Aylsham to host national Repton celebrations

Aylsham will host the official launch of Repton 200 – a year of nationwide celebrations coordinated by the Gardens Trust marking the bicentenary of the death of Humphry Repton, who succeeded Capability Brown as Britain’s greatest landscape gardener.

Norfolk is where Repton first worked as a landscape gardener, at Catton Park and Sheringham Park, and where he was buried, at Aylsham Parish Church, in March 1818.

To mark the bicentenary of his death, a programme of events celebrating his life and work have been planned in Norfolk and around the country.

Humphry Repton, whose works include Tatton Park and Woburn Abbey, was the successor to Capability Brown and the first to coin the term ‘landscape gardening’.

Born in Bury St Edmunds in April 1752, he attended Norwich Grammar School and trained to work in the textile business but was not successful in the industry.

After trying his hand at a number of careers, including dramatist, artist, journalist and secretary, Repton set himself up as a landscape gardener, and gained work through his social contacts.

He knew Sheringham well, having lived in Sustead, three miles away, for 12 years.

Repton went on to work on estates across the country, producing his famous Red Books which showed his clients ‘before’ and ‘after’ views of how he would improve their land.

The Gardens Trust are co-ordinating the national celebrations, which start in March 2018, and include the Repton Season organised by Aylsham and District Team Ministry, Aylsham Town Council, community groups and Broadland District Council.

Events in Norfolk include a history workshop with Dr Tom Williamson, professor of landscape history and archaeology at the University of East Anglia, a Repton 200 Memorial Choral Evensong, a Humphry Repton Memorial Lecture with Professor Stephen Daniels of the University of Nottingham and a Red Book competition involving pupils from local schools.

Councillor Karen Vincent, member champion for heritage at Broadland District Council, said: “We are lucky as a district to have links to such an important and fascinating figure.

“Repton’s work remains on show throughout the country, with his first work being here in Broadland at Catton Park.  “We would encourage anyone interested in one of the country’s most important landscape gardeners to come and help us celebrate his achievements in the spring.”

Dr James Bartos, chairman of the Gardens Trust, said: “Humphry Repton designed around 400 landscapes across the country, many of which remain much-loved historic gardens.

“His picturesque designs featured terraces, gravel walks and flower beds around the house, as well as themed flower gardens.

“Next year will see a host of events celebrating his enduring influence, and drawing attention to gardens which need help to survive.”

To find out more about events in Norfolk for the Repton Season, visit or follow #Repton200 on Twitter.

Picture: Humphry Repton’s tomb at Aylsham Parish Church

Aylsham auction house announces investment after bumper year

East Anglia’s leading regional auction house has announced a programme of investment at its four acre Norfolk saleroom site to enable further expansion after the most successful year in its history.

Keys Fine Art Auctioneers, which was established in 1953 and is based in the Norfolk market town of Aylsham, is expanding its salerooms for the second time in three years, reflecting the auction house’s growing reputation in the region, nationally and internationally.

The firm says that embracing the opportunities presented by the internet is enabling it to compete with larger national auction houses.

The expansion plans, which will be completed in time for the 2018 auction calendar, include:
• moving the Fine Art auctions to a larger, refurbished saleroom
• creating a bespoke saleroom for the firm’s Antiques and Interiors sales, which will take place fortnightly from January 2018
• the Antiques and Interiors sales will now be on alternate weeks, separate from the popular and growing General Sales, which will be expanded and enhanced to take place fortnightly from January 2018
• the creation of a sizeable bespoke saleroom for the firm’s Books & Ephemera department, which is recognised as one of the leading centres of excellence in the UK
• building a new reception and administration area, to include a new valuation room, a consultation room, and a photographic studio
• further investment in technology to ensure that the firm remains at the cutting edge of online auctions

Kevin Lines, general manager and head of fine art at Keys, said, “The past two years have been the busiest we have ever had at Keys, and we are making this significant investment now to ensure that we have the capacity to continue meeting growing demand for our services.

“The Antique and Interiors sales which have been running alongside our General Sales have now grown to such an extent that we are creating a bespoke saleroom for them, and separating them from the General Sales. Bigger, bespoke salerooms for our Fine Art and Books & Ephemera departments reflect our growing stature in these areas.

“Our Fine Sales, Book & Ephemera Sales, Fine Art Sales and specialist sales have all seen considerable growth over the past two years, as we attract more vendors and buyers from within East Anglia and from further afield, encouraged by our embracing of the latest online auction technology.

“We are now winning sales from established national players, such as the Royal Society of Marine Artists Diploma Sale next year, which we won against competition from all of the major London houses.

“This investment programme will cement our position as the leading East Anglian auction house, as well as positioning Keys as a player on the national stage.”

Kevin Lines, general manager and head of fine art.

Munnings Portrait studies of Yvonne Adams, sold for £15,000.

Starbucks confirmed for Aylsham

Euro garages, one of the UK’s largest privately owned forecourt operators, has confirmed a Starbucks will be opening in Aylsham before the end of the year.

The new drive though and cafe will open next to the new garage on land currently being levelled and prepared for the premises. The company is currently advertising for a supervisor/team leader for the business and, in total, 15-20 local jobs will be created.


Road Safety set to be top priority at PCC-led meeting in Aylsham

Members of the public will be able to see first-hand the inner workings of a police speed van during a special Q and A session with Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Chief Constable tomorrow.

PCC Lorne Green will be taking his regular Police Accountability Forum meeting on the road to Broadland and area residents are invited to attend.

The meeting is scheduled for 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday 12 September) at Aylsham Town Hall, Market Place, Aylsham, NR11 6EL. The meeting will be followed by a public question and answer session at 7pm.

