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My Norwich

See fresh pieces of history

Published on Tuesday, 1st November 2016

It’s your chance to meet the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Norwich and see fresh pieces of history as new civic chains are unveiled to the public this Saturday <5 November>.

Crafted by local goldsmith Sonkai – a family business in the centre of the city – the new chains are worn by the Lord Mayor and Sheriff at important events.

Made of gold-plated Sterling silver, the new chains tell a story of Norwich through motifs depicting significant aspects of history – recent and long past. From Norwich Market to the city’s shoe and leather industry past; from beer and brewing to its literary credentials.

The chains will be formally unveiled by the Lord Mayor and Sheriff as they wear them at an open event at Sonkai on Dove Street between 12 and 2pm.

Why the new chains were made

Until now, the chains of office the Lord Mayor and Sheriff have worn were those given in 1757 by Matthew Goss, a wealthy dyer and Freeman. These historic chains are invaluable pieces of heritage and this, as well as the fact they’re heavy and uncomfortable to wear, means they are not practical for everyday use and so led to the council commissioning a new set.

Sonkai was successful in its bid for the commission and produced two truly stunning pieces. The new chains were presented to the Lord Mayor and Sheriff by the jewellers towards the end of last month.

The project to create the chains has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the Freemen of Norwich, who, along with and Norwich Town Close Estate Charity, have generously covered their cost.

Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Marion Maxwell said: “The Sheriff and I couldn’t be more honoured to be the first, in what I hope will be a very long line of civics to wear these truly stunning new pieces of history.

We would like to thank Sara Sweet, Craig Snape and their team at Sonkai for rising to the challenge of capturing the rich history of Norwich so beautifully, as well as the Freeman of Norwich and their Town Close Estate Charity for making this possible through their generosity.”

To see more detail about the full range of motifs, visit and click on the ‘Civic regalia’ button.