued: 
The planned route took us past the market and the City Hall. Shamelessly displaying the City Council’s decadence, a ‘rainbow’ drape stretched along the entire width of the building. On the balcony the lord mayor [Keith Driver], resplendent in his ceremonial robes, waved to the crowd, supported by other members of the council. It was a truly shameful display of official support.
A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman confirmed the email was being investigated, saying: 
We can confirm a complaint has been received regarding offensive comments made in an email to Norwich Pride and the matter is being investigated.
This year’s Norwich Pride parade was the fifth time the annual event had been held, and brought to a close a week of events, including talks about gay rights at The Forum.

A Norwich Pride spokesman said: 
We received a very offensive email from Dr Alan Clifford immediately after this year’s Pride celebrations. It contained homophobic language.
Our mission at Norwich Pride is to ensure that we live in a city where everyone feels safe and proud to be themselves – and nobody feels hated simply for being who they are. We reported the email to the police as a hate incident and are pleased that they are dealing with it seriously.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Google now ranks "English Disco Lovers" above EDL

From SQ magazine:

It’s not a good week for online presence of the English Defence League. One week after their website was breached by the ZCompany Hacking Crew, the right-wing troupe find themselves falling below their satirical rivals, the English Disco Lovers, on Google.

That’s right, should you feel curious enough to search for ‘EDL’ in Google, the website of the anti-sharia law pressure group is now below that of the counter-protest collective the English Disco Lovers, who fight back against EDL marches through the medium of 70s inspired disco dancing and launched their own website earlier this year.

The English Disco Lovers, who also raise money for causes that support multiculturalism and racial equality, say that they launched the campaign to “reclaim the hated EDL acronym from The English Defence League and make it stand for something positive.”

The EDL focus on renewing a sense of national identity through the removal of Islamic culture from English soil. While the organisation, much like the ever-so-slightly milder BNP, claim to be of a non-racist nature, it doesn’t take much time to read between the lines.

Brilliant work from the English Disco lovers for non-violent, non-confrontational but effective protest - do your bit and click: 

EDL website hacking update

Update from SQ magazine

Gaz Ireland of Zcompany Hacking Crew (ZHC) has been in touch to confirm that it was his organisation, not Anonymous, who carried out the hack of the EDL website. 


ZHC say that while Anonymous were involved originally, this wasn’t their operation. 

ZHC claim there will be another member list release this evening.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Former EDL supporter sees the light

From *Bedfordshire Police FB comments:

Vile unacceptable racist language
I was a supporter of the EDL, I always believed they were doing something good for this country and I agreed with some of the things they were standing for. But after going to a few of their protests/demonstrations I started to open my eyes. On the coaches EDL 'supporters' constantly used vile unacceptable racist language. P*ki this and p*ki that, openly talking about burning down/petrol-bombing their local Mosques and all sorts of other disgusting things!

Ashamed and embarrassed 
It was honestly sickening to hear and it just made me ashamed and embarrassed that I was a part of this bigoted extremist group!
And oh, it wasn't just one or two of them saying these horrendous things, it was every single EDL 'supporter' I came across.

RUINING and DAMAGING this beautiful country
I've seen them start pointless fights with innocent/harmless Muslims on the streets! For no reason whatsoever. They weren't defending England! Instead they were RUINING and DAMAGING this beautiful country. They were bringing shame onto this country, they were making me ashamed to be British.

Using being "against extremist" as an excuse to promote hatred
Listen, I'm totally against extremism, we all are. But the English Defence League are using being "against extremist" as an excuse to promote hatred. They're just going the wrong way about it. Seriously, take a minute and go on the EDL Facebook page and read all of their vile comments that they all post! It's absolutely sickening to read!

The British Armed Forces are against the EDL.
The British Armed Forces are 100% against the EDL. They don’t want anything to do with them. Serving soldiers and those who have served in the army have come out and told the EDL what they think of them. They've told the EDL that they don't represent them and they don't support the EDL's racism, hatred and & attempts to divide. They actually despise the EDL more than we do.

Pointless march
And with the pointless march that's happening in Luton (Stopsley) basically the reason for this is that their "leader" Tommy Robinson LIED (again) and as usual most of his gullible 'supporters' have sadly believed him... He claimed “Goals for Gaza” is a charity for funding terrorists when it’s 100% not. It’s actually a brilliant proud charity for those helpless, homeless and hungry people who are sadly suffering in Gaza. So basically, the EDL once again misleading and brainwashing gullible people with their lies and misinformation.

The racist EDL do not represent this country
I just think it’s heartwarming to see the majority of people in this town and all over the country stand up to these racist, violent, brainless, ignorant shameless animals. The racist EDL do not represent this country and they certainly don't the people in it.

*Link no longer operative.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

East Anglian EDL - Legends in their own Minds II

The Fantasy:

"Helped by the YOUNG LIONS the OLD LION defies his foes".  

