Author: Stephen Browning

Be My Valentine!

Who was St Valentine? Saint Valentine’s Day, 14th February, is recognised as a special ‘lovers’ day’ in many countries although it has never been a public holiday anywhere. There are different St Valentine’s Days in different religions, for example, in Eastern Europe it can be 6th or 30th July.                 Above: Archduke Otto and Princess Maria of Austria, 1886 There are several contenders for the honour of being the original St Valentine, all of which are extremely suspect historically speaking, but who is really bothered with that? Myths have become interwoven and...

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Food Design

 FOOD DESIGN Some of us cannot, quite literally, get enough of food! How to cook is everywhere on the media. Similarly, design in everything from the Mini to clothes to buildings like the Shard, is something the UK does very well and is part of all our lives. But put the two terms together? Food Design? What is that? HEADING FOR LONDON Today is an exciting one for me. As usual in autumn, I am heading for the country’s foremost Festival of Design, taking place in an old brewery building in Hanbury Street, near Liverpool Street Station in London. What...

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A City Centre Great War Walk

  A City Centre Great War Walk – Norwich As it is 100 years since the Great War, here is an idea – an outing looking at some of the Fine City’s notable connections to the ‘War to end All Wars’ as it was known.  TIME: maybe half a day, depending how long you linger in the Cathedral, Norwich Castle Museum etc.  WALKING CONDITIONS: pretty easy with some gentle slopes and cobbled areas.  This walk begins at the newly refurbished site of the Edith Cavell statue outside the Erpingham Gate to the Anglican Cathedral in Tombland. Edith Cavell Edith...

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The Mystery of the Cressingham Diamonds

  A NEW SHERLOCK HOLMES TALE THE ADVENTURE OF THE CRESSINGHAM DIAMONDS Narrated by Dr John H Watson My diary tells me it was in ’02 that Holmes and I were sitting in companionable silence in our sitting room at 221b Baker Street. It was an unseasonably cold February evening and every now and again the windows would rattle in protest at the raging wind and snow that battered against them.  Despite the roaring fire and the inner contentment that derived from our lately having consumed Mrs Hudson’s excellent dinner of roast beef, Colman’s mustard and all the trimmings,...

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The Greatest Christmas Novel of All Time

BAH HUMBUG! It is 1843, and six days to Christmas. Charles Dickens, already world-famous for a series of best-selling novels, releases ‘A Christmas Carol’. It is to rapidly sell out six editions. More than that, it redefines a rather lacklustre and cold Pagan festival and turns it into the celebration we know today. It is fast getting to that time again, the holiday which Dickens described – of ice and snow, of goodwill to all men, of families, of chestnuts, plum pudding and roasted goose, of cards and gifts, in short, of Christmas!  If our greatest novelist did not...

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My Latest Book

This is the first study yet published to trace the history of Norwich and Norfolk from the time of earliest life to the outbreak of the First World War.