North Norfolk Stories: Using archival records at Felbrigg Hall

From September 2015-March 2016 The Norfolk Record Office Education and Outreach team worked with 9 primary school groups as part of the North Norfolk Stories Project coordinated by Museums Norfolk.

Workshops that took place at the Norfolk Record Office included a chance to look at either railway or maritime history, using original documents, and both a trade directory and census return session tailored to the school’s village. More about our workshop with Holt Primary School can be read here.

We were also fortunate to collaborate with the National Trust at Felbrigg Hall for two workshops in March. Students took part in a carousel of activities at Felbrigg Hall, which were led by staff and volunteers from the Norfolk Record Office and the National Trust.  This enabled students to learn about family life at Felbrigg Hall through documents held at the Norfolk Record Office whilst also learning about furniture and objects on display at Felbrigg.


National Trust Volunteer, Elizabeth leading students through Felbrigg Hall.

First the students used a census return from 1871 to find out about the Ketton family who lived at Felbrigg and the duties of servants who worked at the hall. They learned how to construct a family tree and were able to compare and contrast a rich and poor family living in Felbrigg in 1871. Then through a floor plan provided by the National Trust they were able to identify the rooms where people on the census would have worked, such as Maria Vincent who worked in the Housekeeper’s Room.


Students from Holt Primary School matching vocabulary from an inventory of Felbrigg Hall to its meaning.

We then moved on to look at an inventory of Felbrigg Hall in 1872. There was lots of new vocabulary to learn as students discovered the variety of rooms at Felbrigg including the Scullery and Billiard room as well as items of furniture such as the bidet and straw palliasse.


A page from the 1872 inventory of Felbrigg Hall. Norfolk Record Office catalogue number: WKC 6/474.

The collaboration provided a great opportunity for students to use archive material in its original setting as the National Trust learning team designed their tour and activities to match the vocabulary the students learned from the inventory. After the workshops had finished the Education and Outreach team were treated to a tour from the National Trust’s expert volunteer Elizabeth, who had been on hand to help to answer students’ questions throughout the day.

The school workshops organised by the Norfolk Record Office for the North Norfolk Stories Project have now finished, but the project continues with the North Norfolk Stories Festival which runs from Thursday 12 May – Saturday 14 May. After attending the Festival Launch last week, the Education and Outreach Team are looking forward to attending some of the events and welcoming the pop up exhibition, created by young volunteers on the project, to the Norfolk Record Office when it tours here in June.


Skills For The Future Trainee, Lizzie and UEA student, Charlotte enjoying the collection of the Henry Blogg Museum at the North Norfolk Stories Festival Launch.

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3 Responses to North Norfolk Stories: Using archival records at Felbrigg Hall

  1. Michael Begley says:

    It gave me great pleasure to read about this impressive piece of work – so well planned and executed, and the model of what work with archives and young people can be. Congratulations to the pupils and to all the staff involved.


  2. Thank you for your comments Michael, we appreciate your support and thoroughly enjoyed working on the North Norfolk Stories project.


  3. Pingback: Top ten things about being a Transforming Archives Trainee | Norfolk Record Office

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