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Norwich Canaries

Many years ago the Norwich City Football Team wore blue and white

(don't tell arch-rivals Ipswich though as they now sport those colours),

not the green and yellow strip we are familiar with today.

In 1905 the team was dubbed 'the Canaries' in 'Norfolk's Peoples'

Weekly 'Journal' and clearly proved popular as the name stuck. Many

households after all housed a canary or two for the beautiful trilling

song of the cock birds. Think pre-radio and T.V...

Norwich became a centre for breeding canaries with birds having been brought over from Europe in the 16th Century by Dutch, Walloon and Flemish immigrants fleeing religious persecution. These people welcomed into the city were known as 'Strangers' and at one time it is estimated, may have made up as much as a third of the population.


The descendants of their birds were carefully cross- bred to encourage their plumage away from their wild-finch green, to encompass all shades of yellow through to orange helped along the way by the feeding of exotic spices such as red pepper!

I have almost never seen a live caged canary as the fashion for them had already practically passed in favour of budgerigars, African Finches and Minah birds when I was young. However, their are still local breeders and of course,  name lives on in Norwich City Football Club. High may they fly!


                                                                            Granny Bonnet





William Drake, landlord of The Spread Eagle pub Norwich 1888 - 1912 pictured with his prize-winning canaries
images.jpgWilliam Drake's Prize Canaries
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