The West Runton Mammoth

May 2017 

We are very excited to announce the launch of a series of guided tours of the world famous ‘West Runton Mammoth’ with Dr David Waterhouse (Senior Curator of Natural History).

Initially these will be held on two dates during 2017 (Wednesday June 7th and Monday August 14th), but we hope to add many more dates in 2018.

Tickets can be booked online – West Runton Mammoth tour tickets 

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Norfolk Museums Service, Senior Curator of Natural History, Dr David Waterhouse and former Teaching Museum Trainee Lauren O’Grady, with the right tusk and a portion of the skull from the West Runton Mammoth.

Before Woolly Mammoths roamed the plains of Ice Age Britain, there was an even bigger mammoth on the scene. In fact, Steppe Mammoths (including the West Runton Mammoth) may have been the largest elephant species to have existed.  At over four metres tall, the West Runton Mammoth stood taller than a double decker bus, and when alive weighed twice as much as a modern African Elephant. This mammoth dates from the Cromerian Stage (around 700,000 years old), and is the oldest and largest mammoth skeleton to have been found in the UK. Join experts from Norfolk Museums Service as they reveal the fascinating story of this extinct giant in its purpose-built research facility at the Norfolk Collections Centre*.

*Norfolk Collections Centre is located on site at Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse (NR20 4DR)

 

 

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The Life of William Henry Everitt

By Wayne Kett

In the past I have written blogs about iconic Norwich companies and famous people from our fine city, but this blog is about an ordinary Norwich man called W.H Everitt.

The images below show an upholsterers tool box and assorted tools, they are from the Museum of Norwich‘s reserve collection. The label on the box indicated it was owned by W.H Everitt and that he worked for a company called Boswells. I so often wonder who used the objects in our collections and what their lives were like. With this thought in mind I set out to discover all that I could about W.H Everitt.

 

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W. H. Everitt’s toolkit (above) and his tools (below)

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W.H. Everitt certainly valued his tools as he had marked his initials onto every last one of them. That or he had some light fingered colleagues.

The first thing to say is the W stands for William. I need only look as far as Modes (our object database) for this information.

It was fairly easy to start compiling information about Boswell’s, the first mention I found was in 1869 (although their story may go back further). W.M Boswell was listed as a carver and gilder with businesses on Exchange Street and Magdalen Street. Using various directories (such as Kellys Directory of Norfolk 1904) I was able to follow the business from 1869 – 1912 with premises in various locations across Norwich. The functions of the business were listed variously as carver and gilder, cabinet maker, print seller, artists colourman, furniture van proprietor, antique dealer, paper hanging warehouse, print-sellers, picture frame makers, looking glass manufacturers and yes upholsterers.

I discovered that for a time they occupied St Ethelbert House near the Cathedral.

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Norwich, Tombland, St Ethelbert House, early 20th c.

Nothing I discovered about Boswell’s told my anything new about William Everitt, so I changed course. I had another line of enquiry. I had noticed alongside his tools we had a box containing some paperwork belonging to William. The Modes record mentioned wallets, business cards and intriguingly details of travel to Paris. This required a visit to the Museum of Norwich where the documents were stored.

There were three separate wallets each containing various paper ephemera and then a mostly blank diary. I would go through these in detail later, but first something else had caught my eye, a photograph……

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William Henry Everitt

This is a photograph of William Henry Everitt. I never expected to see what he looked like, this was definitely an added bonus!

I worked my way through the paper documents contained in the wallets and I scanned the pages of his diary, I also used the information I had gathered to search ancestry websites. Here is as much of William Henry Everitt’s life as I am able to piece together…..

William Henry Everitt was born in Norwich in 1864, his father was also called William Henry Everitt. That is as much as I can tell you about his family, his mothers name eluded me. In 1878 at the age of just 14 years old William was apprenticed to Lucy Boswell to train as an upholsterer.

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William’s apprenticeship indenture papers.

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The terms of the apprenticeship includes the following commitment:

‘Fornication he will not commit, nor matrimony contract; Taverns, Inns and Alehouses he will not haunt; at Cards, Dice and Tables, or any other unlawful Games he will not play.’

This seems an unduly harsh set of limitations to place on a young person. I wonder whether he stuck to it or not?

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William was to be paid 3 shillings a week for the first year of his apprenticeship, rising 1 shilling per year until the seventh year when he would receive 9 shillings per week. 

It is clear William came from an impoverished background. His apprenticeship papers make reference to the Boys Hospital, this was a charity ‘for the keeping and bringing up and teaching of very poor children’. The charity was established following the death in 1617, of former mayor of Norwich Thomas Anguish. Presumably William was a beneficiary of this charity.

