Loading map...

Norwich is a city on the River Wensum in East Anglia and lies approximately 100 miles (161 km) north-east of London. It is the regional administrative centre for East Anglia and county town of Norfolk. From the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of its most important. The urban area of Norwich had a population of 213,166 according to the 2011 Census.

Historically, Norwich's wealth was built on the wool trade. Manufacturing remained important into the Twentieth Century, with a strong manufacturing base that included a shoemaking sector. The economy transitioned throughout the 1980s and 1990s to lean towards the service industries.

(Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links To Peel

Norwich Skyline

About 40 miles north of Peel Acres near Stowmarket in eastern England, Norwich was the closest city to Peel's home.[1] He was a frequent visitor, both for his own gigs and to see touring bands at the most convenient location, including the Two-Tone tour in 1979 and Nirvana in 1990. In April 1992, Peel was involved in events when Norwich hosted the inaugural Sound City.[2]

He was keen to back local music,[3] from the Higsons and Farmer's Boys to Magoo and Bearsuit, often based around the city's University of East Anglia.[4] After the DJ's death, the author and literary critic D.J. Taylor, himself a resident of Norwich, wrote:

He was a great supporter of movements in obscure places - almost single-handedly creating the Norwich music scene of 1983-84 (the Higsons, the Farmer's Boys, Serious Drinking) of which it was said that a local arcade busker could be certain of claiming his Peel session if he troubled to send in a cassette. [7]

In 2012, the John Peel Festival of New Music took place for the first time as part of Norwich Sound + Vision events with gigs at ten venues across the city. [8] At the same time, Norwich Arts Centre hosted a John Peel Archive exhibition put together by the local team responsible for releasing first details of Peel’s Record Collection.[9]

In football, Norwich City are the regional rivals of Ipswich Town, the local team favoured by Peel and wife Sheila. Despite this, Peel remained friends with celebrity cook and long-time Norwich co-owner Delia Smith.

Session Artists

The following artists from or based in the Norwich area recorded Peel sessions:

Festive Fifty

The following artists from the Norwich area had Festive Fifty entries.