That heroic lion appears again in an EDL recruitment poster, adapted from an old Empire recruitment poster, together with two very small cubs that, in reality, a lioness would keep away from the male and well out of any danger.

Comically the EDL photoshopper deleted a few words to make the poster seem to be recruiting for the EDL rather than overseas work, and of course in real life the EDL are adamantly against a migrating workforce.  

So there on the EDL version of this poster the Old Lion is showing the way to the youngsters.

The Reality

At the EDL demonstration in Birmingham last month, a little boy (face obscured) cowers in fear beside the criminally idiotic "OLD LION".  Good job, Dad.

The Fantasy:

"Strong and true".  These are noble sentiments expressing steadfast, honest commitment to a cause.  This is the motto that appears on East Anglian EDL member Julia Howman's site (now gone).

The Reality:

"I will ALWAYS be true to myself, to promoting the legacy of my ancestors who died for me and mine so we could live freely, never ever to anyone else . . ." contradicts Julia Howman.

Howman declares that being "true" means being true only to herself and "never ever" to anyone else.  

This is the opposite of the traditional interpretation of the phrase "being true" which usually means a solemn dedication to defend an ideal or to commit to a person - not a solemn dedication to yourself.

Julia Howman's passionate commitment to herself has led her into a grasshopper far-right political career of expediency and opportunism. She stood for the English Democrats Party in 2004, then stood for the BNP in Sprowston in 2009 Norfolk County Council elections, and is now active with the EDL.

So much for being "true". 

Julia Howman, aka Julia Howe, Julia Angelcynn and AngelAethelflaeda, likened Norwich City Hall to the Kremlin in her speech for the EDL last November, and has quoted Nazi war criminal Joseph Mengele.

Another dangerous far-right East Anglian EDL fantasist
Giving East Anglia a voice?  Not my voice, AngelAethelflaeda.

More "Legends in their own minds" to come . . .

Thursday, 22 August 2013

East Anglian EDL - Legends in their own Minds I


The Fantasy:

A powerful image of heroic strength and dignity accompanied the 2010 list of EDL leaders.  A list that included Anthony Bamford, at that time East Anglian EDL Regional Organiser.

The Reality:

Anthony Bamford and four other cowardly thugs threatened young women at a fast-food outlet on Prince-of-Wales Road, Norwich:  
"We'll come back every Saturday.  There will be a lot more of us."



The Fantasy:

EDL Norwich division's Nat Snelling is a would-be spy.  She recorded mothers walking their children to school at her local Norwich primary school, and published the pictures on her EDL site.  She identified them as potential Muslim terrorists - because they were wearing hijab.

The Reality:

EDL News identified the school involved and passed this screen grab and photographs to the headmaster. EDL News disguised the identity of the woman that Snelling took the photos of but gave unedited photos to the school. The school said the matter is now in the hands of the police.

The Reality - a drunken Nat Snelling arrested at an EDL demonstration

More "Legends in their own Minds" to come . . .

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Mass Sleep Out – What’s it all about?

The Mass Sleep Out (TMSO) is a national day of action being held on August 24th, 2013. 

On this day people will gather in towns and cities across the UK and sleep on the streets, to raise awareness of homelessness and the probable increase in homelessness brought on by the bedroom tax and other government cuts.

What started off as an idea has now captured the hearts, minds and interests of more than 2500 people across the UK who wish to stand against the measures being imposed by the coalition government.

The Mass Sleep Out has events planned in 50 towns and cities across the UK as part of our national day of action on August 24th.

(click above to visit Facebook page:
To coordinate and spend a night on the streets in order to raise awareness of the impact of mass homelessness and to show how homelessness will look when people can not pay the bedroom tax and generally can not afford to live with all the cuts and prices of everyday living going up.

If you do not want to sleep over, please come for a couple of hours to show your support.



*********NO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL*********

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

EDL website hacked by Anonymous hacktivists

From the Huffington Post UK:
The website of the English Defence League (EDL) was apparently hacked and made unavailable by supporters of Anonymous and ZHC on Tuesday afternoon.

Anyone attempting to access the group's main website,, was met with an error message.

Anonymous, a loosely organised global network of hackers, had warned the EDL back in March that they would target the organisation.

The EDL website On Tuesday Afternoon

To all members of the English Defence League
We, Anonymous, are a vast network and varied consciousness. We are the defenders of free speech and a true shoulder of comfort for the oppressed. We have recently stood witness to your hatred and your use of trolling – not “for the lulz” but to pit human being against human being.
Supporters of Anonymous then released phone numbers and addresses of EDL supporters and donors.

August 20, 2013 12:58 pm via web Reply Retweet Favorite

Tuesday's hack was announced by @Operation_EDL one of a number of Twitter feeds operating under the Anonymous banner.

