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St Andrew's Street.

Saint Andrew (c. 5 – 70 AD) was one of the Twelve Apostles, hailing from Galilee. Best known in the UK as resident saint of Scotland, he is also a patron saint of Barbados, Georgia, Greece, Ukraine and Russia, as well as the patron saint of fishmongers, pregnant women, butchers, singers and protection against sore throats.

The street named in his honour begins at the Eastern end of Charing Cross, at the junction with Duke Street and Maddermarket. It brings you downhill: on the left, you pass St Andrew's Car Park, which apparently won an award for Car Park of the Year at the annual Parking Review Awards (that sounds like a fun evening) and an art school building. On the right is a curious little Tudor enclave once known as Rugge House, after a mayor that lived there. The building belonged to the Model School for Girls for a long time, and then it was a post-office and telephone exchange, before BT moved their occult activities to the huge, foreboding complex across the street. Most of Rugge House was demolished by coked-up city planners in the 60s ('Hear me out, man, right, what if we, what if we made it concrete?!'), and the only remaining part stands detached from the offices and parked vans, looking quite lonely and eccentric.

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Further down is St Andrew's Church. I often walk past and see fumes spilling from the sheltered gateway, where somebody down on their luck is crouched, hiding from the elements, honking on a pipe or a roll-up.


Opposite is a flinty behemoth called St Andrew's Hall. The Halls, as it has now been rebranded, is one of the largest surviving non-religious medieval buildings in Europe (although it was founded by a religious sect, the enigmatically-named Friars of the Sack). It's now a concert and events venue, host to the Norwich Beer Festival. Portraits of Rugge and other long-vanished Norwich mayors stare with disapproval from the rafters, as the punters enjoy themselves.


Outside the hall, on the corner with Princes Street, is a round little outbuilding which was once a public toilet (gents only, naturally)—maybe as an alternative to the nooks on the corners of St Andrew's church hall. Public urination was such a problem for Norwich churches that the Victorians added anti-urination splashback devices to the nooks, these being mounds of flint that deflected your stream onto you.


On the other side of Princes Street is a pale pink building known as Armada House. This is so-named because the timbers were sourced from wrecked Spanish ships after the attempted naval invasion in 1588. The ships would each have required literally thousands of trees to build, and when this washed up as enormous driftwood on the coast of Norfolk, nobody wanted it to go to waste. Spaniards, alive and dead, were allegedly washed up in Norfolk too. If you stand and look up at the picturesque old house, it's hard to believe those weathered, protruding beams saw vicious naval combat and were delivered in pieces by the icy North Sea, over the sunken kingdoms of Doggerland.

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