At age 20 William was living at 103 Stafford Street, Heigham, Norwich. I cannot say for sure whether he was still working for Boswell’s. However he was certainly available for odd jobs on the side – as this letter dated July 2nd 1885 attests.

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Letter addressed to William

The handwriting is difficult to read, as far as I can translate here is a transcription of the letter….

‘Dear Willie, I want to have my bedroom papered and should like you to do it, if you can manage it. Aggie? Thinks it would be ready by diner time on Friday………… but you could get the old paper off the coving before. Please let me know tomorrow whether you can do it and if you can let me have some paper for choice. I hope your mother is better, please remember me to you mother, yours sincerely Elizabeth S Stone’

All pretty mundane, which makes me curious why it survived? I suspect, Elizabeth Stone was a person of some significance to William, though I have been unable to discover the nature of their relationship. The tone of the letter is very familiar and friendly, and the very fact he kept a letter he received at the age of 20 seems to support this suspicion.

This  newspaper cutting found in one of his wallets contains details of the funeral of Agatha Stone (a local philanthropist). A search thorough the Norfolk Record Office online archive confirmed that Agatha and Elizabeth Stone were sisters.

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Why a tradesman had such a close link with two seemingly wealthy sisters remains unclear.

In his mid-twenties William set out on a journey to Paris. His destination was the Exposition Universelle, a worlds fair held in Paris between May and October 1889. The fair left a indelible mark on the Paris skyline in the form of the Eiffel Tower, which was constructed as the entrance to the fair.

Program for the Exposition Universelle – William kept various other souvenirs relating to his trip

I cannot be sure of his reasons for attending the Exposition Universalle,  but he kept a diary so I can relay some of what he got up to during his trip.

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His handwriting as you can see is very difficult to decipher.

Sunday 22nd September 

‘Visited exhibition. At 1pm ascended Eiffel Tower. 2:30pm sent postcards from top of tower to England. Visited some of the sights of Paris at night.’

Monday 23rd September

‘Drive round Paris. Visited La Madeleine, Paris, the tomb of Napoleon palace royal…….. ascended the Arc de Triomphe, visited the cemetery 3,000,000 bodies, 109 acres of land’

Tuesday 24th September 

‘Drive to Versailles via Parc de St Cloud Park and mansion, 22,400 acres of land. Had photograph taken in the park palace de……. Visit palace of Versailles, visited porcelain manufacturers.’

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A business card for the Hotel Longchamp, presumably one of the places William stayed during his trip.

Wednesday 25th September 

‘Visited Notre Dame and the morgue? Visited the Pantheon ….. took train in the evening.’

Thursday 26th September

‘Took boat to zoo gardens, back by boat to St Cloud. Took bus to exhibition, heard Edisons phonograph*. Left Paris for Dieppe at 9 o’clock, left Dieppe for Newhaven by boat at 1 o’clock – rough passage and waves washed the deck all the way.’

* Thomas Edison attended the Esposition Universelle to showcase his phonograph. The very first device that enabled the recording and reproduction of sound.

Friday 27th September

‘Left Newhaven for London at half past, arrived in London at 10 o’clock, rode about London by bus all we could. Visited the Niagra Fall grand site similar to battle of varraville in Paris.’

Foreign travel was uncommon in the 19th century especially for a humble tradesman. To have climbed the Eiffel tower in its first year of existence and to have been one of the first people to hear recorded sound certainly makes for an eventful trip!

At some point in the years following his Paris trip William married a woman called Edith (unsure of her maiden name). In 1894 he celebrated the birth of his first son (William), another son followed (Walter) and then in 1897 a daughter (Lydia). At this time he still resided in the fine city of Norwich, however he was soon to depart.

By the time of the 1901 census William and his family had moved to Humber Road South in Beeston, Nottingham. His job title was listed as Time Keeper at a foundry. He worked for the Beeston Boiler Company which was known locally as ‘The Foundry’.

The 1911 Census has him living at 53 City Road, Beeston, Nottingham and his occupation as Iron Foundry Store Keeper. Another son Frank George Everrit was born in 1905.

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He later moved to Bramcote Road judging from this amended business card.

Although William and family left Norwich for Nottingham around the turn of the century, it is clear he had reason to return to Norfolk, perhaps to visit family? It seems he stayed in the Black Horse in Scarning near East Dereham.

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William had a couple of these business cards among his papers. William Binden was landlord of the Black Horse between 1924 and 1939 which indicates that William Everitt was still returning to Norfolk some two decades after he first left.

Sadly from here the trail goes a little cold, I am unsure what form William’s life took in the following decades. However I can tell you a little about his politics, he appears to have been a lifelong Conservative.

Among William’s papers were these election notices promoting the conservative candidates in the 1885 parliamentary elections. William would have been 21 at the time of this election. Harry Bullard won a seat in parliament, but Samual Hoare was not so fortunate losing out to Liberal candidate Jeremiah James Colman.