Public Anon News
Brace Your self: #HACKED, AND#REMOVED! #OpEDL" Great news!! l Via @Operation_EDL l#Anonymous #UK l #StopRacism
August 20, 2013 1:20 pm via GroupTweet Reply Retweet Favorite

Just to clarify it was Guy_Victory fro ZHC that did EDL hack but he works with Opedl
August 20, 2013 2:07 pm via web Reply Retweet Favorite

Although Anonymous has no definitive structure or philosophy, its numerous attacks generally target oppose internet censorship and freedom of speech.

Also on Tuesday, the group hit back after the partner of the the first journalist to interview American whistleblower Edward Snowden was detained and quizzed by six agents on his "entire life" while travelling through Heathrow.



It was up again, down again, up again, and now is down again - oh dear, shame to be messed about like that, still, never mind eh? *playing world's smallest violin*

Irving plans money-making tour

According to Searchlight, holocaust denier David Irving is flying to Britain for a speaking tour partly to promote advance sales of his book about Heinrich Himmler, the head of the murderous SS.

Irving was already well advanced with this book before he spent his year in an Austrian prison. While incarcerated he was beaten in a race to publication by two German historians whose own book on Himmler included much new documentation that proved even more clearly than before that the man was a monster.

Wikipedia notes
His work on Nazi Germany has been widely condemned because of his sympathy for the Third Reich, antisemitism and racism. He has associated with far right and neo-Nazi causes, famously during his student days seconding British Union of Fascists founder Oswald Mosley in a University College London debate on immigration. He has been described as "the most skillful preacher of Holocaust denial in the world today".[3]
Irving's reputation as an historian was discredited after he brought an unsuccessful libel case against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books.[4] The English court found that Irving was an active Holocaust denier, antisemite, and racist, who "associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism",[5] and that he had "for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence".[5][6]
Nowadays Irving concentrates on filling his coffers by charging high prices to join his outrageous tours of the former death camps and sites where Hitler’s Final Solution was planned. This year’s trip, which runs from 3 to 10 September, costs US$2,650 (£1,700) per person excluding travel to and from Warsaw. His UK meetings cost £18 “for operational reasons” and attending the Berlin meeting on 10 September will set participants back by $120. 

David Irving being deported from Canada, 1992

Irving has a schedule of several speaking events across the country, but the nearest he gets to East Anglia is Peterborough.

Secrecy surrounds the location of the event and the audience will be provided with location details a day or two before the talk.

No doubt Irving will enjoy the ringing of the cash registers as he fleeces his gullible followers to fund his semi-retirement in Florida. 

Friday, 16 August 2013

More East Anglian EDL stupidity

From @exposetweets - 
Exposing the EDL nasties:
East Anglian #EDL spell out how their problem is with all Muslims, includes calls for genocide.

HnhNorfolk responds:

All the Muslims I know and lived and worked with for over nine years in the Middle East and the Gulf interpreted their faith in their own ways, just as every religious person I have ever met interprets their own so-called holy texts in their own ways.

It is true that a minority will choose extreme interpretations of ambiguous words in the Koran just as a minority choose extreme interpretations of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. 

Look no further than the notorious Westboro Church of the USA for example, which has already declared that God hates the UK.

Secularists are well aware of the potential for extreme interpretations of religious words, and that is why secularists have a commitment to keep religious beliefs out of the public arena.

The separation of state and religion ensures that people of all faiths and of no faith are all protected and treated equally under the laws of the land.

This post on the EDL East Anglian board is another example of how members of the EDL fail to grasp the extent of their own extremism.  

The EDL East Anglian approach is ignorant.  It seeks to foment hatred and division amongst our communities.  It is unable to envision any method of conflict resolution other than confrontation.  There is no big picture in EDL world.

This stupid post from the East Anglian division of the EDL is yet another reason to deplore the EDL.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Norwich & Central Norfolk Mind’s Festival of Cultures Sat 17 August

The annual multicultural celebration is back at the Forum with a programme filled with art, music, and dance to celebrate the diverse communities that are part of Norwich.

Outdoor workshops:

Salsa Workshop with Chili con Salsa
Sundiata the Lion King of Mali - puppet show by Interface Learning Youth Group
Live Music
Capoeira demonstration
Traditional Lithuanian singing and dancing
Zumba demonstration
Drumming session
Tiger FC Roaring Skills demonstration
Sefo Kanuteh - Kora player from West Africa

Atrium Workshops:

African story telling with Patience Unazi
Learn to write your name in Arabic with Nisreen Elneel
Rangoli - traditional Indian decorative design with Aruna Ondhia
Healing Middle Eastern Dance workshop with Lorraine Theobald
Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping) with Monica Porter
Introduction to Mindfulmess with Catherine Stanley
Free Complementary Therapy Taster Sessions
Indian Head Massage with Ani Barker
Face reflexology with Helaina Checkets
Seated, clothed massage with Bibi Lewis

