Around the World in 80 Documents – Your Choice!

Norfolk’s archives showcase much more than just life in Norfolk.

From May 2022 to February 2023, Norfolk Record Office has been on a virtual journey around the world guided by members of the public.

Over five sessions we have looked at 80 documents representing Australia and Antarctica, Asia and the Arctic, North America, Europe, and Africa.  The 80 documents were a combination of suggestions received via social media and staff choices, they were divided into sections e.g. Through the Post, Drawings and Plans, Travel Diaries.  During each online session, the documents were discussed, and each section voted on and the top suggestions selected for this online exhibition.

You can scroll through the documents selected for each session by using the arrows on each side of the images, the context of each image is given below.

Australia and Antarctica


NRO, ACC 1997/146/67/7

Photograph from about 1950 which shows one of the Boulton and Paul buildings.

Demonstrating early ‘photoshop’ techniques, tidying up the exterior of the hut, for advertising purposes.

You can find find out more about the history of Boulton and Paul and Conserving Norwich’s Antarctic Heritage

Australia – Convicts

NRO, NEV 9/18, 590×2

This photograph is from a collection of papers of Edward Henderson who as appointed Freemantle’s first Comptroller-General of Convicts. He travelled to Western Australia with the first convicts on board the Scindian, arriving on 1 June 1850. He found the colony completely unprepared for the convicts, lacking even a jail large enough to house them. Henderson secured lodging for the convicts at a warehouse  He is described as “a kindly and just man, moderate and understanding, opposed to the harsher forms of discipline. He thought that flogging as a punishment did more harm than good, and might be abolished except in rare cases, and that putting men in chains was useless and aggravating.”

Australia – Emigration

NRO, PD 684/86

This document is from the Parish Records of Great Duham, kept by the Overseers of the Poor.

These papers concern the emigration of paupers to Canada and also includes a list of those that applied to emigrate.

Australian Life

NRO, ETN 4/2/38

This panorama of Sydney Harbour is from the papers created and collected by George Clayton Eaton from Frederick Cubitt.

Asia and the Arctic


NRO, WMH 3/1/D4/1

This watercolour is from a collection of papers and corresondence of the Arctic voyages of Samuel Gurney Cresswell. The album covers 1834-1858 and contains 59 mounted drawing and one engraved print. Thirty of the drawings, plus the print, were published as monochrome illustrations in ‘War, Ice and Piracy. The remarkable Career of a Victorian Sailor. The Journals and Letters of Samuel Gurney Cresswell’, ed. Dominick Harrod (London, 2000).

Asia – Tourism

NRO, MC 233/7

From the diary of V Buxton 1886-87. Begins 24 October 1886 with journey from Bologna to Brindisi; then on board the ‘Mongolia’ to Bombay arriving 8 November; then tour of India including caves at Ellora, Hyderabad, Agra, Amritzar, Peshawar, Lahore, Jeypore, return to England, 20 January 1887. The sketch is described as the Hindu window at the Kootub (aka Qutub). The Qutub Minar, also spelled as Qutb Minar and Qutab Minar, is a minaret, which lies at the site of Delhi’s oldest fortified city, Lai Kot.

Asia – Travelling

NRO, MC 2147/1

These are the memoirs of Robert Nunn’s wartime expperiences in the RAF 1941-5.

Nunn describes his training and work in England, his voyage to Bombay and the journeys he made across India and then to Burma, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. He writes about the places he saw and relates many of his experiences. These include his varied billets; victory celebrations in Calcutta after the Japanese surrender; visiting a Hindu temple in Madurai, India; the Shwe-dagon Pagoda and the Royal Lakes in Burma; attending a Gracie Fields concert in Rangoon; building a boat from a Japanese seaplane float in Singapore; free time in Singapore city and Jakarta; the situation in Indonesia and the local people whom he met there.
Includes photocopies of Robert Nunn’s RAF service record and photocopies of photographs of Nunn 1942, 1946; Nunn and friends at RAF Tengah in Singapore 1945; Nunn with friends on the seaplane float boat in Singapore 1945-1946; Dutch headquarters and a street in Jakarta 1946; Maxwell Towers Girls’ School, Kuala Lumpur, where Nunn was billeted; and the char wagon at RAF Kuala Lumpur 1946. With maps showing the route travelled by Nunn in the Far East and excerpts from three published memoirs of the war in India and Indonesia.

Asia – Trade

NRO, MC 150/9

Howes family papers of Morningthorpe, dated 1753 and is an account of goods brought from the East Indies

North America

Emigration and Population

NRO, PD 684/86

From the parish records of Great Dunham, Overseers of the Poor, this account from 1836 show the money paid for the emigration of paupers to America by way of Yarmouth. It includes the coach fares, food and drink and provisions that were bought for the sea voyage.

Maps and Plans

NRO, FEL 1053

This 1743 map in the Fellowes of Shotesham collections shows a map of the colony of Georgia, showing names of rivers and settlements.

Through the Post

NRO, PSC 156

This sketch and watercolour were included in a letter dated 10 August 1861 in a letter from Canada to S C Campbell of Weasenham St Peter. The letter and drawing say the box sleigh is the ‘easiest sleigh to make’.