Between the years 1912-1926 William was the chairman of the Rushcliffe Conservative party association. This is a Nottinghamshire branch of the conservative party.

The final certainty I can share with you is that William Henry Everitt died in 1932 at the age of 67. His death was reported in the Nottingham Guardian on the 20th January 1932.

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From humble beginnings, it seems that William was able to make a good life for himself, I hope it was a happy one.

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Please take the time to visit the fantastic Museum of Norwich

 

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Strangers, Undertakers, Pepys and Spies

By Jamie Everitt

What links these four things together? Perhaps one of my favourite objects in the Norfolk Collections Centre, the enigmatic silk press. Let us find out how.

Press full view

Norwich was once the most important cloth manufacturing town in Britain. Daniel Defoe, visiting in 1723, claimed that there were 120,000 textiles workers employed there. Although this was probably an exaggeration, there is no doubt that textiles were the backbone of the city’s trade for centuries.

In medieval times Norwich was renowned for its worsteds, a fine fabric made from combed wool. The name derives from the village of Worstead about 12 miles north of the city which, along with nearby Aylsham and North Walsham, first developed the trade in the 12th century. Carefully selected wools were prepared with a wool comb, a fearsome-looking instrument which had to be heated before use.

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A wool comb from the collection of the Museum of Norwich

The combing process removes the shorter fibres leaving only the longer, which are at the same time straightened and aligned parallel with each other. This enables a fine thread to be spun, which can be knitted or woven into tailored garments including hosiery. Woollens, on the other hand, retain the natural ‘crimp’ or curliness of the wool and make a much coarser yarn, usually knitted up as garments such pullovers or woven to make blankets and similar cloth.

A great impetus to the development of the Norwich textile trade came from the ‘Strangers’, Flemish Protestant refugees fleeing religious persecution in the Dutch Netherlands. The authorities of Norwich first invited thirty master weavers arrived along with their families to settle in the city in 1565 to help bring prosperity back to its failing textile industry, and this pioneering group soon turned into a major influx. By 1582 the Strangers made up a third of the population of Norwich. Despite this rapid change in the city’s make up, they seem to have been well-received by the majority of the inhabitants. No doubt this was due in a large part to incomers and native inhabitants sharing the same religion, although the Strangers had their own churches and flavour of Protestantism – in 1585 there were three ministers for the Flemish community. Equally important, perhaps, was the fact that their industry and skill brought a return of prosperity to Norwich. Many settled in and helped rebuild the area north of the Wensum (‘Norwich over the water’) which had fallen into ruin after a disastrous fire in 1507.

Aside from worsteds Norwich also had an important silk industry for many years and the Strangers were instrumental in that too. It was they who are believed to have introduced the drawloom to Norwich. The drawloom is used for pattern weaving in silks and linens. It requires two operators: a weaver, and an assistant known as the ‘draw boy’, who works the figure harness. This harness controls each warp thread separately and thus enables complicated patterns to be woven.

Flemish weavers specialised in silk ‘mixed goods’ (i.e. a mixture of silk and other yarns) for which Norwich came to be famous in the 18th century. It is probably no coincidence that bombazine was first made in Norwich in 1575, shortly after the Strangers arrived. Bombazine was originally made with a silk warp and worsted weft, and was to become a Norwich speciality. Samuel Pepys had at least two suits made from the material. His diary entry for 25 June 1666 reads “This being the first day of my putting on my black stuff bombazin suit, and I hope to feel no inconvenience by it, the weather being extremely hot” (Pepys’ desire to look fashionable clearly overcome any thoughts of practicality), while on 30 May 1668 he records “Up, and put on a new summer black bombazin suit, and so to the office”. Perhaps the fabric for his suits was woven in Norwich?

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Black bombazine became much favoured for mourning wear in the 18th and 19th centuries, but fell out of fashion by the beginning of the 20th century. Another Norwich speciality was crape, which was also associated with mourning wear – crape hat bands are still worn by some undertakers to this day. Like bombazine, crape had a silk warp and worsted weft, but it differed in being ‘crimped’ to give a ridged appearance, rather like crepe paper. This finish process could be done in a number of ways: it might be woven into the fabric but it could also be pressed into it.Bombazine

Samples of Norwich ‘treble bombazine’. Note the dense and very flat, matte finish. From a pattern book of Bolingbroke, Jones & Co, 1889-90. Costume & Textile collections NWHCM : 1966.661.27

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Sample of Norwich mourning crape from the Costume & Textiles collections.