Cultural Village representing:

Bulgaria, China, Congo, India, Lithuania, Neesa, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, West Africa, Zimbabwe

World Market - taste foods from around the world:

Eden’s Catering
Embira Jewellery
Finnie’s Juice Bar
Indian Crafts
Lithuanian Arts and Food
Namaste Pure Indian Vegetarian Food
Out of Africa Trading Post
Rice and Spice
Tapas Bar

Meet the teams at local organisations:

Equal lives, Girl guides, Health Trainers, Healthwatch, Interface Learning, International Day of the Girl, NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group Community Learning Champions & People Shaped Solutions, Norfolk Constabulary, Tourette East Anglia, Toy Library, UEA Language Department, We are Norwich

Enjoy free workshops, taste some great food, discover unusual art and crafts and find out about community groups and organizations that promote cultural diversity in Norwich.

Funded by Time to Change and Norwich City Council.
Outside and Inside 11am-4pm

When a third of Norwich folk were immigrants

The Strangers

From Norwich HEART by Ian K Smith:


In 1565 the City authorities invited Protestant refugees from the Spanish Netherlands to settle in Norwich to boost the City's textile industry. 30 households of master weavers came over from Flanders, of which 24 were Flemish and 6 were French-speaking Walloons. Soon followed by many more, they became known as the Strangers, and at their peak accounted for over a third of the City's population.


The Strangers were eager to come to England to seek asylum. Neither their adherence to 'heretical' Calvinist doctrines nor their spirit of political independence could be tolerated by their Spanish overlords. From 1567, when the ruthless Duke of Alva was sent to suppress them, the numbers entering Norwich soared.

Unlike today's government, Elizabeth I and her advisors faced an entirely new situation. Never before had asylum seekers come in such numbers; never before had they been primarily, or allegedly, 'political' refugees. The Queen and the Privy Council worried not only about their sheer numbers, but also about their political reliability at a time of international tension, about the presence of dangerous fundamentalists (aka Anabaptists) in their ranks and about the danger of disorder sparked off by xenophobia in the local population. Foreshadowing current concerns about economic migrants, Sir William Cecil suspected that 'with so great a multitude', some were coming only 'upon pretence of fleing for persequcon for ye cause of religion'. Surveys were commissioned from the 1560s on to determine their numbers and motivation. In 1571 the Privy Council sent letters to 'sundry ports within the realme touching the daily excessive repaier of straingers' and even for a time hired a captain to control the flow of Thames traffic.

But in general the government came down on the side of welcoming them. Sympathy for persecuted fellow Protestants was one reason, but the most important consideration was less altruistic - their economic value.

Compared with its European neighbours, Elizabethan England was technologically backward and many of the Strangers had valuable skills particularly in the vital textile industry.

Despite his misgivings about non-political refugees, Sir William Cecil was the chief proponent of the economic argument within the administration, while the Archbishop of Canterbury weighed in by condemning what we might now call racist attitudes among those of the 'common sort' who 'term (the Strangers) no better than French dogs'. The upshot was a government policy judiciously mixing careful regulation with economic incentives.

Nowhere did the Strangers have a greater impact than in the city of Norwich where they eventually came to constitute nearly a third of the population in what was then the second city in the realm. The textile industry, Norwich's main source of wealth, had fallen on hard times thanks to disruption of foreign markets and failure to bring in new techniques. Unemployment, poverty and urban decay were rife. Responding to the central government's desire to disperse the refugees, hitherto mainly concentrated in London and Sandwich, the mayor Thomas Sotherton, realised that the Strangers might help by bringing in new expertise, new products (the so-called 'New Draperies') and a new spirit of enterprise which, in turn, would start and economic trickle-down effect.

In 1564 Sotherton accordingly approached the Duke of Norfolk who in turn obtained permission for 30 master weavers (24 Dutch and 6 Walloons) to settle in Norwich. Under the letters patent, granted by the Queen, they were to exercise 'the faculties of making bays, arras, sayes, tapestry, mockadoes, staments, carsay and such other outlandish commodities as hath not bene used to be made within this our Realme of England'.

The first arrivals may have benefited from a sixteenth century version of 'bed and breakfast' accommodation - Thomas Sotherton is known to have taken in Dutch tenants and the house where he lived is still known as 'Strangers' Hall'. But state hand-outs or social security would of course have been out of the question. On the contrary, the Strangers were required to pay various extra dues and taxes including extra customs duties and a poll tax according to their position. They in effect paid twice for the expenses for poor relief - once into the general pot and once through maintaining directly the poor in their own community.