Travel Diaries

NRO, MC 3139/4 and 24

In 1940, aged 13, Marion Cropley was evacuated to Canada by the Children’s Overseas Reception Board (CORB). She sailed from Glasgow on board the SS Duchess of York on 10 August, arriving in Halifax on 19 August. After a few weeks in Toronto, she was sent to stay with Mr and Mrs Frederick Excell at the town of Niagara Falls in Ontario, and remained with them for the duration of the Second World War. She attended Stamford Collegiate Vocational Institute at Niagara Falls, graduating in 1942, and continued at the college, taking a commercial course of typing, shorthand and book keeping, from which she graduated the following year. In March 1943 she began work in the office of the Dominion Chain Company, where she worked until she left Canada. She returned to Norwich in August 1945, sailing from Quebec City on the SS Pasteur. In Norwich, she found work with National Employers’ Mutual.


Through the Post

NRO, MC 2015/11-12

The Patteson Papers include letters to and from John Patteson as he travelled through Holland, Germany,Switzerland, Italy and France betweek April 1778 and November 1779. The majority of the letters are between John Patteson and his mother Martha. Described as Georgian Facebook by one of our participants.

Travel Diaries and Journals

NRO, MC 2738/10

Journals of Hilda Zigomala.

Born on 29 July 1869, one of the daughters of Charles North and Augusta, née Keppel, of Rougham Hall. Married Major Pandia John Zigomala (1862-1933) of the 19th Hussars cavalry regiment at Rougham on 16 January 1889.

First journal was a wedding gift. Combined journals and albums of photographs, sketches (mainly in colour), cuttings and memorabilia, begins with her marriage to 1889-1913 and 1916-1920. Subjects covered include domestic and family life, wider family celebrations and events, social life (balls and parties, opera and drama at London theatres and attendance at major public events, such as the opening of Parliament), country pursuits (riding, horse-racing, hunting, shooting and fishing) and other leisure activities (painting, drawing, photography, golf, tennis, croquet), pets, gardening, travel, cycling (from 1895), motoring, army life in England and abroad.
One volume, number 14, is missing from the series. The last volume, numbered 15, ends with the death of Mrs Zigomala’s son in 1919.


NRO, KIM 7/6/1-11

Eleven household expense account books of Lord Wodehouse while in St Petersburg, 1856-1858. John Wodehouse was appointed Minister in Plenipotentiary to Russia 1856-1858, period of these volumes.

This is written in ‘Thomas Pilgrim’s book’, who it seems accompanied Lord Wodehouse. Another book from the collection made reference to ‘Tea for Thomas and I’.

This page covers 4 August 1857 – 6 February 1858, includes fares for luggage, carriage and boats. Also troika – sleigh pulled by horses. Wages for Thomas Pilgrim for 3 months, £16, 5s (equivalent to £960 on TNA currency convertor). Also included boxes at the circus and a French play. Cards and markers (presumably for gambling). black gloves, black cape, and finally for a man bringing bear, worth 4 roubles. We do not know what the poor bear was doing, perhaps dancing or guests. Individual amounts are recorded in roubles but totals also given in £/S/d.

Drawings and Plans

NRO, SO 230/5/1

This document is from the deposit of the Norfolk and Norwich Novi Sad Association. Norwich is twinned with Novi Sad, Serbia.

During the 1960s a scheme was developed which twinned 12 English cities, including Norwich, with the then Yugoslavian towns. Norwich was paired with Novi Sad, meaning New Garden, capital of the Vojvodina province. Part of the impetus for the twinning programme was the central government’s policy at that time, which aimed to keep Yugoslavia oriented towards Western Europe rather than Russia and the East.

This image of Novi Sad is by Dorde Tabacovic, c 1972. Dorde Tabacovic was born in Arad in 1897. He studied at the Faculty of Technical Sciences (department of architecture) in Budapest and graduated in Belgrade. On completing his studies, Tabacovic specialised in painting pictures of Vojvodina, particularly Novi Sad, and art history. He also taught fine art in Vojvodina, worked as a book designer, interior decorator and scenographer. He died in 1971.


NRO, NRS 21141

Letters Patent of Elizabeth I: Grant of Grammar School in Redgrave (Suffolk) to be called the Free Grammar School of Sir Nicholas Bacon. 28 Jul 1561. A portion of the seal survives


War and the Military

NRO, PD 219/187

This supplement from the Norfolk Chronicle dated 14 July 1900 is from the East Harling parish deposit. It is a list of Norfolk men who were serving in South Africa in 1900.

Through the Post

NRO, MC 1456/1

Letter dated 27 January 1901 from Fred Andrews in South Africa to his mother, Mrs S.J. Andrews, Manor Farm, Pulham Market. The letter says he is sending handkerchieves and Kruger sovereigns. The letter has a unique cloth envelope.

Catalogues and photographs

NRO, ACC 1997/146/44/8

Boulton and Paul of Norwich Sanatoria and Hospitals catalogue. It describes how 150 hospital buildings were built in South Africa during the Boer War.


MC 650/2

Bank orders from National Bank of South Africa Ltd., St George’s Street, Cape Town, for £30, £60, £100 and £55, payable to Mrs Harriet Hartley and to Samuel Jacob Webster at National Bank of South Africa Ltd., Circus Place, London Wall, and at London City and Midland Bank Ltd., Bradford.

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NR1 2DQ 


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