Settee of Stories: An Interview With Dulcie & Thomas Humphrey

Norwich. A city of mavericks and makers, creators and trail blazers. A big-hearted city beneath even bigger skies, and open air, open minds. In Norwich, everyone has a story to tell. And we’ll be sure to tell it. Every month, we’ll be sitting down with local writers, designers, makers, artists and influencers to discuss life in Norwich. This week we’re joined by picture framers and gallerists, Dulcie and Thomas Humphrey from the Fairhurst Gallery & Workshop.

14 June 2021

Dulcie and Thomas Humphrey

Tom and Dulcie met at Norwich School Of Art and Design just before graduating in 2005, where Tom was studying creative writing and Dulcie studied fine art.

We sat down with them to discuss their gallery in Norwich, Fairhurst Gallery & Workshop, and why the City of Stories is the perfect place for art and culture.

Thomas and Dulcie Humphrey

How did you get into your careers?

For Tom, he chased through his love of classic cars, carpentry and heritage buildings before coming to work with Tiz Fairhurst as a picture framer where he learnt traditional framing techniques. In 2014 Tiz retired and we both took on the concern. We still practice traditional framing techniques and offer bespoke contemporary framing. And at the start of 2020, we took on a new contemporary gallery space adjacent to the workshop on Bedford street.

What do you love about Norwich and why?

Norwich is passionate about culture and arts and there is a real hub of creativity within the city, contributing to an incredibly diverse and vibrant music and art scene; one of which we are excited to be a part of.

Norwich being a medieval city is also something we enjoy, it is rich in its history and being immersed in historical culture day to day adds a real depth to its beauty. The medieval nature of the city further contributes to the array of hidden gems tucked away in all corners of Norwich; we love the lanes and the delight of discovering cafes and boutique shops on the cobbled, winding streets.

As well as having a real buzz of busy city life, Norwich also manages to allow us to stay connected to nature in that there are a great number of large open spaces and parks, perfect for letting off steam with the children. In Norwich we are also lucky to be close to the sea, Norfolk boasts a beautiful coastline with some fantastic beaches.

Norwich Lanes

The Norwich Lanes

Favourite places to eat in Norwich? 

Norwich is full of incredible places to eat, from the full dining experience in beautiful restaurants to the tastiest food on the go from cafes and the market.

Some of our favourites places to eat include the XO Kitchen at the Artichoke pub, Saporita, Sicily Tratoria, Al Dente and Benoli for the best, authentic Italian experience. Wolfe and Social is also our top restaurants to visit, with an amazing tapas style menu and dreamy atmosphere.

We have worked with Wolfe and Social to show contemporary artworks from a range of local artists in their dining area and are excited to maintain this relationship; combining our favourite things- art and great food.


Saporita, St Andrews Hill

Favourite place for a coffee or drink? 

There’s a saying or maybe a legend, that Norwich has a pub for every day of the year but we are sure there are probably more than 365 places for a good beverage around the city. Franks Bar is not only our next door neighbour on Bedford Street but also one of our favourite spots, their cosy, quirky cafe come bar is perfect for both an afternoon coffee or an evening drink. We also enjoy the Sir Garnet for a great selection of beers and local produce, overlooking the Norwich market. When it comes to pubs with real character and an authentic atmosphere, we love those around the North of the city, especially The Rosebery.

The Sir Garnet

The Sir Garnet Norwich

What was your experience of lockdown like? 

Navigating an entirely alien way of living wasn’t easy, however we were able to spend and take time doing daily tasks more slowly such as cooking and gardening; it was nice to take more time and care over these things, which were greatly helped by local businesses.

We got regular home deliveries from Bread Source, Archers Butchers and fresh fruit and vegetables from Mike Debs & Sons Greengrocers on the market. A lot of our time was spent looking after our two small children, finding new ways to keep them engaged and entertained whilst at home. The Book Hive were really great for this, with their kids bundles as well as Henry’s regular videos which kept us all laughing!

We traded visiting restaurants and pubs for the obligatory zoom quiz nights with friends and family, whilst in terms of the gallery we worked to put on virtual exhibitions. It was important for us to try to keep showing art, supporting artists and inspiring our audiences in what ever way we could during such a strange time.

On top of all this we also restored an old building! We bought the neighbouring 18th century building and completely renovated it from being a hairdressing salon to a fresh new gallery space with artist studios. Whilst in the height of the initial lockdown Tom did an enormous amount of the renovation himself and it was exciting to have a big project to work on at the time. We are so pleased to now have a beautiful new addition to the Fairhurst with a large open window looking over Bedford Street, allowing us to share each new exhibiting artists work with the world, and to recognise all the work that went into transforming the space.

Walking Through Flowers exhibition at Fairhurst Gallery

What are you most looking forward to now restrictions are easing? 

As lockdown is easing and a life without restrictions is on the horizon, we are most looking forward to being able to get people together in the gallery space for private views and events; celebrating artwork and artists by inviting everyone into the space for a glass of something cold and a bit of a party!

Away from the gallery we are excited to be able to do all the things we enjoy that we once took for granted; going out for dinner with family and friends, going to the theatre, being around dancing crowds at gigs and festivals; but definitely now with a heightened appreciation of the people and places we can visit. And as summer approaches we cannot wait to freely spend time at the beach or canoe along the river.

River Wensum

And finally, what does Norwich mean to you? 

It’s home, a vibrant city of culture and science, a city of parks, music and great food. A city to fall in love in and escape to big skys and beaches too. We can’t think of anywhere as perfect to give our children roots and wings.