The civic authorities both facilitated and highly regulated the Strangers' trade in order to ensure maximum benefit for the economy of the city and minimum competition for local artisans. A church was set aside for their cloth hall at a rent of £13 a year. Regulations, progressively modified and codified, stipulated such matters as the type of cloth which they were allowed to produce and the conditions under which they were allowed to buy and sell goods. But internal social regulation of the communities was left largely to their own leaders.

Meanwhile, as repression in the Low Countries had intensified, many more Strangers, mainly from the Flemish and French speaking areas of present-day Belgium, had joined the Norwich bridge-head. The original contingent (the 30 master weavers permitted under the royal licence, plus their families and household servants) amounted to about 300. But in about two years their numbers had grown about five-fold to 1,471 and in another two years it had doubled to 2,866. Despite an outbreak of the Plague in 1578/79 in which about 2,500 Strangers perished, by 1582 the community had grown to 4,678 - about a third of the city's total population.

The conditions in the original licence restricting them to certain textile related occupations had long since been either relaxed or overlooked. A whole new community with occupations ranging from schoolmasters and ministers of religion to bakers, brewers and farmers had grown up.

Then, as now, such a 'flood' might well have been expected to stir up all sorts of social, economic and even religious tensions. However, the Strangers appear to have been initially well received - at least better in Norwich than in London or elsewhere. The tone of their letters home, some of which are amazingly preserved in the archives of Ypres, testify to the warmth of their welcome. 'You would never believe how friendly the people are together, and the English are the same and quite loving to our nation', writes a hatmaker to his wife. 'Come at once and do not be anxious'. For their part the incomers are aware that they have to make allowances for different customs. The same letter-writer continues, in the style of a post report, 'When you come bring a dough trough, for there are none here...Buy two little wooden dishes to make up half pounds of butter; for all Netherlanders and Flemish make their own butter, for here it is all pigs' fat'.

In contrast to the situation today, religion was probably one factor which brought the Strangers and the indigenous community closer together. Norwich was mainly a Puritan city with bad memories of persecution under Queen Mary and the Strangers were after all fleeing persecution for their Calvinist principles. Immediately after their arrival they were allocated churches (Walloon and Dutch) in which to worship. The main religious problems which did arise were confined to quarrels within the Dutch church and they did not affect relations with the wider community. Similarly, fears that the bacillus of Anabaptism might have been brought in with the Strangers and spread among the indigenous population were not borne out.

The Strangers' relationship with their host city was also helped by the conditions of their accommodation and settlement. Far from crowding into insalubrious ghettos, they spearheaded urban regeneration by rebuilding a part of Norwich north of the River Wensum, traditionally inhabited by textile workers, which had been devastated by fire in 1507 and left to decay. The wealthy and influential among them naturally gravitated to the more prosperous wards but there was evidently room enough for them. Norwich was not a crowded city by Tudor standards - the area enclosed within its walls was larger even than that enclosed within the walls of the city of London.

Nevertheless, xenophobic feelings were just as likely to break the surface in Tudor, as much as in modern times. Thomas Whall, the mayor whose term of office in 1567 coincided with the first significant influx, evidently did not share Thomas Sotherton's enthusiasm for bringing in new blood to regenerate the city. Taking up the age-old cry that the incomers were taking local jobs, he complained that they 'sucked the living away from the English' and proceeded to impose additional restrictions upon them.

Other social irritants also began to creep in. Some of the Strangers were indulging their taste for strong liquor and selling their aquavit in the streets. It was noted that 'the moste dysorded persons walked late in the streets of the citye dronken and of greate dysorder'. The sixteenth century solution was to put the whole community under curfew: '...neyther you nor anye of you shall be fownde in the streetes after the eight of the clocke bell shal be ronge in the churche of Saynte Peter of Mancrofte', they were told.

Industrial pollution was surprisingly another problem. Offence was taken the dyers among the Strangers took to tipping their industrial effluent into the river. Sheer jealously over the Strangers' hard-won prosperity was probably, however, the most pervasive irritant.

In 1570 an anti-Stranger group reared its head. The conspirators planned to assemble on Midsummer Day at Harleston fair and then 'to have raised a number of men with sound of trumpet and beat of drum, and then to have declared the cause of their rising namely, to expulse the strangers from the city and the realm'. The conspiracy was betrayed by one of its members. The leader, John Throgmorton, and two other 'gentlemen' were hung, drawn and quartered; five others were imprisoned and suffered forfeiture of their goods. In the custom of the times one of the conspirators wrote a poem on the night before his execution, throwing himself on God's mercy. It was printed by the only printer in the city, who ironically happened to be a refugee from Antwerp - an indication of how well ensconced the Stranger community already was.

Although economic and other issues continued to cause tensions in the city both before and after the Throgmorton conspiracy, the official reaction to manifestations of xenophobia was generally robust both in national and local government. The Corporation of Norwich foiled another attempt to restrict the Strangers in 1567. A certain William Tipper had attempted to revive the ancient custom of 'hostage' under which Strangers could have been compelled to reside with appointed hosts who received payment for their entertainment and a percentage on their sales and purchases. The Corporation purchased this right, but declined to enforce it.

