How a Second World War air raid caused the closure of a Norfolk School: The accounts of Amy Buckley, Head Teacher

On the night of 26 – 27 June 1942, St Mark’s Primary and Infants’ School on Hall Road, Norwich was bombed and destroyed during a Second World War air raid. The school’s temporary log book (NRO, N/ED 1/86), written by Head Teacher Amy Buckley, covers the month following the bombing, to its closure in July of the same year.

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Helping community archives during the pandemic: The Norfolk Record Office’s ‘Community Archives’ project

Figure 1 Community archives collect local and social history, such as these family photographs.

Community Archives: Skills, Support and Sustainability (CAS³) is a National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported project that began in March 2020 and is due to run until March 2022. As its name suggests, the goals of this project are to:

  • provide training to Norfolk’s community archive and heritage groups that allows them to develop the skills used by professional archivists.
  • give the groups professional support and resources for their collections and the projects they are working on.

  • help the groups preserve their collections for the future and make them accessible on an ongoing basis.
  •  increase the groups’ confidence with regards to collecting, managing and exhibiting archive material.
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She was ‘a natural, a poor fool and ideot …void of reason or sense’: A harsh judgement on Margaret Cooper of Snetterton

Recent indexing work at the NRO on witness depositions from the bishop of Norwich’s consistory court has uncovered many stories relating to everyday life from the 16th to 18th centuries in both Norfolk and Suffolk (for the ancient Diocese of Norwich covered both counties). Moreover, these narratives often concern and record individuals whose poverty or transience usually preclude them from mention in other surviving records of those times.

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Holocaust Memorial Day

January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day, a day to reflect upon the terrible injustices of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, and to remember the millions of people whose lives were taken from them.

In 1986, Norwich born James Gosling was interviewed as part of an oral history project that aimed to capture the memories of Norwich residents. During his interviews, Mr Gosling shared his first-hand experiences of assisting with the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, a concentration camp in northern Germany.

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Depositions: Uncovering the lives of ordinary Norfolk people through church court records

Archivists at the NRO have, among other projects, spent some time over the lockdown months of summer, indexing the contents of a representative sample of witness deposition books from Norwich Diocese, dating from the 16th-18th centuries (our reference, DN/DEP). Very little indexing work had previously been expended on this core record series from the bishop’s consistory court, but, as our recent work has shown, the stories that emerge cover many aspects of ordinary life in Norfolk and Suffolk (for the ancient Diocese of Norwich covered both counties).

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St Andrew’s County Asylum portrayed in the Cartoons of George Yates

Users familiar with the records of St Andrew’s, the County asylum, may be interested to know about a new collection of records that show a side to the hospital not typically seen in the official records. George Yates, attendant and bandleader at St Andrew’s, was also a talented cartoonist and produced numerous drawings illustrating his time at the hospital (ACC 2019/146). These were kindly donated to the NRO by George’s family and will be of special interest to those with ancestors who worked at the hospital in the early part of the twentieth century.

St Andrew’s cricket ground. NRO, ACC 2019/146
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A Variety of Ways to Celebrate Christmas: Exploring the many Christmases of Hilda Zigomala

Those of you who have read out blog posts in the past, will probably remember we have mentioned the journals of Hilda Zigomala many times before. A collection of 15 volumes which chronicles her life from getting married to Jack in January 1889 to the death of her only child, John in 1919. As we turn to celebrating Christmas it seemed like a nice time to look back through the journals again to see how a wealthy family at the turn of the 19th century celebrated the festive period. Despite the fact her journals begin during the Reign of Queen Victoria, Hilda’s Christmases are not always what we imagine as a typical Victorian Christmas.

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Stepping Back In Time

In the beginning

When I first started doing my family history many years ago, I wasn’t surprised to find that most of my ancestors had gravitated to the heavily-industrialised area of Salford and then to the Bolton area of Lancashire where I was born. It was only many years later that I discovered I had links with largely rural Norfolk. The story of how I discovered this link reads like a detective story.

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