And so, in a roundabout fashion, we come to our silk press. A massive contraption rather like a cider press, with heavy oak uprights and cross beams, 6ft 8in (203cm) high and 4ft (112cm) wide. From the upper beam a heavy, suspended iron screw thread holds a solid oak block just large enough to fit inside the cast iron tank; the end of the screw has holes for a pole to be inserted, which would enable great leverage to be exerted onto the block in the tank. This tank originally sat on the lower cross beam, but it is so immensely heavy (although it is not large, four people have difficulty in moving it) that for reasons of health and safety, as well as the safety of the press itself, it is now stored at its foot. So massive, indeed, is the press that it is firmly strapped to the wall – over the years it has warped a little and no longer sits quite as flat on the ground as no doubt it once did, and it would crush someone if it ever fell on them. When we move it, it is securely strapped to its pallet.

What was it used for? The short answer is we are not really sure. It was donated to Norwich museums in 1923 and is described in the accession registers as a ‘silk press’ but there is very little information beyond this.

The finishing processes in the old silk industry are not well documented, but one possibility is that it was used for making ‘watered’ silks. This is a finish where the fabric is folded and then pressed under great pressure, usually heated at the same time, to create a rippled, wave-like pattern also known as moire (pronounced ‘mwah’ or ‘mwah-ray’). Ironically, the pattern is easily destroyed by water, so the cloth can never be worn in the rain. It is partially pressed into the fabric and partially the result of the way light is reflected off the compressed fibres. Nowadays the pattern is created by ribbed rollers, but in the 18th century or early 19th century, which is when our press is thought to have been made, it is more likely that it was created by folding and pressing dampened fabric between hot metal plates.

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Close up of a purple watered silk bodice, 1880s. Costume & Textile handling collections NWHCM : 1966.183.13.1

Certainly the tank still contains a number of thick, perforated metal plates. These were perhaps interleaved with the fabric and then great pressure applied by means of the screw. The bottom of the tank is also perforated and the insides have vertical grooves, perhaps to allow water to be squeezed out. But it is all something of a puzzle. Why is the tank so heavy? The sides are ⅞ inch (22mm) thick – was this to restrain the great pressure? (Unlikely, since most of the pressure would have been in the vertical plane and there was ample room to allow any trapped water to escape.) Or was it somehow heated, perhaps with charcoal, the thickness of the iron being to retain the heat between batches of material? But there is no sign of any burning on the wood. Perhaps it was simply too difficult to cast the iron any more thinly.

Press tankThe cast iron tank with perforated plates

Whether it was even used for silks is unknown, despite its identification. The dimensions of the tank are 23½ x 18 inches (60 x 46cm), the same width as a standard Norwich worsted cloth. So it might have been used for worsteds, or silks, mixed fabrics, or any of them as demand required. Cloth finishing was a separate but allied trade to weaving and while a finisher might specialise in one kind of work it is possible they could have turned their hand to other pieces if trade in their speciality was slack.

The press would have represented a huge investment for someone in oak, iron and labour. Objects like these were simple and easily repairable – ours has two wrought iron straps around the upper cross beam where it has split, perhaps testament to the forces it was subjected to. And they were so massively constructed they lasted literally several lifetimes. It could have been used economically long after more efficient industrialised machinery was introduced elsewhere.

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The wrought iron straps, added to pull together the upper cross beam. Note how the pressing block has also split along its length, near the back of the photograph.

But it was the Industrial Revolution which spelt the end for the Norwich textile industry. Slow to catch on to the new methods, a huge blow was dealt when Michael Greenwood, a skilled Yorkshire weaver, was sent to spy on the manufacturers of Norwich in an early example of industrial espionage. He fathomed their secrets of weaving bombazines and crapes and introduced their methods to Halifax in 1819, but with one crucial difference – the Yorkshire fabrics were produced on power looms. The handloom weavers of Norwich could not compete and by the end of the 19th century the Norwich textile industry had almost died out.

Only more research from experts in the field will tell us the true history of this puzzling but impressive object.

 

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Norfolk Collections Centre – Deep Clean

November 2015

The Norfolk Collections Centre covers an area a little over 800m2 and provides us with approximately 3,645m3 of storage space. We store a vast array of different objects meaning the job of collections care is no simple task. To help meet the collections care needs of these objects, we have launched an annual deep clean, the first of which took place over five days in September.

We started where the need was greatest, the roller racking in Store 1. This predominantly houses large social history objects from the Museum of Norwich’s collection. We were fortunate to secure the assistance of Norfolk Museum Service’s Teaching Museum trainees who made up the bulk of our workforce. In turn the deep clean was set up as a training exercise which enabled participants to learn new skills and gain additional knowledge.

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Roller-racking in store 1

As each pallet load was brought down from the roller racking, the objects were condition assessed. Issues such as cleaning, repackaging, identification of surface dirt and pests and current suitability for pallet storage were addressed. In addition, everyone was made aware of the potential presence of hazardous materials in collections, such as asbestos or mercury.