As a generally well-organised, cohesive community the Strangers did not need lessons in how to manipulate the levels of power. They soon learnt that one way to rectify any grievances was to appeal to the Privy Council and the Queen over the heads of the city authorities. A few months before the Throgmorton conspiracy the Privy Council had written from Greenwich to say the Queen 'doth take in good part' the favourable treatment of the Strangers, who should be allowed 'to sell their commodities as their brethren settled in Sandwich and Colchester do, to whom they please'.

When the Queen visited Norwich in 1578, she was greeted by a pageant staged by the 'artizans strangers' who, on a large stage embellished with uplifting homilies, demonstrated various aspects of their trade. Later in the visit a minister of the Dutch church delivered a speech in Latin thanking the Queen for her protection and presented her with a silver-gilt cup to the value of £50. Ten years later the Strangers were able to demonstrate their loyalty in a more positive way by finding a contingent of men for the levy prepared to repel the invasion expected at the time of the Spanish Armada.

Efforts such as these were rewarded by a greater appreciation of their contribution. In a document on 'The Benefitte received by the Strangers in Norwich for the space of tenne years', the civic authorities praised them for having brought a great body of trade by manufacturing a variety of stuffs not made there before, for creating employment both within and around the city, for rebuilding ruinous houses, for giving a great impetus to the city's commerce at home and overseas, for contributing their full share to local and national expenditure, for setting a good example of industry, particularly to the young people of Norwich and for introducing new crops such as flax and roots.

In what must be one of the most fulsome tributes to a refugee community ever recorded, the document concluded: 'they for the most parte fear God and do diligently and labourously attende upon their severall occupations, they obey all majistrates and all good lawes and ordynances, they live peacablie amonge them selves and towarde all men, and we thinke out Cittie happie to enjoye them'.

But no amount of political lobbying could isolate the Strangers from the political changes which followed Elizabeth's death. During the 1630s the religious pendulum swung back as Archbishop Laud sought to reimpose beliefs and practices contrary to the religious faith of the Strangers and their Calvinist counterparts, the Puritans. The Dutch Republic, freed from Spanish domination, became in turn a refuge for Norwich Puritans and some Strangers also returned. Nevertheless the bulk of the communities in Norwich stood their ground in spite of the hostility of Matthew Wren, Bishop of Norwich and one of Laud's most faithful lieutenants. When the pendulum swung yet again they formed a contingent which lined up in the Civil War with overwhelmingly Parliamentarian Norwich.

In the years that followed members of the Strangers communities in Norwich either continued to drift back to their homeland or became increasingly integrated into the local population. Wealthy Strangers went into partnership with local businessmen and sent their sons to Cambridge; their languages, which could still be heard as commonly as English on the streets of Norwich in the early seventeenth century, died out; their names became Anglicised; their religious communities merged with local churches.

Nevertheless some elements of their legacy persisted. The innovations they introduced are thought to have contributed to the continued rise of the Norwich textile industry right up to its golden age in the mid eighteenth century when it stood supreme in Britain and Europe. More fancifully, their love of gardens and canaries (the symbol of Norwich City Football Club) is said to persist even in present-day Norwich. Overall the story of these Norwich asylum seekers is one of mutual benefit and smooth integration.

References and further reading:

University of East Anglia - Virtual Norfolk website
Laura Hunt Yungblut, Strangers Settled Here Amongst Us (1996)
William John Charles Moens, The Walloons and their Church at Norwich, 1565-1832 (1888)
R W Ketton-Cramer, The Coming of the Strangers in Norfolk Assembly (1957)
D L Rickwood, The Origin and Decline of the Stranger Community of Norwich (1967)
Christine M Vane, The Walloon Community in Norwich, the First Hundred Years (1984) - in proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London
Walter Rye, The Dutch Congregation in Norwich in Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society - Norfolk Archaeology, volume 16, 1907
The New Draperies in the Low Countries and England, 1300 - 1800 edited by N. B. Harte (1997)
Norwich since 1550 Carole Rawcliffe and Richard Wilson (eds.) (2004)

Ian K Smith


Find out more about The Strangers in HEART's 'Strangers - A History of Norwich's Incomers' by Frank Meeres.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Far Right in Transition

From Assessing the Far Right and the Ground It Stands On:

Paul Stott of the University of East Anglia summarizes Northampton University’s recent conference: “The Far Right In Transition”.

Friday 28 June saw a conference at Northampton University entitled “The Far Right in Transition”. This brought together approximately 100 people to hear speakers discuss the contemporary and historical far right, its activities and some of the responses to it. The conference had one slightly different tack – me – as I was invited at the last minute to discuss the Woolwich terrorist attack and to put it in some historical context.

