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Old Courts & Yards Walk along King Street

It’s almost impossible to wander around the centre of Norwich without noticing the many narrow entrances and alleyways above which a sign indicates the existence of an old court or yard (the terms are interchangeable). Today, these may lead to a pretty square containing attractive housing, but more often than not they lead…nowhere.

Going through the same passageway, just some 80 years ago you’d have come across a very different scene. Then the alley would most likely have led into a cul-de-sac. Around its perimeter would have stood ramshackle homes sharing inadequate water supplies and communal toilets. It would have been dark and airless. It is hard to believe but at the turn of the 20th century the courts and yards provided housing for around 10% of the City’s population, they were also notorious for containing its worst slums.

During the 20th century Norwich’s yards were subject to extensive slum clearance programmes. Yet today there are still numerous examples of them around the City. King Street offers some good examples to view the yards through their various reincarnations.

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Murrell's Yard King St Norwich
Murrell's Yard, King Street, 1936