Layers of dirt and dust, as well as being disfiguring, attract moisture and can encourage pest attack. Dust and dirt can also be abrasive and even acidic and can contribute to corrosion on metal surfaces. The longer it is allowed to remain on objects, the more bound to the surfaces and difficult to remove it can become. So careful cleaning of objects and even each pallet, is an important process of collections care.

Brushes and museum vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters were employed to remove the loose surface dust and debris. Where the dirt was more ingrained and needed a bit more persuasion, different grade brushes and/or use of aqueous or solvent cleaning were used. A conservator was on hand to evaluate and advise. The aim was not to clean objects up to display standard, but to remove the worst of the loose material and to take the opportunity to check for condition and deterioration.

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Teaching museum trainees; Morgan and Lawrence object cleaning letters from the main sign at the now defunct ‘Youngs Crayshay and Young’ brewery. 

Repacking some of the larger objects of irregular shape required some careful thought, and we had to be sure that each object was buffered to prevent abrasion and damage. When required, a packaging strapping machine was used to secure the base of more robust, heavy objects to their pallets. This is especially important when moving these larger objects, sometimes at height with a forklift.

By the end of the five days we had processed 40 loads (pallets) and cleaned over 200 individual objects. In addition documentation was improved— each object now has a photograph attached to its object record along with an accurate location.

This first deep clean was an incredibly valuable exercise enabling us to make a significant improvement to the long-term care of the collections. Its success is due to the hard work and enthusiasm of everybody involved. So a big thank you to all those that helped.

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A Journey from the Royal Hotel to Dereham Road

By Wayne Kett

We have these tram lines in our store, salvaged from the days when Norwich operated a tram service. This inspired me to write a brief history of Norwich’s tram network, however I soon discovered this has been more than adequately covered elsewhere.

Instead I thought it would be interesting to imagine a journey in one of Norwich’s trams, so for this blog I will attempt to recreate as accurately as possible one of the seven routes.

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2 Tram lines from the now defunct Norwich tram network

But first, a little background information:

  • Norwich’s tram network, operated by Norwich Electric Tramways Company opened on the 30th July 1900.
  • The tram network was extensive with 7 routes in total. Stretching as far as Mousehold Heath to the North, Trowse to the South, Earlham Road Cemetery to the West and then only as far as Norwich train station to the East.
  • After 35 years of operation, it closed on the 10th December 1935.
  • Its demise was the result of being purchased by the Eastern Omnibus Company, who bought the network simply to close it down and thus clear the way for their new bus service.

A tram journey through Norwich…..

The year was 1900, the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil was prime minister, Queen Victoria was still on the throne and it was long enough ago that nobody alive today was alive then.

Our journey starts at the Royal Hotel which sits at the top of Prince of Wales Road across the road from the Shirehall, then a court, now the home of Norfolk Museums Service. In 1900 the Royal Hotel was a new building, just 3 years old and already established as the hotel of choice for the good and great to stay, when visiting Norwich.

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The Royal Hotel (on the left) in 1905. It closed its doors as a hotel in the 1970’s

Next our tram travels down Bank Plain, and swings round onto St Andrew Street, passing St Andrews Hall on the right, and Suckling House on the left. Suckling House is the current home of Cinema City, in 1900 it was separated into several private residences that were in a state of disrepair.

As our tram passes along Charing Cross a glance to the left reveals Strangers Hall, a brand new folk museum opened to the public as of May 1900 by Leonard Bolingbroke, a local solicitor who saved the building from destruction.

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Strangers Hall, today

Many building were demolished or altered to make way for the new tram system. Norwich’s narrow, winding medieval streets were simply unsuitable for a mass transit system like a tram network. This is aptly demonstrated by the next segment of our tram journey from Charring Cross onto St Benedict’s Street.

The image below shows the approach to St Benedict’s Street just before the construction of the tram network.

The building in this image is the pub ‘The Three Pigeons’, demolished to make way for the tram network, this pub was re-built across the street and became the Hog In Armour (now the Mash Tun).

This next image shows the same view just a few years later. The difference is stark, the whole area has been opened to the sky, and the old, dark, narrow, cramped streets have given way to space, light and of course, trams.

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The image above shows our tram about to head down St Benedicts Street, we will pass the Vine Tavern on the left hand side. Were we to look towards our right we would see the site of Bullards, brewer of much of Norwich’s beer. Some of our fellow passengers would likely vacate the tram on their way to work at the brewery.

St Benedict’s Street now houses an eclectic mix of alternative shops, restaurants, venues and pubs. In 1900 it was rather more conventional, but still housed a vast array of business’s. Bear in mind that St Benedicts Street is just 500m long, then consider that we would pass a total of 14 pubs, 6 butchers and 3 tobacconists.

