Help Preserve Norwich’s Historic 'Hidden Street'

by Tom Gaskin in Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom

We did it
On 5th April 2024 we successfully raised £52,000 with 549 supporters in 56 days

Help us buy our building so we can continue operating our Community Hub and guided tours of the historic 'hidden street' below the premises

by Tom Gaskin in Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

If we successfully hit our fundraising target, we'll use any extra funds raised to help with the refurbishment of the building to help enhance our community hub and the overall visitor experience. We'll also look to restore parts of the old Ponds Shoe Fitters shop floor to create a more immersive experience and bring the building's history to life! This will help to attract new and returning customers and in turn create profits to support our varied community activities.

Last chance to donate - our campaign will close 30/04/24.

Help Us Retain Norwich’s Historic 'Hidden Street' and The Shoebox Community Hub for the long term!

We are on a mission to secure the long term future of The Shoebox Community Hub and the historic 'hidden street' below our premises that offers a fascinating glimpse into Norwich's past.

Norwich's historic 'hidden street'

Who We Are:

The Shoebox Enterprises CIC is a social enterprise that empowers people to connect with their communities and lead fulfilling lives. We have been operating for over eight years, primarily in Norwich, and fund our community work by running guided tours and experiences in our historic city.

Our most popular tour is of the remains of Norwich’s historic ‘hidden street’ which is conveniently located beneath our Community Hub on Castle Meadow. The street was originally built into the Norwich Castle ditch and it still has its original 15th century buildings which are now underground. 

Tours of the ‘hidden street’ have operated since 2017 and have been enjoyed by over 50,000 customers. We consistently receive glowing five star customer reviews and we’re currently number one on Tripadvisor for tours and activities in Norwich. 

What We Do:

Our Shoebox community hub hosts and supports a wide range of community groups and activities including:

  • coffee mornings
  • board game groups
  • creative writing sessions
  • arts and craft groups and lots more!

We offer a supportive environment for individuals to connect, share, and uplift each other. Our members can escape the cold and enjoy a friendly chat with like-minded people over a hot cuppa.


Our popular budget-friendly baking and cooking sessions promote well-being and build confidence with maths and budgeting. 

Age UK Norwich hosts regular drop-in sessions within our hub for members aged 55+ to access advice on various aspects, including debt and financial advice.

We currently have over 330 registered community members aged 18+ and last year we had over 3000 community hub visits. 

Many of our members have experienced loneliness and social isolation, mental health issues and have been long term unemployed due to health reasons. 

For many, The Shoebox is the one place where they can go to connect with others, build confidence and gain new skills.

Why We Need Your Help:

Towards the end of last year, we faced an unexpected challenge - potential eviction by our landlord. Following the outpouring of support from the community and our loyal customers, we’re pleased to share that our landlord has had a change of heart and we have now managed to secure a three-year lease. 


Whilst we’re delighted about this, we don’t want to be in this position again. We want to try and buy the building so we can retain it as a community asset for the long term and continue to run our popular tours and support our vital community activities. 

We need your support to help raise funds towards a deposit for a commercial mortgage, so we can secure the space for our community and preserve the unique, local history for years to come!

If we’re unable to buy the building, we will use the funds raised to secure an alternative long-term home for our community hub. We will also improve the current tour experience to help raise more funds to support our community activities.


Join us in this crucial mission! Every donation could be matched on a £1 to £3 basis up to a maximum amount of £450 by the Cost of Living Resilience Fund (subject to meeting eligibility criteria), meaning if you’re able to give £10, the total value of your contribution could actually be £40. Update: Aviva are now providing additional match funding so any new donations could also be matched on a £1 to £1 basis up to a maximum amount of £250 per unique supporter.

🔗 Support Us Now!

Thank you for being a part of our journey to 'empower people to connect with their communities and lead fulfilling lives.' Your support means the world to us!


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£250 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Guest Host Your Very Own Escape Game for 8 People!

Ever fancied running your own Escape Game? We’ll show you how! Book an escape game for up to 8 friends or family members and you will take the hot seat alongside our Gamesmaster to see how it all works! Watch your team scratch their heads at the fiendish puzzles. You’ll have the power to reveal clues, observe the group and laugh along watching them. Experience available at 3pm or 8.30pm on selected dates throughout the year.

£7 or more

80 of 1000 claimed

Souvenir Guidebook for the Hidden Street Tour

This 24 page colour guidebook is the perfect memento for anyone who has attended the Hidden Street Tour, or anyone who wants to build intrigue before attending a tour. Delivered via 2nd class post to an armchair near you!

£25 or more

10 of 45 claimed

90 Min Exclusive ‘Meet the Experience Hosts’ Event

What makes our experiences so much fun? It’s our Experience Hosts! Three of our humorous hosts will regale you with their favourite tales from history, while you kick back and relax in our event space. Enjoy a refreshing drink with a Q&A session at the end. Select dates only throughout the year. This exclusive and intimate gathering promises an evening of laughter, learning, and local history.

£30 or more

eGift Voucher £30 (Lasts 2 Years Instead of 1)

Grab yourself an extended eGift voucher worth £30. The voucher will be emailed direct to your inbox for you to redeem personally or to gift to another. It can be used against any of our fun and unique experiences.

£45 or more

4 of 48 claimed

4 hour Underground Paranormal Event

Join us for a spine-chilling adventure as we delve into the paranormal mysteries of Norwich's Hidden Street. Partnering with a local paranormal investigation team, this 4 hour experience is not for the faint-hearted. Uncover the eerieness that lurks beneath the surface of Castle Meadow. Suitable for ages 18+. Redeemable over a year on select dates.

£50 or more

4 of 6 claimed

Be Immortalised on our Website!

Let us write you a history blog! Do you have a favourite subject from history? You’ll be rewarded with a carefully researched and informative blog, delivered to your email inbox and we’ll even personally dedicate it to you on our website for all to see!

£60 or more

3 of 120 claimed

After Dark Experience - Lantern Light Underground

Guided Lantern Light exploration with complimentary refreshment. Step into the shadows of history as you explore a hidden medieval street, with just a lantern to light your way. Complete with its 15th-century buildings, in the street our ‘lantern bearers’ will regale you with eerie tales from Norwich’s dark past. Uncover the secrets that lurk beneath the surface of Castle Meadow. Suitable for ages 13+. Redeemable over a year on select dates.

£300 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Private Baking/Cooking Workshop for 8 Guests

Indulge your senses in a delightful cooking/baking workshop designed for family and friends to come together for a unique and enjoyable experience. Create delicious tasty treats under the guidance of our experienced host. This 90 minute workshop promises to be a hands-on experience filled with fun and flavour for all.

£350 or more

1 of 5 claimed

Private Group Walking Tour of Norwich with Lunch

Embark on an exclusive journey through Norwich. Choose between the spirited "Tavern Trail Tour" or the insightful "Norwich Knowledge Tour". Explore hidden gems, historical landmarks, and intriguing tales. Ending at The Murderers Pub, you’ll enjoy a buffet lunch and a pint with your Experience Host. For up to 10 guests - note Tavern Trail over 18s only.

£1,200 or more

0 of 5 claimed

15 days meeting room hire with complimentary tour

Discover the perfect solution for your regular workspace needs right in the heart of Norwich! Elevate your work experience with 15 days of exclusive access to our vibrant meeting room nestled on the second floor of The Shoebox. Benefit from complimentary Wi-Fi, and enjoy a private Hidden Street Tour for you and up to 12 guests. Tour available on select dates. Redeemable over a year. Meeting room seats up to 12 people.

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