Museums - Industry, commerce, agriculture, fishing and other employment
There are many privately owned and run museums dedicated to showing the way the people of Norfolk earned a living -on the land, on the water or in industry. Whilst many of the museums are owned by charitable trusts and a significant proportion of them staffed exclusively by volunteers, including:
the superb Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service service also runs these excellent museums with much information on industry and employment in Norfolk, including:
The Stranger’s Hall, one of Norwich's oldest and most fascinating buildings.
This sizeable merchant’s house, dating from 1320 with many later additions, looks to bring the days of the Tudors and Stuarts vividly to life through a trip around a maze of interlinked rooms enriched with textiles and period objects including clothing, furniture, toys and games and meal settings. There are many activity days, with the very friendly and knowledgeable staff dressed in period costume and there’s also a 17th century knot garden.
The Bridewell started life as a rich merchant's house in 1325. It became a prison for women and beggars (a ‘Bridewell’) in 1585 and in the mid 18th century became a conventional prison. From 1828 it earned its keep as a factory and warehouse for tobacco, leather, boots and shoes. It became a museum in 1925 and now houses a wonderful collection of historic objects and machinery revealing how Norwich people earned their living and spent their leisure time.
The Bridewell is currently undergoing a £1.5 million redevelopment project and is scheduled to re-open in the summer of 2012.
Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum
Whilst in Norwich, why not drop into the Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum? Colman’s have been making fine quality mustards in Norfolk for over 180 years and this tradition is celebrated in Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum, one of the city’s most popular and cherished heritage attractions.
Housed in the historic art nouveau Royal Arcade near Norwich Market, the shop is a careful replica of a Victorian trade premises. It stocks an extensive range of powder and prepared mustards, including a number of specialities made exclusively for the shop and a wide selection of mustard pots and spoons, gift packs, tea towels, Colman’s memorabilia and more. Displays also illustrate all aspects of the history and production of Colman’s mustard, with many historic items on show such as wartime mustard tins and Art Deco mustard pots.
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse
In 1776 the combined parishes of Mitford and Launditch bought Chapel Farm at Gressenhall to build a ‘house of industry’ for the poor. In 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act led to the transformation of the house of industry into a workhouse. The workhouse closed in 1948. After a short period of time as an old people’s home Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse opened as a unique museum in 1976.
Adjoining the historic workhouse, complete with Victorian school room, is a traditional farm with a collection of rare breed animals, including Suffolk Punch horses which are used for ploughing and demonstrations. There are many specialist days including working days, apple days and reminiscing days with much of the activity on the farm designed to appeal to children. The 50 acre site also includes the woodland playground, one of the best outdoor adventure play areas in this part of the world.
Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life
The Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life has recently benefited from a £1.6 million renovation, which has gone towards conserving the Grade I listed Tudor merchant’s house and creating up-to-date displays.
The atmospheric crooked house tells the remarkable story of Thetford and the Brecks. Discover rich collections alongside audio guides, films and animations.
Meet local people from Thetford’s past, from the revolutionary philosopher Thomas Paine to the Sikh hero Maharajah Duleep Singh and from rabbit warreners to railway workers.
Time and Tide, Great Yarmouth
Set in one of the UK’s best preserved Victorian herring curing works, the multi-award winning Time and Tide tells the story of its home, Great Yarmouth from its Ice Age origins to the present day. Visitors can wander through a Victorian 'Row' and see inside a fisherman’s home, experience the heady atmosphere of a 1950s quayside, take the wheel of a coastal Drifter and hear tales of wreck and rescue on the high seas.
The museum follows Great Yarmouth’s transformation from a sandbank to the present day, through times of boom and bust and war and peace.
Yesterday’s World, Great Yarmouth
Yesterday’s World offers a chance to immerse yourself in a fabulous trip down memory lane with thousands upon thousands of treasures and unique memorabilia from days gone by and to see how much Great Yarmouth has changed since the nineteenth century.
Life-size Victorian street and shop displays allow you to take in a visit to the ironmongers shop, discover what it was like in a 19th century apothecary or see what a toy shop looked like compared to today. There’s a local car mechanic’s garage was like, or visit the wheelwrights or the display of cameras. There’s plenty to see and the tea room has been listed in The Times UK’s 50 best places to eat by the sea.
John Jarrold Printing MuseumThe John Jarrold Printing Museum in Norwich claims to be one of the finest museums in the country dedicated to printing. Founded in 1982, it is dedicated to preserving the heritage of printing. It is run by volunteers whose first-hand knowledge of ‘the print’ is encyclopædic. Their boundless enthusiasm for all facets of their trade is palpable, making for a visit that is both exciting and fascinating.
Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History
The Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History is the only surviving town gasworks in England and Wales, complete with all equipment used for the manufacture of gas from coal: retorts, condenser, purifiers, meter and gasholder.
The museum, run entirely by volunteers, is housed in the town’s former gasworks, which ceased production of gas from the heating of coal in 1965 following the discovery of Natural Gas in the North Sea. The gas works is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a prestigious and rare distinction for an industrial site and, as such, is a National Treasure, providing an insight into our cultural, social and industrial heritage with displays of lighting, heating, cooking and domestic equipment.
The gas works buildings and the museum collection held within them allow a glimpse into the past where one man, William Murdoch changed everyday living, bringing light to the darkest corners of our country.
Charles Burrell Museum
The Charles Burrell Museum housed in Burrells original paint shop, tells the story of the Charles Burrell Works, a Thetford business that once employed 350 people and supplied beautiful and reliable steam-powered engines throughout the world. Burrells built traction engines, agricultural machinery, steam trucks wagons and tram engines, thriving until the internal combustion engine took over from steam power.
Displays include fine engines and agricultural machinery alongside recreations of parts of the original works such as the foundry and the machine shop.
Museum of the Broads, Stalham
The Museum of the Broads exists to bring to life the heritage of the Broadland waterways with imaginative interactive display areas focusing on regional history. It is concerned with the preservation and interpretation of the history of the Broads - a singular area of our country with its unique history of discovery, development and exploitation of the natural environment.
The displays represent life in the area from today’s conservation industry, back through the tourist industry of the twentieth century with its rapid development of the region, through the period when the need for fuel and food drastically shaped the landscape, remembering early settlements when East Anglia was an important capital region.
The museum’s collection includes objects which graphically represent the struggle to exploit the wealth of the land, and the use of the waterways for food, transport and leisure. There are collections of boats, brochures, sailing diaries, and boatbuilding plans. Many of the museum’s Broads boats, tools, and associated artifacts are unique.