Mile Cross – sight lines

Sight lines: something sadly lacking from any of the later additions to the estate, and something seemingly lacking from anything else designed in Norwich from the 1960’s onwards.

This shot is taken looking South along the long footpath simply named: ‘The Lane’ by the estate’s engineers.


The Lane was incorporated into the estate’s design by City Engineer, JS Bullough and it forms the backbone of the southern section of the estate. It used the newly-built and grand-looking St Johns Church – now the Roman Catholic Cathedral – as its reference point. The Cathedral looks surprisingly close from up here on top of the northern side of the Wensum Valley as the river snakes its way though Mile Cross and into the City Centre. The Lane and its clever design is a nice aesthetic touch and it’s a touch most probably missed by the locals as they go about their day-to-day lives. It’s most definitely not lost on me and it often catches my eye as I’m cutting my way through the estate. The effect is particularly strong after the Sun has dropped and the Cathedral begins to glow orange under its artificial illumination. I don’t think that there is a better vantage point from which to view the Roman Catholic Cathedral, apart from – maybe – St James Hill, on the eastern fringes of the City, however, from that viewpoint St John’s plays second fiddle to the larger, Norman Cathedral.

I’d like to think the couple walking hand-in-hand in through my photograph are taking in the fine view as they enjoy their afternoon stroll along The Lane.

Even as recently as the 1980’s The Lane looked a lot tidier than it does in its current state. At the bottom of the hedges that line the walk is a small, angled decorative brick wall that only served to emphasize the sight lines and further help draw your eye into the focal point that is the Cathedral. All it would take is for the residents to get out with some simple garden tools to tidy up their boundaries a little, and for Norwich City Council to come out and mow the grass more often, you know, like they used to. Sadly, I doubt there’s the will or the budget for it.

Thanks again for reading,


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