Accessibly written, and with over 300 watercolour illustrations, Building Norfolk is an illustrated history of Norfolk's buildings, up to the present day. In the middle ages, Norfolk was one of England's most powerful regions, with Norwich the second biggest city in the British Isles. But by the time of the industrial revolution Norfolk was something of a backwater, and the transformations of this period passed it by. As a result, there is a higher density of old buildings left in Norfolk than anywhere else in Britain, and Building Norfolk does full justice to this extraordinary heritage of barns, farms, manor houses, villages, market towns, stone walls, churches and the great houses of Holkham and Houghton. But the book is not only about the past. Matthew Rice passionately believes in the value of earlier, local, solutions in addressing the challenges of future development. In its final quarter, his book becomes a plea for a well-mannered, intelligent modern interpretation of vernacular architecture, and concludes with a proposal for Worsted, a new town to built following the lessons of generations of Norfolk builders. Rice's support of Prince Charles' new town of Poundbury and his criticism of the current state of planning in Norfolk are sure to attract attention and controversy.
Matthew Rice is a painter, designer and writer. He is the author of Village Buildings of Britain (Little Brown), to which Prince Charles contributed a foreword. He lives in Norfolk with his wife, the potter Emma Bridgewater.