Bring back Historic Norwich

Bring back Historic Norwich

191 have signed. Let’s get to 200!

Why this petition matters

Started by Max Bannon

Hi, we are the co-creators of the Instagram account Historic Norwich (@historicnorwich) and we have recently been shocked by its sudden deactivation, which we find extremely disappointing. The account was the product of over three years of hard work to promote the history and culture of our beloved home city of Norwich, all for no monetary, or even material, gain of any sort.

Most of the photos we shared were black and white pre-21st century images of Norwich buildings and places. We have had contact and support from organisations including BBC Norfolk, Save Britain’s Heritage, Kettle Chips, the Norfolk Record Office and local charities such as the Norwich Historic Churches Trust on our page which eventually amassed over 10,000 followers. In January 2022 we were approached by employees of the Norfolk Heritage Open Days who wished to collaborate with us to work towards community events and exhibitions. These are just a handful of the occasions where the account has meant more than an Instagram page for us and the community of Norwich, which we found thoroughly rewarding.

During the national lockdowns, we used our platform to promote over 40 small businesses that were struggling financially. We did this for nothing in return, and whilst this is only a small act they were all extremely grateful. Frankly, the inability to continue promoting projects and businesses we believe in is one of our main disappointments about losing the page. In addition, care home managers also previously contacted us to say that their residents with dementia have greatly enjoyed looking at the pictures of the city from their childhood. Just before the pandemic a BBC journalist asked us if it would be possible for us to enter the care home and film this collective reminiscing in practice. We find it shameful that the care home residents have been robbed of this facility.

All of the pictures were reposted from other places already on the internet, largely from local Facebook history groups, such as Norwich Remembers, all of which are publicly shared. Whenever possible we contacted the original photographer and asked their permission to share the photos. This was almost always met with agreement and support, the vast majority of people were very happy to have their photos shared with a wider audience and receive full credit. Only a couple of photographers asked us not to share their work and this was for valid reasons such as impending book publications.

The reason for the deletion of our account seems to be that a local publication took issue with us mistakenly sharing photographs from their archive without credit. The photos had not been credited because the original source was not known to us at the time of posting due to them being found with limited information online. We received no prior warning to this deactivation nor were given any opportunity to address any potential copyright issues that had occurred. We would have been more than happy to update or even delete the posts.

We begrudge being treated heavy-handedly and somewhat unprofessionally by an organisation that is supposed to support the local community. Our core aim was to share photos and historical information from our fine city to a wider audience for no material gain.

We recognise that there is of course many more important things going on at the moment, but hopefully some of the reasons outlined above help articulate why we feel that an inclusive and supportive virtual space for Norwich is important right now. The page had a true sense of community that is often so lacking in the current online world and we feel it a great shame that this has been lost.

We would like to ask for your signature on this petition to further demonstrate how much the page meant to the community and hopefully in the process convince our detractors of our good intentions.

Regardless of the outcome of this petition, in the words of Julian of Norwich "all shall be well".

191 have signed. Let’s get to 200!