St Mary’s Works is a former shoe factory belonging to Sexton, Son & Everard.
Behind the factory’s handsome brick facade, a huge local workforce produced high quality boots and shoes which were advertised as ‘combining the best characteristics of British workmanship with the elegance of the most fashionable Continental styles.’
After nearly a century of successful manufacturing, the company closed in 1976. Regeneration work on this site will begin in 2016/17.
In early 2016, we undertook community consultation workshops for the regeneration with members of the local community in the engagement process www.bimby.org.uk created by the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community.
On 9 November 2016, our regeneration team presented their plans in response to this initial community consultation at St. Mary’s Works.
Click here to view and comment on them online.
The five essential qualities of the area, as defined by the community consultation, were its rich variety of architectural scale, historic connections, industrial heritage, the high quality lanes and yards – ‘a walkable place’ – and the River Wensum, which both separates and connects the neighbourhood to the heart of the City. We will seek to preserve and renew those key characteristics in our regeneration plans.
I walked up the road – fifteen and half, and looking for my third job – and through the door of Edwards and Holmes. I stayed, in the shoe industry for 46 years. My first job in the industry was painting the cut edges of the suede with a kind of water paint. The edges were slightly lighter, so that had to be carefully painted to match. My mother, who was in the trade for a while, said to me 'Listen and watch the older people. You will get all your knowledge from them; that’s the way to get on.'
The regeneration of two abandoned shoe factories just north of the river Wensum will create a new quarter within Norwich city walls. Here, Dominic Richards, chief executive of The Shoe Quarter Ltd, who are regenerating St. Mary’s Works and St. George’s Works, lays out his unique vision for the sites, and explains why this marks the start of a new chapter for the city.