Road safety will be a key aspect of the meeting and Lorne has invited members of Community Speed Watch (CSW) and Community Enforcement Officers from Norfolk Constabulary to explain their roles and demonstrate their speed enforcement equipment – including the van.

The meeting will hear there currently are 758 CSW volunteers in the county – an increase of nearly 15% on last year.

“Road safety is a big concern for many of Norfolk’s residents, with excessive speed being one of the Fatal 4 factors which put our road users at risk, which is why I have invested in a number of schemes to tackle speeding on our county’s roads,” said Lorne. “Enforcement of the law, alongside sustained education and awareness, will help keep our county’s roads safer for all who use them, and speed cameras have an important role to play in that. This is an ideal opportunity for members of the community to see first-hand how our committed speeding enforcement teams operate throughout the county.”

The meeting will come just a week after Lorne chaired a special meeting in Cromer dedicated to the police response to recent events in the town and surrounding area.

More than 100 people attended the event and, at the Aylsham meeting, Lorne will be asking Chief Constable Simon Bailey for an update on the review of policing in the Cromer area over the weekend of August 18-20.

Other matters to be discussed will include policing performance in the district and an update on rural crime including the introduction of 24 members of the Special Constabulary to the Constabulary’s Rural Crime Force.

The meeting will then be followed by an opportunity for people to put their policing and crime questions to the PCC and Chief Constable.

Lorne added: “This will be the sixth time we have taken our meetings on tour. We’ve had an excellent cross-section of the community in Dereham, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, Norwich and Cromer and we will be heading to south Norfolk in November. All kinds of questions have been put to the Chief Constable and me on issues which clearly matter to local people.

“When I became Police and Crime Commissioner my pledge was to be visible, accessible and accountable and that is exactly what I continue to be. I look forward to speaking with a good number of people at the meeting in Aylsham next week.”

New work on war memorial

Disappearing names of heroes from Aylsham’s war memorial are set to be reinstated.

Aylsham Town Council is seeking planning permission from Broadland District Council to refurbish the memorial, in the churchyard of St Michael’s parish church, in time for Remembrance Day, in November.

The project will see a deteriorating panel removed and replaced. It was installed over one of the original faces on the four-sided monument after the Second World War and bears the names of local men lost in the 1939-1945 conflict, and in the Korean War. Weathering has caused the lettering to become difficult to read.

Sue Lake, town council clerk, said stonemason Teucer Wilson, from Burgh-next-Aylsham, was “ready and waiting with chisel in hand” to incise the 287 letters needed to replace the names in a new granite panel, matching the other faces on the monument.

The town council also plans to give the memorial a general clean, repaint all the other inscriptions, from the First World War, repoint all round and replace badly-coloured filler.

Aylsham War Memorial. The weathered face of the panel added after the Second World War

Driver critical after Aylsham A140 crash

A male driver is critically ill after the car he was driving hit a tree on the A140 near Aylsham last night.


Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash, shortly after 11pm on Sunday August 27 in which a green MG ZS car hit a tree.


The victim was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University  Hospital where he remained in a critical condition today, Monday August 28.


Emergency services attended the scene, including the East Angian Air Ambulance, and the road was reopened at 6am this morning.


Police are keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the crash or the manner of driving of the car before the incident.


Anyone with information should ring the Norfolk Serious Collision Investigation Team on 101.


Rare edition of Black Beauty being auctioned for Redwings

A limited 1915 edition of Black Beauty is being auctioned to raise funds for Redwings Horse Sanctuary in honour of the classic novel’s 140th birthday.

The rare copy, complete with beautiful colour illustrations by famed equestrian painter Lucy Kemp-Welch, was donated to the charity by a supporter who asked that the book be sold to help care for horses in need.

Anyone wishing to become the proud owner of this beautiful piece of history can view the book at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell until November 25 as part of a special exhibition celebrating Black Beauty’s landmark anniversary. Silent bids are welcomed up until this date and bidding slips can be obtained and submitted at the Museum or by contacting Redwings on 01508 481000 or

Redwings, which has a visitor centres at Aylsham, rescues more than 150 equines every year from abandonment and neglect, and currently cares for more than 1,500 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules every day across the country.

The money raised from the auction will help care for the animals now safe in the sanctuary, and support Redwings’ rescue, welfare and education work nationwide.

The silent auction is just one of the ways Redwings and the museum, along with a number of organisations in and around Norwich, have partnered with Visit Norwich to celebrate Black Beauty’s special birthday this summer.

Redwings is also providing fun talks and activities at the museum for families on horse welfare during the school holidays, and has donated an eye-catching life-sized model of a black horse for its exhibition.

Everyone is also invited to meet and enjoy a cuddle with the charity’s very own Black Beauty – a stunning Friesian horse called Maya – at its Redwings Aylsham Visitor Centre, which is open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10am to 4pm, and entry is free.

Maya, who was rescued from terrible neglect in 2010, is available to sponsor for just £12.50 per year which goes towards caring for Maya and her friends, providing another way for Black Beauty fans to honour their favourite book and help horses in need.

To find out more about Redwings, visit

Clarkes Aylsham up for auction

After five years standing empty in Aylsham Market Place, the historic Clarke’s Ironmongers is to be auctioned with a guide price of £450,000-£500,000.

The public auction by Horners will be held at Aylsham Town Hall on Wednesday, September 27, at noon, being sold as a freehold with vacant possession.

The detached building is mainly 18th century and is Grade II listed. Repairs and improvements are needed to be carried out by any potential new business.

There will be open house viewings on Saturdays, August 26, September 2, 9 and 16, 10am-3pm or by special appointment through sole agents Cockertons on 01692 500839 or 01263 711167 or through Horners on 0800 975 4416.