As we travel those short 500 meters we might notice Frank Kirby’s bicycle shop at number 5 St Benedict’s Street, Brett’s furniture shop at number 12 (opened in 1870 by my great, great, great uncle Jonathan Thomas Brett!). Number 19 was a musical instrument seller by the name of Cooke’s (they still have a shop on St Benedict’s), at number 56 was Hugh Manes umbrella repair shop, 63 was Edward Making, chemist and druggist. And at number 98 was William Burtles coffee rooms (14 pubs and only 1 coffee shop. How things have changed!)

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Number 92 – H. Read English & Foreign Fruiterers

As we neared the end of St Benedict’s Street and the end of our journey, we may have seen St Benedict’s Church, which was still a thriving local Church. It was of course destroyed beyond repair in World War Two, during the Baedeker raids that hit Norwich in April 1942.

As we venture onto Dereham Road, probably the biggest difference we would note between then and now, is the lack of cars. In 1900 fewer than 1% of the population has access to a motor car. Those not traveling by tram or by horse would likely be walking, the pavements were busier places in 1900!

Our journey reaches its end about half a mile along Dereham Road, just before Merton Road.

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The view back towards the city as our tram journey comes to an end

Footage of a tram journey in Norwich in 1902 from the East Anglian Film Archive

Whilst researching this blog I consulted Kelly’s Norfolk guide of 1900 which lists which shops, pubs and other businesses were operating on St Benedict’s Street in 1900. For anybody that may be interested, here is the complete list:

1 – Mapperley colliery company
2 – Vine Taven (PH)
3 – Joseph Crossfield & Sons soap manufacturers
4 – Alexandra (PH)
4 – Joshua Webster – Book retailer
5 – Frank Kirby – Bicycle dealer
6 – George Ashfield – Baker
7 – Herbert Mutimer – Dairyman
8 – Arthur Sulivan – Wholesale confectioner
9 – Lewis & Emmanuel Ecker – Outfitter
10 – Walter Cox – Provision dealer
11 – Frederick Fitt – Corn merchant
12 – John Brett – House furnisher (Jonathan Brett and sons)
13 – Albert Golding – House furnisher
14 – George William & Sons – Curriers, Lord Howe yard and shoe warehouse.
15 – John Brett – House furnisher
16 – Home & Colonial Store Ltd
17 – Issac Leverton – Picture frame maker
18 – John Yallop – Greengrocers
19 – Arthur William Cooke – Musical instrument seller
20 – Charles Hansell – Fish & Chip Shop
St Lawrence Church
21 – W Moore – Draper
22 – Mary Ann Mitchell – Greengrocers
23 – W Moore – Draper
24 – Arthur Loker – Hairdresser
25 – Arthur Gardinier – Tobacconist
26 – George Cooper – Dining rooms
27 – Robert Boast – Working jeweler
28 – Christopher Martins – Butcher
29 – Alice Sussams – Greengrocers
30 – Stead & Simpson Limited – Boot and shoe warehouse
31 – Joshua Calver – Baker
32 – Frederick Newby – Butcher
33 – Thomas Cooper – Pork butcher
34 – Prince of Wales (PH)
35 – Susannah Borking – Shopkeeper
St Margaret’s Church
36 – Saunders shoe manufacturers
37 – W Moore – Draper
38 – George Loynes – Greengrocers
39 – James Tate – Confectioner
40 – Charles Barnett – Draper and house furnisher
41 – Charles Lindsey – Pork butcher
43 – George Kidd – Tobacconist
45 – Henry Coldham – Pork butchers
46 – Three Kings (PH)
47 – Frederick Wiley, Greengrocers
48 – Benjamin Olley – Tinplate worker
49 – Daniel Drake – Mineral water manufacturer
49 – Queen of Hungary (PH)
50 – Annie Holland – Fishmonger
51 – Albert Farrow – Greengrocers
52-54 – Walter Mace – Boot and shoe manufacturer
53 – Maria Powell – Hairdresser
St Swithins Church (Closed)
55 – Curl Bros – Drapers
56 – Hugh Manes – Umbrella repair
57 – William Smith – Ironmonger
58 – Plough (PH)
59 – William Adams – Butchers
60 – Alfred Ketteringham – Greengrocers
61 – Danish Dairy Co
62 – William Robert Rose – Newsagents
63 – Edward Making – Chemist and druggist
64 – Margaret White – Fishmongers
65 – Stag (PH)
66 – Eliza Bird – Fruiterer
67 – Beehive (PH)
68 – W Hinds – Rope and twine manufacturers
69 – Colman & co ltd – Wine merchants
70 – Henry Sutherland – Newsagents
71 – The Crown (PH)
72 – George Douglas – Grindery dealer
73 – G Gamble – Pawnbroker and clothier
74 – George Blower – Marine store dealer
75 – Wallace King – Ironmonger
76 – Thomas Gooch – Tobacconist
77 – Barclays Bank
78 – 10 Bells (PH)
79 – Walter Nickalls – Fishmongers
81 – James Cowling – Butcher
80-82 – Scott & Cousins – Boot & Shoe Factory
83 – William Bilby – Hairdressers
84 – George Lawrence – Basket maker
85 – Robert Baldwin – Newsagents
86 – Cardinals Cap (PH)
87 – Valentine Luscombe Narracott – Baker
88 – Leach & Tooley – Decorating supplies
89 – Fountain (PH)
90 – Walter Browne – Lithographer
91 – Harcourts (PH)
92 – H. Read English & Foreign Fruiterers
St Benedicts Church
96 – Arthur Lemmon – Baker
98 – William Burtle Coffee Rooms
100 – Scott & Cousins – boot & Shoe Factory
102 – Thomas Dunmore – corn and flour merchant
104 – James Fletcher – confectioner
106 – White Lion (PH)
108 – John Palmer – Saddler
110 – Charles Pimm – Greengrocers
114 – Edgar Banger – Photographer

