Who knew that? #2

1 The invention of bowler hats can be attributed to the Holkham Estate in north Norfolk. In 1849, Holkham gamekeepers kept having their top hats knocked off by low branches and damaged, so William Coke (pronounced Cook), a nephew of the first Earl of Leicester, commissioned his hatter James Lock to design a close-fitting, low-crowned hat. Lock's chief hatter got the job. His name? Thomas Bowler!

2 During a stay in north Norfolk, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took inspiration for The Hound of The Baskervilles from the local legend of the ferocious dog called Black Shuck. We don't know if he was thinking of Holme-next-the-Sea when he named his imperturbable sleuth.

3 The first English whisky in more than 100 years was made at St George's Brewery near East Harling in 2007. Tours are available… and tastings too. Hic!

4 The annual world snail championship is held at Congham. Yes, really! No need to hurry along though…

5 Many of the self-contained estate villages in west Norfolk are characterised by attractive Carstone, which is rich in iron. The brownness of the buildings led to the town of Downham Market being referred to, at one time, as the 'Gingerbread Town'.

6 We have former Norwich High School for Girls student Dr Joyce Lambert to thank for finding out that the Norfolk Broads were actually man-made, the result of inundated medieval peat diggings.

7 A storm at sea off Great Yarmouth is the beginning of Daniel Defoe's book Robinson Crusoe. Defoe was inspired when he was in the vicinity for his A Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain in 1724 and described Great Yarmouth as an 'antient town'.

8 It was the Angles who gave East Anglia its name and created two sections, the North folk (that'll be us!) and the South folk (that'll be The Tractor Boys down the road).

9 The only food not rationed in the second world war was fish and chips – because who'd want to fish in seas full of enemy mines and submarines and with fighter and bomber planes overhead! Our wonderful fish and chips heritage continues to this day, and they're definitely best if you eat by the seaside.

10 In South Norfolk, you'll still see 'narrow' or 'street' commons and greens, a reminder of the linear network of grazing verges that were used to sustain livestock on their way to market.

Who knew that? #1

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