Welcome to my new blog, brought to you courtesy of my daughter, Katie, who has designed and created it, as well as my website www.stephensnelling.com, and to whom I owe a considerable debt of gratitude.
After what seems a frustratingly long wait, the final countdown to my book, chronicling Norwich people’s experiences of the Baedeker Blitz, has well and truly begun.
Next Saturday, an article in the EDP’s excellent Weekend supplement will effectively set the ball rolling. In it, I shall be looking back on my own ‘blitz’ odyssey and pinpointing some of the discoveries made along the way. It will also serve as an introduction to a two-part series of adapted extracts from the book which are scheduled to appear in the EDP on the following Monday and Tuesday.
The pre-launch merry-go-round then continues with appearances on Radio Norfolk’s The Afternoon Show hosted by Stephen Bumfrey on Tuesday afternoon (2-4pm) and Future Radio’s Community Chest programme on Wednesday morning (10am) where I will be discussing my research for Norwich – A Shattered City, a new study of the 1942 Baedeker raids that brought death and misery to our door 70 years ago.
All of that then culminates in the official launch of the book and I am grateful to Mike Butler and Jarrolds for kindly offering to host the event on Thursday, March 8, in The Pantry Restaurant (6.30pm). There, thanks to the patient efforts of my younger daughter, Holly, I shall be delivering a powerpoint talk about the writing and researching of the book in which I shall, hopefully, be able to thank in person many of those people who as eyewitnesses helped me to recapture the atmosphere and spirit of those difficult days.
For full details of the Jarrold event visit the store’s website: www.jarrold.co.uk where you will also be able to order a ticket to attend.
Commemorations of the blitz then begin with an exhibition of stunning archive photographs at Norwich Arts Centre from March 17 until May 5. The centre’s St Benedict’s Street setting makes it a particularly appropriate, as well as poignant, location for the display since this area suffered some of the heaviest damage during the late April onslaught. Staged in partnership with Norfolk Library Service, it will feature some of the most iconic images of the Norwich blitz, with pictures taken by the distinguished local photographer George Swain. Also on show will be some of the extraordinary ‘Blitz Ghost’ pictures which have been produced by talented Norwich photographer and designer Nick Stone.
Blending past and present photographs, Nick has successfully fused scenes of wartime devastation with his own studies of post-war reconstruction. The result is truly breathtaking and offers a new generation a graphic means of exploring a tragic episode in their city’s history that might otherwise have seemed unrecognisable to them. Nick will be joining me to give an introductory illustrated talk at the Norwich Arts Centre on Friday, March 16 (7pm, tickets: £2).
For details of this and other events being organised in conjunction with the exhibition, including a family trail, talks and blitz interpretations, check out the following website: www.norwichblitz.org.uk
That’s all for now. I hope you can join me at one of the events I’ve mentioned and I’ll keep you posted in future blogs of any more that’s happening to mark the 70th anniversary of the raids that forever transformed the face of Norwich.