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Useful Notes / East Anglia

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The East of England. East Anglia is Norfolk (NOR on the map) and Suffolk (SUFFOC), and possibly Cambridgeshire (WAOC) and bits of Essex (SOS).

The most easterly part of England. The region is made up of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk (indisputably), is sometimes taken to include Cambridgeshire as well, and is occasionally regarded as including northern parts of neighbouring Essex.note  Sometimes (especially on the internet) the region is confused with the East of England as a whole. It is mostly rural apart from the cities of Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough, as well as several towns such as Ipswich.


East Anglia derives its name from the Kingdom of the East Angles, the Angles being one of the Germanic tribes that invaded Britain after the Romans withdrew in the fifth century (they also gave their name to England as a whole). Archaeological evidence suggests that East Anglia experienced the earliest settlement by these people, meaning that the area actually has a fairly strong claim to being the first place in the world where (Old) English was spoken. Oh, and back when it was a kingdom, the Angles living there were divided into the "north folk" and "south folk." Guess what those names became?

Also the tornado capital of the British Isles.

  • Norfolk: Although home to two large shopping centres, several live music venues and one the largest universities in England, the University of East Anglia. Norwich and Norfolk in general are often (rather unfairly) stereotyped as being at best remote, unsophisticated and out of step with national trends, even by East Anglian standards; and at worst, incestuous and almost medieval note  – the closest American Cultural Translation might be the more exaggerated depictions of the Deep South.note  This 'otherness' is humorously acknowledged by the inhabitants, who have an old and self-deprecating saying: someone or something is "normal for Norfolk".note  Norfolk's main towns include:
    • Norwich: With a population of about 200,000, Norwich is the largest city in both Norfolk and East Anglia. It is Norfolk's county town and shares many of Norfolk's stereotypes (though it's obviously not quite so rustic). It also bucks a lot of these stereotypes, not being the backwater it's often shown as but in reality being a vibrant cultural city with a large young population due to the presence of the University of East Anglia, a bustling city centre and quite a few large employers such as Aviva, Marsh, the BBC, ITV and Naked Wines. Famous for being the fictional home of Alan Partridge.
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    • Great Yarmouth: An old seaside resort town situated on the east coast, slightly north of Lowestoft.
    • King's Lynn: A medium sized town situated slightly outside the fens and just south of the Wash, a roughly square shaped bay fed by four rivers.
    • Thetford: A small town near Thetford Forest, one of England's largest forests, noted as the birthplace of Thomas Paine.

  • Suffolk: One of the few English counties without a motorway or a city (Ipswich lacks city status). The county also used to lack a university until the opening of University Campus Suffolk in 2007. The county has four main towns:
    • Ipswich: The largest and county town and the traditional rival of Norwich (which is slightly larger and has city status).
    • Lowestoft: An old seaside resort town situated on the east coast slightly south of Great Yarmouth.
    • Bury St Edmunds: A medium sized town named after St Edmund, an East Anglian king who was martyred fighting the Danes after he refused to renounce Christ.
    • Felixstowe: Great Britain's largest container port as well as a small town.

  • Huntingdonshire: One of England's smallest counties and now a district in Cambridgeshire. The county town of Huntingdon is where Oliver Cromwell was from.

  • Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire (previously Northamptonshire), is supposedly the gateway to East Anglia (depending which direction you're coming from, obviously). The city has been important since the Middle Ages (having gained city status in 1541) but expanded greatly in the 1960s after being designated a new town; it remains one of the country's fastest growing cities.

  • Cambridge is home to one of the world's oldest and most famous universities, which is equally famous for its long-standing rivalry with Oxford; nonetheless, the two are frequently conflated into one big 'Oxbridge' whole by outsiders.

  • Fenland or The Fens is a an area which crosses the Norfolk and Cambridgeshire boundary. It was previously marshland but was drained in the late 1700s and early 1800s and is now some of the most fertile farmland in the country, along with being exceptionally flat. Most of the area's towns are built on high land which formed islands in the marsh, the most notable of these being Wisbech and the city of Ely. The area is also home to a large Eastern European population who recently immigrated there to work on the land after a number of Eastern European countries joined The European Union. As a result the area is more pro-UKIP than most of the UK, and the Fenland town of Ramsey became the first town council to be run by UKIP. The district council of Fenland was one of the top ten councils in the entire United Kingdom to vote to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.

  • The Broads is a national park which crosses the boundary of Norfolk and Suffolk. The area was previously mined for peat which was used as fuel. Sea levels rose and during the Middle Ages the area flooded, forming what is now known as the Broads, a network of navigable rivers and lakes.

In fiction and the media

  • Kingdom was set in the fictional Norfolk seaside town of Market Shipborough. It was also actually filmed in various locations across the county—thus the extensive Norfolk Scenery Porn. It's also one of the few series to at least try to get the Norfolk accent right, although not everyone can quite manage it.
    • Given this, it's hardly surprising that Stephen Fry is from Norfolk (raised in a village outside Reephamnote ).
  • Dinosaur Planet is also set in Norfolk.
  • Detectorists takes place in the fictional town of Danebury, northern Essex, which some consider to be part of East Anglia. Even more so because it's actually filmed in Suffolk.
  • Surprisingly little rock or pop music of note comes out of East Anglia. The Singing Postmannote  and some members of Pink Floyd including Syd Barrettnote  in the 1960's, Brian Eno note  and Olivia Newton-Johnnote  in the 1970's, Nick Kershawnote  in the 1980's, Cathy Dennisnote  in the 1990's, spoof folkies The Kipper Family, Beth Orton note  The Darkness note , Space Rock band Underground Zeronote , Ed Sheerannote .... and that's pretty much it. Oh, and, hilariously enough, Suffolk is the home of Cradle of Filth, with Dani Filth himself being based in Ipswich. This is a fact that seems to embarass the local tourism boards, which want absolutely nothing to do with them.
  • The UK version of Sale of the Century, produced by the local ITV company Anglia Television, used to open each show with the ambitious but underwhelming pronouncement "Live from Norwich, it's the Quiz Of The Week!" (Anglia themselves were recognized for their famous logo, a sterling silver statue of a knight on horseback, rotating and carrying a lance with the "Anglia" name emblazoned on the pennant; it was retired in 1988 in favor of a new "flag" logo, where east-facing triangles are arranged to form an abstract "A", with the animation showing the flag forming from different segments; it was eliminated in 1999 for the various ITV generic looks.) The intro was spoofed in the radio comedy show The Burkiss Way for its provincialism:
    And now from Anglia TV! Live, from our studios at an incompletely converted abbatoir in Norwich!
    Anglia TV. Serving the East of England right.
    Anglia TV. Sponsored by the miracle fertiliser Dung-K.
  • In His Dark Materials, the Fens were not drained and the Gyptians (alternate universe Romani, who travel in barges instead of caravans) took over the land to be their capital city.
  • Dr Malcolm Bradbury's novel The History Man, is a thinly autobiographical account where a character stalks the campus of what in the 1970's would have been a "new" university. It's a VERY thinly disguised depiction of the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and some of its teaching staff — characters who can so easily be identified by anyone who was around UEA in the time period 1970-86. In fact, the BBC got to film part of their TV adaptation at UEA....
  • Alan Partridge not only comes from Norwich, as noted above, but tends to retreat there during his career's down-slumps.


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