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The King of Prussia, the Rifle Volunteer & the Turkey Cock

By Wayne Kett

The thing I love most about pub names is the variety, whilst there are plenty of Red Lions (518 in the UK according to a 2011 survey) there are also the rather less common names like, Ribs of Beef (Norwich), the Jolly Taxpayer (Portsmouth) or my personal favourite The Bucket of Blood (Cornwall).

We have a fair selection of signs taken from inns and public houses across Norfolk in our collections, many of which are stored here at the Collections Centre. This got me thinking about pub names and stories behind them, so for this blog I decided to investigate.

The first use of pub signs was by the Romans, they hung bushes outside to indicate the sale of wine (vines being unavailable in Britain.) It is probable the pub name ‘The Bush’ has its origins here.

By the 12th century many inns had been set up to cater for weary travelers out on religious pilgrimage. For this reason pubs of this era tended to have religious names, some of which survive such as ‘Three Kings’ or ‘Cross Keys’. The pictures on the signs were often of saints or angels and one theory holds that these were copied from the stained glass windows of churches. Due to widespread illiteracy the images on pub signs were a universal language that could be comprehended by all.

In 1393 King Richard II passed a law that forced all pubs and inns to register a name and to have an accompanying sign, thus cementing the pub sign’s place in society.

The first big shift in pub names came with the reformation. Religious names fell into decline as pubs and inns were fearful about retaining names and imagery that could be linked to Catholicism. During this period names like ‘The Kings Head’ became popular, as a way of expressing support for the king.

Freed from the link with religious pilgrimage pub names came to reflect every aspect of the world around them. Some were named after royalty ‘Prince of Wales’, famous heroes ‘Lord Nelson’, the predominant occupation of its customers ‘The Bricklayers Arms’, or even a description of the building itself like the Crocked House in Staffordshire.

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The aptly named ‘Crocked House’

Later as the industrial revolution arrived, pubs came to reflect this change with names like ‘The Railway’ or ‘The Station’ becoming popular.

Here are some of the signs we have in our collection along with a little information about them:

Rifle Volunteer

The Rifle Volunteer was a Lacon’s pub on Blackfriars Road in Great Yarmouth. It closed in 1974, the building has since been demolished and has been replaced with housing. The pub was just a few yards from our very own Time & Tide Museum, which in case you are unaware is housed in a building that was a herring curing works until 1988. The Rifle Volunteer would perhaps have been a popular drinking haunt for workers at the herring works.

The pub is clearly named after the Great Yarmouth Rifle Volunteer Corps. The Rifle Volunteers were established following a town meeting in Yarmouth in 1859 attended by the good and great of the town including Sir Edmund Lacon the town’s MP and owner of Lacon’s brewery.

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Left; Rifle Volunteer sign from the 1920’s, Right; Rifle Volunteer sign from the 1970’s

We actually have two signs for the Rifle Volunteer. I can’t help but feel a little more effort was put into the 1920’s sign.

Cock Inn

This is a 20th century sign for the now closed Cock Inn, Botesdale.

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Interestingly many pubs used their names to indicate the type of entertainment on offer, pubs with ‘Cock’ in the title probably put on cock fighting events for their customers.

King of Prussia

The first mention of a pub called the King of Prussia on Ipswich Road in Norwich was in 1760, over the years its name change briefly to Prussia Gardens and then to the Tea Gardens, but seems to have reverted back to the King of Prussia. It finally ceased to be the King of Prussia in 1914 after a group of soldiers, presumably as a show of patriotism removed the sign and re-named it the King George. Interestingly there was a pub in Ringland called the King of Prussia and this too was renamed following the outbreak of the first world war (The Union Jack Pub).

