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St John the Baptist Maddermarket, Norwich
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the Baptist Maddermarket, Norwich
This square church is a familiar sight to shoppers, where the pedestrianised identikit shops of London Street give way to earthier Pottergate. There used to be a wonderful vegetarian restaurant on this corner, and I mourn its passing. St John the Baptist became redundant as a result of the Brooke Report, which is also sad, but understandable given the proximity of St Andrew and St Peter Mancroft. For a while, it was used by the Greek Orthodox community, which unfortunately made it inaccessible to other people, but since they moved on to the Mother of God, the building has come into the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, making it accessible again. George Plunkett's 1938 photographs show it at once familar and different, the exposed graveyard rather startling.
The north porch, now no longer used, has a funny little turret on it. There isn't really a south porch; you step straight down in to the south aisle. Stepping inside to the dark, smoky, devotional inside, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Greeks were still in possession. In fact, this Baroque interior is almost wholly the work of William Busby, arch-Anglo-Catholic Rector in the early years of the 20th century, much of it collected from other churches, the rest made to his orders.
Simon Knott, December 2005
You can see thousands of George Plunkett's other old photographs of Norwich on the Plunkett website
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