Network Norwich and Norfolk > Resources > Culture > Hymnbooks cross the world from Norwich warehouse

Hymnbooks cross the world from Norwich warehouse 

Many of the people crowding into church services around the world this year will be opening hymnbooks from Norwich-based Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Even if everyone is not singing from exactly the same hymnbook, the chances are high that the song book you are handed comes from Hymns Ancient and Modern.

The classic collection of hymns was named more than 150 years ago from a chance meeting of two clergymen on a train.  

Hymns Ancient & Modern is not just a hymn book, it is a Christian charity and it is based in Norwich.

Via book and newspaper publishing, bookselling and distribution, it generates funds in order to fulfil its charitable purpose of making grants to churches and Christian organisations.

Today Hymns A&M publishes around 100 books every year in print and digital formats via imprints SCM Press, Canterbury Press, Church House Publishing (under arrangement with the Archbishops Council) and Saint Andrew Press (under arrangement with the Church of Scotland).

Norwich-books-and-music-Logo40It also publishes the Church Times and other periodicals, owns leading religious bookshop Church House Bookshop, runs events and seminars plus distribution centre Norwich Books and Music (NBM), based on an industrial centre on Norwich’s outer ring road.  Hymns A&M employ 65 staff including around 30 in Norwich working in warehousing and distribution, customer services, credit control and finance.  

Each day, hundreds of orders and thousands of books go out to customers worldwide from the Norwich distribution centre – backed up by modern technology, digital printing and traditional forklift trucks. Of course, peak times in the Christian church year see NBM at its busiest – and this year especially so with sales of over 80,000 copies of the new Church of England booklet for Advent, God with us.

In September 2017, NBM was delighted to be awarded for the first time the title Christian Distributor of the year in recognition of the quality of its service and despatch levels.

The first Hymns A&M was published in 1861 and went on to sell over 200 million copies. For more than 150 years it has been printed by Clowes of Beccles and indeed Hymns A&M was based there for decades but moved to central Norwich in 1975 and the Hellesdon Park Road Industrial Estate in 2010.

Find out more about our work and our grants programme at

Pictured above is the Hymns Ancient and Modern distribution centre in Norwich.


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