Heritage Open Days 2018: Extraordinary Women

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Norwich High School for Girls Extraordinary Women Project.

Pop-up exhibition and community call out.

The Assembly House Trust have been working in collaboration with The Freelance Creative for a new research project, culminating in an exhibition and drop-in event at Heritage Open Days.

Norwich High School for Girls was founded in 1875 by the Girls Public Day School Trust and was the first one of their schools outside London.

It was a fee-paying independent school created to provide good, affordable education for girls.

Although most the pupils lived with their families within walking distance of the school, some boarded with local families and relatives. Prior to school opening advertisements appeared in the Norfolk Chronicle (13.02 1875 and 20.02.1875) both asking for and offering accommodation for pupils.

When the school first opened, on 22 February 1875 it was situated in Churchman House St Giles and had 61 pupils aged 8+. The headmistress at that time was Ada Benson, she remained head for just 9 months before leaving in November to take up the Headship at school in Oxford High School.

Lucy Bagshot Wills then took over as Headteacher. As the popularity of the school increased the GPDSC purchased some of the Assembly House and the school moved here in 1877. By now the school had over 200 pupils.

In his book Norwich High School 1875-1950 P.R.Bodington said of this move “This change was of the upmost importance, not only because the larger building allowed steady expansion and development, but also because its character and beauty exercised an incalculable influence upon all who taught and studied there”.

In 1877 another important change also took place. The NHSG had always had its own internal exams but now pupils were to be entered for public exams -a move that would mean many would be able to gain entry places at university.

These first exams had to be taken in London and the school would arrange a special trip with the girls, of course, chaperoned.

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To celebrate the exceptional women theme of Heritage open Days 2018 The Assembly House Trust launched a research project with members of the public to discover more about the exceptional women who taught at and attended this remarkable school. A school, it seems from the accounts that fostered lively, intelligent, confident, independent and strong women. unnamed (5)

After a call-out to members of the public, the project unearthed suffragettes, war nurses, academics, missionaries, politicians and artists. Alongside the more famous alumni, like MP Dorothy Jewson, geologist Joyce Lambert and possibly nurse Edith Cavell, researchers found stories of ordinary women in Norwich, who did extraordinary things, concealed by the patriarchal society in which they lived. A society which prevented them from working once they married, suppressed their rights and their voices and passed them on into the obscurity of time.

The work of community researcher Sandi R-Urguhart, Chris Matthews and Anna Duckworth helped present some amazing tales and certainly some extraordinary women.

By | September 17th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Norwich Print Fair at The Assembly House


Norwich Print Fair

A selection of original prints at The Assembly House

Monday 17th September – Monday 31st December

The Assembly House Trust are teaming up with Norwich Print Fair to display a selection of original prints this winter.

The exhibition will feature one print from each artist taking part in the 2018 Print Fair.

Now celebrating its 23rd year, The Norwich Print Fair has grown to become one of the best loved and largest independent selling shows of its kind in East Anglia.

This September, the Fair once again brings together many of Norfolk and Suffolk’s finest printmakers, displaying a wide variety of hand-made print techniques, all within the unique setting of an historic Norwich church. With a mix of firm favourites and new artists, this year’s show promises to deliver yet another stunning display of original prints.

By | September 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Community: Norwich Flower Club


As one of the older flower groups in the country, Norwich Flower Club was originally founded in 1952 by the late Mrs. Jocelyn Steward.


With support from The Assembly House Trust, the club meets once per month in The Music Room.


Membership is open to all who enjoy flowers and floral arrangements and new members are welcome, regardless of experience. A friendly and relaxed atmosphere is guaranteed, aimed at developing your interest through an annual programme of meetings, demonstrations, workshops and outings.


At the meetings you can watch demonstrations by experts who will create floral displays, give advice on plants and flowers to grow, advice on current trends in floral designs and useful tips relating to our art. Other activities offered are workshops, outings, shows and social events.


By | September 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Young Norfolk Arts Festival

Bharatnatyam Interactive:- Performance Workshop
The Assembly House Trust are proud to have supported a dance workshop as part of Young Norfolk Arts Festival.
Bharatnatyam is a classical dance originating in Southern India. The event was presented Viji Moorthie and students as part of YNAF:
“Thanks a lot with the help for this years YNAF program. The children very much enjoyed taking part and as always it both gives them a opportunity to showcase the art outside of the Indian community. They ranged in ages from 5 to 21 and performing as part of the YNAF certainly impacts their confidence and motivation as I can see in class. The feedback from audience was very positive some had only heard last minute. So more advertising would be a target for next year. They particularly commented on explanations of narrative. It also as opened discussion of working with the Norwich Cathedral School running a workshop.
Recently I found my students are reluctant to speak about their art or share it with friends at school etc in-spite of being passionate they are also a bit embarrassed. I was very surprised and disappointed about this. In a recent meeting with Indian dance teachers from other regions this turned out to be standard across the board. However performing at mainstream venues and being part of a mainstream festival like the YNAF helps place the art in a more ‘acceptable’ in the children’s eyes. This is an intangible benefit of being part of the YNAF that the I have certainly noticed and appreciated.

A key help this year was venue cost not being a limiting factor. We usually self fund and depend on tickets to cover costs however this year we would not have had the initial funds to risk that. The Assembly House’s support enabled this and provided a suitable and beautiful venue which we would consider again. The staff were very helpful too.

Overall it was a very positive and rewarding event.”
By | September 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Community: Great Hall Theatre Company


The Assembly House Trust is a registered charity, which aims to develop creative arts and support the local community.

Throughout the years The Assembly House has played host to a wide range of art exhibitions, live concerts, lectures and other community activities.

