WINTER 2022/3

Behind the Scenes Tour

Group looking finding out about conservation techniques


School Holiday Activities

All of our school holiday activities include a chance to see some documents from the archives along with a craft activity to make and take home.

Each session runs for 90 minutes.

Terrific Tudors

Tudor people. Artwork by Helen Hoyte

In-person event

£3.50 per child. Adults free, but must book a space.

Aimed at primary school-age children (under 8s must be accompanied by an adult).

Find out what Tudor men and women wore by trying on a Tudor costume, having a look at a 500 year old inventory and have a go at virtual reality.

Create your own Tudor peg and paper dolls, using a range of materials to clothe them, ready for the final event in which they will be displayed together as a crowd to watch Queen Elizabeth I’s progress as she travels through Norfolk.

Please book using the link below. Booking opens Monday 16 January 2023.

Deciphering Old Handwriting

In person event

£60 per person for a 6 week course

Learn how to read Tudor and Stuart writing. Led by Archivist, Tom Townsend, who has over 30 years experience of teaching palaeography. Over the course of 6 weeks, Tom will take you through a range of different handwriting styles, such as the Secretary, Court and Mixed hands and the documents surviving in local and regional archive repositories. During each session you will have the chance to practice what you have learnt.

All participants will receive a resource booklet recapping what they have learnt.

The course is set into 6 weekly sessions. Each session lasts for 75 minutes.

Please book using the link below

Adult Craft

Christmas Decorations

Making origami star decorations

In person event

£10 per person

Join us for a festive morning of craft and company to get you ready for the Christmas period. See how the Victorians changed the shape of Christmas in this country and discover some of the more unusual objects on their Christmas Cards before trying your hand at creating origami stars, ribbon Christmas tree decorations, crackers, a large star wall hanging, and a festive wreath.

All materials will be provided along with festive tunes and mince pies.

This session runs for 2 hours

Please book using the link below

Online event

Learn how to make 3 of the items listed above; a cracker, origami star decoration and ribbon Christmas tree decoration. Staff will demonstrate the techniques live, so you can either craft along at home, or just watch us ready to try for yourself later.

A full list of materials required will be provided in advance.

This session runs for 1 hour

Please book using the link below

Introduction to Research Blogging

Practising using the online catalogues

In person event

Ever wondered how you become a Norfolk Record Office research blogger. Our new bloggers start around the beginning of each year and have until December to research and write their own blog post. This session gives you an introduction to our blog, training on how to research Norfolk’s archives and information about writing for an audience. Staff will be on hand for the rest of the day to allow you to make a start on your blog research in the searchroom.

This session lasts for 90 minutes

Once you sign up you will receive a photography permit which lasts for the remainder of the year.

In order to sign up as one of our 2023 bloggers you will need:

  • Access to a computer or tablet
  • Access to a camera (mobile phone cameras are fine)
  • To be willing to write at least one blog post during 2023

Please book using the link below

History Talks

We have a number of guest speakers talking about their own area of expertise or research.

Talks last between 30-45 minutes with additional time for questions at the end.

Lorina Bulwer- Inconvenient Woman

Extract of the sampler created by Lorina Bulwer

By Dolly Sen

Wednesday 16 November, 1pm

Dolly Sen, author of the pamphlet Lorina Bulwer published Red Herring Press, will talk about Lorina Bulwer, a needleworker incarcerated in a Victorian lunatic ward of Great Yarmouth workhouse. Her embroideries of rage, scorn and gossip were her protest and now are important pieces of history and art. Find out more about her life, her legacy, and mental health and art. 

Dolly’s pamphlet will be available to buy at £2 each. 

Please book using the links below

The Days of the Norwich Trams: Transforming Streets, Transforming Lives

Trams on Gentleman’s Walk, Norwich. Image courtesy of Picture Norfolk

By Frances and Michael Holmes

Wednesday 7 December, 1pm

In 1900 trams arrived on Norwich’s streets. They were greeted with awe as a technological wonder that not only revolutionised travel but also radically changed the City.

Using a combination of images, archive material and contemporary accounts Frances & Michael Holmes will illustrate that story of the trams is about so much more than a vehicle – It is the story of how that vehicle transformed our city.

Frances and Michael’s books will be available to buy after the event.

Booking required, please use the links below

The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster

Book cover for The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874

By Phyllida Scrivens

Wednesday 25 January, 1pm

At Norwich Station on 10 September 1874, a momentary misunderstanding between the Night Inspector and young Telegraph Clerk resulted in an inevitable head-on collision. The residents of the picturesque riverside village of Thorpe-Next-Norwich were shocked by a ‘deafening peal of thunder’, sending them running through the driving rain towards a scene of destruction. Every class of Victorian society was travelling that night, including ex-soldiers, landowners, doctors, domestic servants and a beautiful heiress. Using extensive research, Phyllida Scrivens pays tribute to the 28 men, women and children who died.

Phyllida’s books will be available to buy after the event.