Norwich Compilations

Backwater3 2

(LP - Welcome To Norwich A Fine City) Romans In Britain

(12" EP - Backwater One) Noisebox

(CD EP - Backwater Two) Noisebox

(CD - Backwater Three) Noisebox 

(LP - Howlback Hum: We're from Norwich #1) Mummy Wheres The Milkman

Shows Mentioned

(See also Norwich City)
  • 28 May 1979: The national petrol shortage meant that Peel had to cancel his weekend plans to go and see the Leyton Buzzards in Norwich on Sunday 27th, or to travel to Cambridge the night before to see the Fall and the Users - or as an alternative on the same night, to Norwich to see the Specials.
  • 25 June 1979: JP: “Went to Norwich to the university there to play records from time to time while people were waiting for the Dolly Mixture to start playing. Very good they were as well.”
  • 26 June 1979: John plays a number of requests for people he met in Norwich the week before. The Buzzcocks were requested and Peel obliges.
  • 29 October 1979: Peel had seen the 2 Tone package tour of the Selecter, Madness and the Specials the previous Friday at Norwich UEA. "Of the three bands playing in Norwich, the Selecter came off best but perhaps they had more to prove than the others in a way. But they were very, very good indeed. The whole thing, as I say, a most enjoyable evening."
  • 03 December 1979: The John Peel roadshow did its penultimate pre-Christmas gig over the weekend in Norwich.
  • 04 February 1980: In addition to a gig in Manchester over the weekend, Peel had also appeared in Norwich with Running Dogs. He had felt quite good about how the latter had gone until he overheard a young woman on the way out describing it as "easily the worst gig that I've ever been to" - sentiments that were echoed by her friends.
  • 29 September 1980: Peel had taken part in a celebrity football match at Carrow Road in Norwich the previous afternoon (Sunday 28th). He was pleased with his performance, citing in particular a cross that led to a goal for the Radio One team. Peter Powell is said to have scored a memorable goal.
  • 15 July 1981: Perusing the gig guide for Friday, Peel notices that Wah! are playing in Norwich. He says they can stay at Peel Acres afterwards. "Do I mean that, or am I being a bit reckless?" he muses.
  • 29 July 1982: The John Peel Roadshow continues to tour the country. "I was rather depressed when I did my gig in Norwich at the weekend that there appeared to be no representatives there of any of the regional branches of the Sheena barmy army."
  • 22 September 1982: JP recalls the 'Heroes & Villains' Radio One anniversary concert in Hammersmith the previous night, noting the lack of audience response when he said, 'Of course here in London nobody knows anything about football at all' ... You wouldn't have got that sort of reaction in Norwich.'
  • 17 April 1992: John runs through long lists of the things going on next week as part of the Norwich Sound City event. John is appearing at 8:15 pm at Cinema City on Thursday (23rd April) to introduce a film called “It's Trad, Dad!”. All the talk of Norwich prompts Peel into digging out a 1982 single by the Farmer's Boys.
  • 25 April 1992: (JP: 'Andy Kershaw, who has an A level in Spanish, phoned up to say Yo La Tengo actually means 'I've already got it', as in "don't go to Norwich, you'll get dysentery". "Yo la tengo".')
  • 01 May 1992: 'I was going through my Norwich trousers during the week. As you can imagine, being in showbiz, I've got a different pair of trousers for every major town and city in the country.'
  • 04 May 1992 (Ö3): JP mentions seeing House Of Love ("a lot tougher than I thought they were going to be, and I was quite impressed"); Jacob's Mouse ("very good indeed...only a 25-minute set, but not a second wasted"); and the Fall ("a great Fall gig, I wish you'd been there"), all on the same bill the night before. This took place on 21 April 1992 at the Waterfront in Norwich and was broadcast on Radio 1.
  • 15 May 1992: JP: 'At this very moment, according to my calculations, the woman of my dreams should be heading south from Norwich where she will have been seeing PJ Harvey in concert at the Waterfront: "I wish I could have been there meself."
  • 28 May 1993 (BFBS): JP: “This is Tsunami and I am going to see them some time in the middle of next week, playing in Norwich".
  • 28 May 1993:JP: ‘During the week I went to the Wilde Club, the legendary Wilde Club in Norwich and saw amongst other things Tsunami.’
  • Peel Out In The States (Program 11) (1993): (JP: 'While that was going on, I rushed out and had a chat on the phone with one of the members of Tsunami, that's the kind of rock and roll highway that I travel, because they were playing up in Norwich, which is about forty miles north of here, last night, and very good they were too.")
  • 12 July 2001: Peel has been on record-buying spree in Norwich. Purchases include 7” of 'Treat Her Right' by Roy Head, plus Dandelion Records sampler There Is Some Fun Going Forward. "It was marked down to a pound, which was very upsetting indeed" says Peel, who bought it. "I bought it really because I felt it should be liberated and I didn't like the idea of it going for just a pound to some home where it was treated with indifference." The LP sleeve famously has a photo of Peel naked in the bath with a naked model.
  • 05 December 2000: A listener claims to have seen John and wife Sheila having an argument at some traffic lights in Norwich recently. JP: "That can't be true... We never argue, the Pig and I, we don't."
  • 04 December 2001: Recalls a late night walk with Sheila along a canal (river) towpath in Norwich after attending "a kind of do" at Carrow Road football ground ("a place we don't willingly go to") the previous Saturday ("too much detail you don't need to hear"). Says this was the first time he’d ever seen a couple “having it off in the street” outside a bar. Thinks the paving stones may have been uncomfortable for the woman involved. Around the corner was a man sitting against a wall surrounded by broken glass."
  • 12 March 2003: JP: "There must be a certain amount of bitterness in Norwich tonight as they lost 3-2 to Portsmouth. Perhaps the presence of Hyper Kinako in their midst will bring a little cheer into their lives. I certainly hope so."
  • 01 September 2004: The city of Norwich proves to be a touchy subject during the programme. JP: "We have an issue with Norwich at the moment in our house. I won't bore you with details, but we do. But I'm sure we'll overcome it." The cause is more than likely related to football (Norwich had been promoted to the Premier League back in May).

See Also



  1. Cambridge is a little further from Stowmarket (42.2 miles versus 38.4 miles).[1][2] Ipswich, which is closer, is a town,[3] as is Colchester.[4]
  2. On 21st April, along with son William, he attended the gig at the Waterfront that was broadcast live on Radio One, featuring performances by House of Love, Jacob's Mouse and The Fall. Invited to select a film to be shown during the festival, he picked Richard Lester's 1962 effort It's Trad, Dad! He personally introduced the film before the screening on Thursday 23rd April at Cinema City.
  3. Including by joining public campaigns for live music venues in the city.[5]
  4. He was awarded an honorary MA by UEA in 1989.[6] See Suffolk Comfort (from 17.43) for Peel’s thoughts on the honour and the award ceremony. He also opened the UEA student radio station Livewire1350AM.
  5. Terry Edwards from the band later did sessions under his own name, as well as one with Rhythm Pigs.
  6. Anglo-Japanese band, based in Norwich.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.