The Assembly House Trust offers subsidised use of The Assembly House for local organisations in need of high quality facilities for events, fundraisers or community outreach.

This year The Assembly House Trust are celebrating the various clubs, groups and societies that call The House their home.

Photographer Katherine Mager has been visiting and documenting the wide range of activities that take place at The Assembly House, made possible by the support of The Assembly House Trust.

Great Hall Theatre Company

Great Hall Theatre Company produces six quality shows a year in the Arena style. The resident Theatre company at the Assembly House, their shows are performed in the stunning Noverre Ballroom.


“The Great Hall Theatre Company started life as a private theatre club, founded in 1961 by Donald Pyle. The name originates from his own home, the medieval Great Hall in Oak Street Norwich. The ‘club’ first performed in the roundusing members from the Conesford Players.”


“As the Company’s reputation spread the high standard of their productions drew audiences from a wider public, necessitating greater seating capacity.  In 1964 we set up in the Bakers Arms in Heigham Street, originally as a temporary residence, but it took us until 1974 to find a new home in the Friends Meeting House in Upper Goat Lane. Many people have fond memories of coping with such different venues as The Bakers Arms and the Meeting House.”


“In order to broaden our appeal further, another move was eventually made in 1988 to St Peter’s Hall in Park Lane where The Company enjoyed their own suite of rehearsal rooms.  2005 saw us move to The Assembly House, in the heart of Norwich city centre, to become the resident theatre company, maintaining our tradition of arena performance.”


By | July 31st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Butterfly Treasure Hunt in support of The Benjamin Foundation

On Thursday 21st June, The Assembly House Trust were proud to support The Butterfly Treasure Hunt in aid of The Benjamin Foundation. An annual summer fundraising event held in Norwich for the first time with a fun trail around the city.

The Butterfly Treasure Hunt saw teams explore the city solving clues along the way in order to locate our charity butterfly logos and find letters in order to solve an anagram.  The clues were sponsored by a wide range of local businesses and organisations including The Assembly House Trust.

Established in 1994, The Benjamin Foundation are a charity which operates in Norfolk and Suffolk, supporting people through the challenges that life may bring them, including homelessness, childcare, bullying and abuse.

“Thanks so much to The Assembly House Trust for supporting our event.” – Jessica Glover

By | July 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

GoGo Create at The Assembly House

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The Assembly House Trust are extremely pleased to act as a sponsor for the GoGo Create project in Norwich.

The leaping leveret – or young hare – sculptures are decorated by schools and community groups as part of the  project that runs alongside the GoGoHares trail being brought to Norwich and Norfolk by childrens charity Break and Wild in Art in summer 2018 to celebrate Breaks 50th anniversary.

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Although around 150 schools and organisations sign up to design their own leaping leveret, some organisations are unable to get involved. The Assembly House Trust are proud to provide sponsorship to allow everyone to join in.

This year The Trust has provided sponsorship for two organisations to take part, Norwich Millenium Library and Beeston Primary School.

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All of the leverets are displayed in a city trail that runs in parallel with the main GoGoHares trail of larger sculptures designed by artists and sponsored by businesses.


Schools and organisations that sign up to GoGoCreate are also be given a learning resource pack and have the chance to take part in a writing workshop, and their sculpture will be returned to them at the end of the trail.

For more information visit the GoGoCreate website.

By | July 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Keziah Philipps: The Assembly House Arts Prize 2018


Local artist Keziah Philipps is preparing for her exhibition as winner of The Assembly House Arts Prize for 2018.

Keziah has kindly shared some photos of her new work, a collection of copper etchings, inspired by the landscape of Norfolk.

An exciting new award for emerging artists in Norwich and Norfolk, The Prize includes a cash bursary, access to a Norwich studio space and an exhibition at The Assembly House.

For the inaugural year The Assembly House Trust are working in partnership with Norwich-based art studio Print to the People, who will be offering the winning candidate access to their high-quality printmaking facilities in central Norwich.

Keziah Philipps is a printmaker and animator, after graduating from Kingston University in London, she has returned to her home county.

Keziah’s new collection will be on display at The Assembly House from July 2018.

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By | June 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Assembly House Arts Prize: Winner Announced


The Assembly House Trust are proud to announce local artist Keziah Philipps as the winner of The Assembly House Arts Prize for 2018.

An exciting new award for emerging artists in Norwich and Norfolk, The Prize includes a cash bursary, access to a Norwich studio space and an exhibition at The Assembly House.

For the inaugural year The Assembly House Trust are working in partnership with Norwich-based art studio Print to the People, who will be offering the winning candidate access to their high-quality printmaking facilities in central Norwich.

Keziah Philipps is a printmaker and animator, after graduating from Kingston University in London, she has returned to her home county. Keziah plans to produce a new collection copper etchings, inspired by the landscape of Norfolk.

Sam Leonard, Arts Coordinator at The Assembly House Trust:

“The objective of the prize is to support emerging artists in developing new and innovative work. The judges were very impressed with Keziah’s work and ideas. We’re very excited to see the final exhibition.”

Keziah’s new collection will be on display at The Assembly House from July 2018.

By | March 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Assembly House Classical: Joanna MacGregor


Classical Music returned to The Assembly House this month with the first in a new series of lunchtime concerts supported by The Assembly House Trust.


As a young artist, Joanna MacGregor gave a memorable recital at The Assembly House in 1988.

Now one of the UK’s most distinguished pianists, Joanna returned to open the series with a programme, which included one of the most popular of Beethoven’s piano sonatas the Appassionata.


The event was sold out in advance with many turned away at the door. Joanna’s performance was outstanding and audience feedback was extremely positive.

For more information visit www.assemblyhouseclassical.co.uk

By | January 15th, 2018|Event, Live Music, Uncategorized|0 Comments