Booking required, please use the links below

Great Fire of Norwich

Fighting the fire

By Carole Rawcliffe

Wednesday 8 February, 1pm

In 1508 at least one major conflagration – if not two – ripped through the heart of Norwich, causing damage that still blighted the landscape thirty years later and inflicting widespread hardship. According to some estimates, it was the worst disaster in Early Modern England after the Great Fire of London in 1666, yet it remains one the most neglected events in Norwich’s history, having been consistently misdated to 1507.  Drawing on archaeological evidence and sources in the NRO, this talk examines the extent of the damage and the challenge faced by the authorities as they sought to rebuild a safer city.

Booking required, please use the links below

Research Workshops

We have a number of research workshops to enable you to get started or continue with your research. Workshops are suitable for anyone carrying out research into people or places within England and Wales. Advice can occasionally be given on documents created in Scotland, and Northern Ireland too.

Each workshop includes:

  • Information on how to use a number of sources for your research
  • A chance to ask questions
  • A workbook containing workshop notes and a practical activity
  • A chance to view some of our Website Tutorials explaining how to use various websites to locate and access the documents mentioned (these are also available via our YouTube channel).

Each session lasts 1 hour

Introduction to Family History

Online event

Find out how to use census records, civil registration, and parish registers to really get started tracing your family tree.

Please book using the link below

Advanced Family History

Muriel Parker’s Wedding

Online event

This session is aimed at anyone who has already started their family history research but is unsure how to take it further. We show you have to use electoral registers, marriage licence bonds and tithe documents.

Please book using the link below

Introduction to House History

Front elevation of a semi-detached house

Online event

Find out how to trace the history of the fabric of your building using historical and modern maps before using census returns, trade directories, and wills to find out about the previous owners and occupiers of your property.

Please book using the link below

Tracing First World War Ancestors

Looking through documents

Online event

If you have found that your ancestors were in the military, this session is for you. We will look at how to access and use the census, absent voter lists, medal cards and attestation papers.

Please book using the link below

Quick Guides

Each of our Quick Guides a looks closely at an individual set of documents or research topic.

Each session lasts between 30-45 minutes

Manor Court Records

Map of the manor of Oxborough, 1725

Online event

Manor records are a key source for tracing house history, and can help in family history too.  Frank Meeres explains how they work and how you can start using this undervalued resource.

Please book using the link below

Business Records

Making shoes at Shorten and Armes

Online event

This session looks at different types of businesses in Norfolk, including large organisations, smaller family-run businesses and farming. We explain some of the different types of records you may come across and how to go about using them in your research.

Please book using the link below

Mindful Mondays

Group colouring in

Take time out to colour in some (copies of) pencil drawings from our archives.

Online event

All the colouring in sheets are emailed to you in advance, you just need to bring the colouring pencils and a cup of tea!

Feel free to drop in and out at any point during the session.

This session lasts for 45 minutes

Please book using the link below

Around the World in 80 Documents

Norfolk’s archives showcase much more than just life in Norfolk. In this series we ask you to choose your favourites. Before the session we will be asking members of the public to suggest documents via our social media channels. These documents will be highlighted, along with some of our own choices, during the session before putting them to a vote to decide on which documents are included in an online exhibition.

Each session will last up to an hour


Extract from Hilda Zigomala’s Journal

Online event

Find out life for Norfolk’s citizens on the Grand Tour, from their journeys, to where they stayed and what they explored. Find out what life was like for natives to Norfolk stationed in Europe during the First World War.

Please book using the link below


Men from the 44th Bomb Group of the United States Army Air Force in Libya

Online event

Find out about Norfolk’s citizens involvement in Africa. Discover what happened during Lord Armhurst’s quest for Egyptian gold, hear about Norfolk men involved in the Boer War. Find out about digging for diamonds in South Africa and see some of the photographs showing the preparations made by United States Army Air Force men stationed in Libya in before Operation Tidal Wave to destroy oil refineries in Ploesti.

Please book using the link below

Reading from the Archives


Love letter found in a sewing machine

Online event

In honour of Valentines Day, join us to listen to a wide range of documents connected to relationships, from accounts of secret marriages, bastardy examinations, letters from the front and even divorce cases.

This session will last around 30 minutes

Please book using the link below

Outrage*us Archives

In person and online event

Tuesday 22 November, 2pm

They can’t write that, can they? Our staff have been busy collecting distasteful names, insulting comments and shocking court cases from our archives especially for this session. Discover the name of Lady Jane Buttes 16th-century (presumably useless) horse, and the Vicar of Middleton’s derogatory terms for some of his congregation. This session is designed to be truly outrageous.

There will be a display of documents at the end for anyone visiting in person.

Warning- session will include some swearing.

This session will last around 1 hour

Please book using the links below

Reminiscence session

Online event

Join us for some festival tales from our sound archives. Find out about family traditions, stocking fillers and songs from childhood.

This session lasts around 45 minutes

Please book using the link below