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I have been unable to shed any light on why the pub would have been called the King of Prussia, but it is not alone, a quick google search indicates that many public houses across the UK still bear this name.

I can however speculate on which Prussian king? Perhaps Frederick II (known as Frederick the Great), his reign 1740 – 1786 coincides with the earliest mention of the pub. Frederick is best known for increasing both the physical size and military might of Prussia. He was also an advocate of enlightenment thinking and befriended French philosopher Voltaire.

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Frederick II, King of Prussia 1740 – 1786

The Turkey Cock

The Turkey Cock Inn was on the corner of Elm Hill and Wensum Street, the pub closed in 1962, but the building remains open as a cafe.

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The Turkey Cock (date unknown)

The sign unlike the others in our collection is actually carved as well as being painted and gilded, and dates from around 1900. If you look at the image above you should be able to spot the sign under the first floor window.

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Sign for the Turkey Cock Inn (Currently on display at the Museum of Norwich)

Turkey cock is the name given to male Turkeys. This suggests the pub may have once offered turkey fights! as entertainment for its patrons.

The Godolphin Arabian

This is the oldest of our pub signs dating to 1782. However I can find no mention of a pub with this name anywhere in Norfolk. There were however three pubs in Norwich called ‘Arabian Horse’, one on Oak Street, one on Magdalen Street and on in Lakenham, all of which have closed long ago.

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This sign is on display at Strangers Hall

The sign is inscribed ‘Beevors Finest Nog’. Nog being a popular Norfolk dark ale (still brewed today, try Woodfordes Norfolk Nog).

Beevors refers to a brewery run by James Beevor, which was bought out by John Patteson in 1793 (he later jointly formed the Steward & Patteson brewery.)

Whilst I cannot be sure exactly which pub this sign is from, I do know that it is indicative of a pub with a connection to horse racing. The Godolphin Arabian was one of the stallions used to found the modern thoroughbred racing stock.

The Shoemaker

This Earlham based Bullards pub was purpose built in the 1950s to serve a new housing estate built in the area, it did not last long however closing in 2010 with the building demolished in 2012.

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Its name is obviously a reference to the large shoe manufacturing industry in Norwich, which in the 1950s was still going strong.

The Golden Star

This is from the Golden Star on Duke Street in Norwich (still open Golden Star) There are records of a pub being on this site since 1865.

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Originally the use of star in a pubs name had religious connotations representing the star of Bethlehem.

What is your local pub called and do you know the significance of its name?

I must credit this encyclopedia of Norfolk pubs for lots of my information: norfolkpubs.co.uk

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The Big Freeze

News of a woodworm infestation in a museum store is enough to send chills through anyone who works with collections. Lauren Ephithite, Curatorial Assistant at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse tells us about how she dealt with it this winter.

Woodworm is a pesky museum pest which likes to munch on things like wood and willow. In our furniture store we have lots of chairs, wardrobes, benches, clocks and baskets. All things that woodworm like to eat. So when we discovered the pests we had to act quickly to save the collections.

It was essential that we froze all items in the store to prevent the spread of woodworm and halt any damage. We cleaned each object, made sure it was suitable to be frozen and then wrapped it in acid free tissue paper and polythene. We transported the objects to the large freezer at the Norfolk Collections Centre, to be frozen at -30 degrees.

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Chairs wrapped in acid-free and polythene ready to be frozen

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Objects loaded into our freezer

We didn’t want to put these objects straight back in the store, to potentially get infested again. Instead, we made the most of being closed to the public through the winter and utilised the space in the Collections Gallery and First Farmers Gallery to store the items. When the store was completely empty we thoroughly cleaned the room and shelving. Then the race was on to move the objects out of display areas in time for February Half Term.

Not only were we stopping pest damage. We took this opportunity to photograph every item, to improve how they were being stored and to have accurate locations on the Modes database. We also took the time to review our collections, make rationalisation decisions, accessioning objects, writing statement of significances and a collections level description.

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Before

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After

We now know much more about our collections. Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse has a very important collection of vernacular or common furniture. Ordinary furniture is unusual to be in a museum collection. Many pieces have featured in important exhibitions on this topic. Most are locally made and were used by local people.

We couldn’t have done all this work without our fantastic team of Collections Volunteers. From November to February we cleaned, photographed, wrapped and froze almost 400 objects. It was a great team effort and we were supported by Dave Savage, Museum Technician, David Harvey, Conservator and everyone at Gressenhall from the Front of House team and the Learning Team.

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Have a pest infestation of your own? We can help, our freezer is available to hire. Contact Norfolk Museums Conservation and Design Services for more details.

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