The Yards & Courts of NorwichWe have located many (but not all) of the Norwich Yards and Courts on the 1884/5 Norwich OS Map (which we have reproduced by kind permission of the Ordnance Survey Office). To locate a specific yard, search using a SINGLE key word. The key word can be specific to a yard/court or an area. e.g. King for King Street area.
In her book "Norwich : Street by Street" Pamela Brooks includes information on a vast range of Norwich's courts & yards. What is particularly intriguing is how the Yards acquired their names, which without knowing the history of an area may seem somewhat bizarre. Use the index on the left to learn about a selection of the yards, see photos of them and where possible hear from local people who have living memories.
The names can normally be attributed to four main sources:
- Most often the Yards would take the name of the public houses they adjoined. This often led to the paradox that very dilapidated areas had exceptionally exotic names e.g Arabian Horse Yard (Oak Street), Queen of Hungary Yard (St Benedict Street)
- Many took the name of longstanding inhabitants e.g. Zipfels court on Magdalen Street was named after a family who made and repaired watches near to the yard. For the smaller yards this could be confusing as the name changed with the residents!
- Some yards were named after trades e.g. Pipe Burners Yard (Pottergate) & Foundry Yard (Thorn Lane)
- Yard names could simply be descriptive e.g Boarded Entry Yard (Ber Street) or indeed reflect changes in Norwich’s socio-economic conditions e.g. Ragged School Yard (Oak Street)