Northampton University runs the Radicalism and the New Media research centre and the first part of the morning was devoted to its centre-piece – the launch of the archive of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight. Searchlight has been a controversial presence in the British anti-racist movement for over 50 years – Anti-Fascist Action (of which I was a supporter) and Antifa (of which I was a founder) both proscribed their members from working with Searchlight, because of its relationship with the police and security services. Such history was not on the agenda in Northampton – indeed much of the day was about the legacy of Searchlight and its now elderly editor Gerry Gable, as he gifts Searchlight’s vast archive to the University of Northampton for future research.

For all the past bitterness, this may well prove to be Gable’s legacy – the opportunity to view the hundreds of boxes of far-right material that includes books from as far back as the 1880s, magazines from the 1930s, and thousands of fascist leaflets. Some 200 boxes of material have been catalogued by curator Dan Jones, with some 300 to follow. There are complete runs of some material – for example Searchlight itself, and Spearhead, the magazine John Tyndall ran for much of his political life.

Conferences like this tend to bring together a slightly curious mix of participants – academics, past and current political activists, community leaders, the police and in this case a sizeable contingent of counter terrorism officers, something that perhaps reflects the concern about events post-Woolwich. Podcasts of all eleven presentations are available, although not the Q and A’s which followed. Of the talks if you only have time to listen to a handful I would firstly pick out Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens who examined the EDL in terms of the international counter jihad movement. It is often stated that the EDL has kick-started a whole series of like minded groups across Europe, but this does not appear to be the case, indeed the EDL actually rather trails in behind groups abroad. Hitchens travelled to Defence League demonstrations in Aarhus and Stockholm, and found that activists there tended to be more middle class than their English counterparts, older and sometimes with political backgrounds on the left, rather than the right. My instinct is that there may be very different local reasons that bring people into such movements in different countries – and even different cities within those nations. It may be that further research across a greater number of countries will answer my hypothesis in time.

Fiyaz Mughal of Tell Mama spoke of his organisation’s work monitoring anti-Muslim hatred on Twitter. Interestingly, whilst recent media articles have seen Tell Mama referred to as an organisation monitoring both anti-Muslim hatred and intra-Muslim tensions,the latter role was not mentioned. Tell Mama has the software to pick out key words in abusive texts, and grooming cases now appears to be a bigger issue in such material than terrorism.

There was some discomfort about where this work can lead – a 15 year old girl ‘Nicole’ was cautioned by the police after she had made 8 months’ worth of tweets that Tell Mama had monitored, and it seems this police route is the most likely response to such material. Mughal stressed Twitter believe firmly in the First Amendment, and have heard and ignored Tell Mama’s concerns about the platform they provide.

The third talk of interest was Will Baldet of the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester, who has responsibility for the government’s anti-extremism platform Prevent, in Leicestershire and Rutland. Here it was obvious how keenly broader ‘anti-extremist’ narratives are running in police and government circles. Anti-fascist demonstrations were identified as a drain on public resources, counter-productive and unwise, as they do not achieve anything. I kept expecting someone in the audience to shout out Cable Street but no one did. More seriously, I suspect Will Baldet does understood how much anti-fascists mythologise their history, and see themselves in a life and death struggle against an enemy. To the government and police though, they are just a public order problem.

Baldet identified some key elements in the makeup of far-right ‘extremists’: anger management issues; anti-authoritarianism; identification as the underdog; defiance; recklessness; a failure to handle inner conflict; attention seeking and an intolerance of ambiguity. Whilst this type of psychological approach is always interesting, where it gets us is another matter. I asked if a similar chart could be drawn up of Islamist actors, and was told that this typology was in fact an amalgam of the characteristics of neo-Nazi and Al Qaeda members, plus would be suicide bombers in Iraq. Fascinating stuff, but reading through it again, much of it could equally apply to any 18 year old in a street gang or football firm, and arguably to a much wider number of 18-year-olds full stop.

On this evidence at least, the answers to assessing the far right and the ground it stands on do not lie in cod psychology.

Paul Stott is an academic in the field of Terrorism Studies, based at the University of East Anglia. He tweets @MrPaulStott

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Heritage Open Days

From Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust:

Norfolk’s stunning and often hidden heritage is back in the spotlight, with the launch of this year’s Heritage Open Days brochure, featuring over 200 free events across the county.

Co-ordinated by Norwich’s Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART), the bumper brochure launched yesterday details 208 free events including guided tours, walks, open buildings, exhibitions and performances which will take place during Heritage Open Days (HODs) – England’s largest and most popular voluntary cultural event, taking place in Norwich and across Norfolk from Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th September.

The free brochure includes events in Broadland, Great Yarmouth, Norwich,  South Norfolk, Thetford and further afield. It is available in cultural venues, tourist information centres, libraries, post offices, caf├ęs and shops across Norfolk and copies can be posted out free of charge – send requests to or call 01603 305575. The events are also on where personalised itineraries can be created and email booking is available for prebookable events in Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk.

New and highlight events for this year include: Norwich Cathedral Medieval Graffiti tour; Marston Marsh & Eaton Common walk; talks, demonstrations and activities on Medieval monastic life at St Benet’s Abbey; Blickling Hall Mausoleum; Great Yarmouth Potteries, and bell ringing demonstrations at St. Peter’s Church, Thetford. Plus Barford in South Norfolk goes HODs crazy with local history displays, concerts, heritage tours, open churches and a historic shepherd’s hut.

More information at:


Monday, 5 August 2013

Labour fight off UKIP to take Thetford West by-election

From EDP24 by Andrew Fitchett

UKIP’s hot streak at Norfolk County Council elections came to a halt last night after Labour took the vote at the Thetford West by-election.

Town and district councillor Terry Jermy, who lost to UKIP by just one vote in the May 2 elections, took the seat by 1,071 votes to UKIP candidate John Newton, 900 votes.

Speaking after a tense count in which the two candidates were difficult to separate throughout, Mr Jermy said he was delighted.

It has been a really focused campaign.
Much more than last time with a particular focus on immigration and cuts to services.
The best thing about getting on to the doorstep and talking to people is hearing the issues that they have but unless you are a councillor you can’t help. I’m really looking forward to getting to work to help these people out.’
UKIP’s Mr Newton said it had been a hard campaign, but fought fairly.

He said: 

I’m disappointed but it was a good campaign and we put a lot into it. I think we may have lost it through the EU migration vote but we will look at that.
I have congratulated Terry and I wish him well.’

The election determined the only vacant seat at County Hall after the resignation of previous UKIP winner, Peter Georgiou.

Mr Georgiou quit just six weeks into the role after he admitted shoplifting and being fined for not paying duty on tobacco.

Turnout for the election was higher than expected with 2,375 taking to the polls – 24.6% of the electorate.

That figure outdid the 23.75% who voted on May 2.

Labour now have 15 seats on the county council while UKIP have 14.

The election saw a disappointing vote for the Conservative candidate Tristan Ashby. He took just 282 votes.

Danny Jeffrey, Independent, took 78 votes while Sandra Walmsley, Green Party, took 40 votes.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Counting the Cost II

Several EDL members were arrested in Birmingham and several more were injured.   

At a publicised cost of £1 million the Police kept EDL members well separated from opposing demonstrators, and yet still some EDL members were injured by bricks and bottles thrown at them with some force.  

If anyone is in any doubt about how such mob behaviour leads to real damage and harm, then watch the clip above as the EDL attack the Police with bricks and beer cans and bottles. They even try to overturn a Portaloo in their yobbish mob frenzy.  

One member of the East Anglian EDL gave an eye witness account.  This young man reported on his profile that he was hit on the head by a brick that was thrown by a fellow EDL member.  

East Anglian EDL victim staunches blood from a wound inflicted by a fellow EDL member.

There is no reason to disbelieve this version of events.  It comes from East Anglian EDL member Sam Burgess. 

Sam Burgess has appeared on these pages before, always under the influence of much older EDL thugs.  He is a sad example of how vulnerable youngsters are singled out, groomed and preyed upon by cynical EDL officers.   No East Anglian organiser was injured in EDL demonstrations, only the gullible young who are sucked into the movement. 

It seems a nasty injury, and it was a horrible way to spend a hot Saturday in a distant city after hours on a coach.  Is this all that this poor East Anglian victim has to do at the weekend?  
Burgess was coached from Norwich to Birmingham with fellow East Anglian EDL members - here he is on the right outside Norwich Railway Station just before 7 am. 
EDL members wait for the coach to take them to Birmingham

The day started so well and in such EDL high jinks, with bottom-baring and an unprovoked attack on three observers who took these photographs.

The EDL displaying before boarding the coach to Birmingham
Burgess is on the right, in grey shorts

Sadly for the East Anglian EDL, everything went downhill and pear-shaped from that moment on.  

And yet, apparently unable to learn from experience, the East Anglian EDL plans to take their mooning show on the road again next *month - to Tower Hamlets.

What is the point of these costly EDL demonstrations?  Even the EDL leader agrees that "Demonstrations are doing nothing"

This is not the first time that EDL members have caused serious harm to other EDL members - see EDL stone selves.

In fact the demonstrations are making the EDL look like violent idiots; self-indulgent self-promoters who are charging the ordinary taxpayer exorbitant fees to watch them acting out. 

In the meantime Sam Burgess asks on Facebook:
anyone got a cheap laptop for sale? preferably newish! Don't want a brick lol