The Norwich Bread Riot of 1766

If you heard about bread riots in the 18th century your mind might go to France, where the peasants waged war against the upper classes in order to simply be able to afford food. However, these images may be closer to home than you might think.

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‘The beginning of the end’, Norfolk’s textile industry in decline

In 1769, one of Norwich’s largest textile firms went bankrupt. Although abrupt, the downfall of Stannard & Taylor was, as their successors’ financial records indicate, symptomatic of wider changes that marked the beginning of Norfolk’s slow, drawn-out commercial and industrial decline. As such, the wealth of records catalogued under NRO, BR 211 show the impact these changes had on local textile manufacturers – a process which, due to this business’ predominance, would ultimately dethrone Norfolk’s long-standing reputation as the ‘second wealthiest’ county in England. Continue reading

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A brief insight into the history of Team Lotus

Formula One has always been, in my opinion, an incredibly exciting sport and delving into archives relating to the Norfolk born Team Lotus, the sister company of Lotus Cars, was equally as interesting. Setting out on what may be an impossible task, this blog aims to give readers a brief insight into the Lotus Formula One team’s history. The documents which were available to look at, (NRO, AUD 1/1/490), begin at the peak of Lotus’ success in the years where drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet were part of the team.

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The ‘Lonely Sentinel’ of Eccles juxta Mare is Finally Lost to the Sea

This January marks the 125th anniversary of the destruction of the steeple of the church of Eccles St. Mary next the Sea, which was toppled by a tremendous Nor’Westerly storm on 23 January 1895. The steeple, comprising a basal round tower and octagonal belfry, had stood by the foreshore since the church itself was dismantled in 1571 following a series of devastating storms in the previous year. Evidence for this comes from a Deed of Union dated January 1571 contained in Tanner’s Index held by Norfolk Record Office (NRO, DN/REG 31) which states that,

….’ the said Church of Eccles shall be from hensforth aswell by the Authority of us and every of us united annexed and consolidated for evermore to the Church of Hempsted…’

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Norfolk’s Christmas Village

The small village of Thursford in Norfolk is well known for two things. Its steam museum contains a vast collection of traction engines and elaborate carnival organs, as well as two currently operating theme park attractions. One of these is the world’s only working gondola merry go round, designed by Frederick Savage who was known for popularising the carousel. A second thing Thursford is known to be famous for, is its Christmas Spectacular shows. These take place around the holiday season and attract visitors from across the country, many of whom have travelled from afar via coach. The show plays host to a variety of talented performers including musicians, singers and dancers, all dressed in a wide array of bright and colourful costumes that require hundreds of metres of cloth. The Christmas Spectacular adopts the aesthetic of a Victorian Christmas village, reminiscent to something straight out of a Dickens novel.

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Working as historians: new and revised school workshops

The Autumn 2019 term has been a busy one at the Norfolk Record Office with the Education and Outreach team delivering workshops at The Archive Centre and in schools. As well as delivering our popular Second World War workshops for KS2, we have supported both primary and secondary schools to research the history of their local area and trialled our revised ‘Working as an Historian’ workshop which explores the different skills historians need and how these are used to look after archives.

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Meet the team: ‘Unlocking Our Sound Heritage’, East of England Hub

‘Unlocking Our Sound Heritage’ (UOSH) is a five-year UK-wide partnership project led by the British Library that will help save the nation’s sounds and open them up to everyone.

Across the country, over 100,000 historical sound recordings are currently under threat, both from physical degradation, and as the means of playing them disappear from production. Professional consensus internationally is that there is approximately 15 years in which to save many of these sound collections through digitisation, before they become unreadable and are effectively lost. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage fund, ‘Unlocking Our Sound Heritage’ seeks to preserve the nation’s sound archives through digitisation, and improve public access to them through online resources and engagement events. Norfolk Record Office is proudly working as one of ten UK wide UOSH hubs and is currently in the process of digitising sound recordings from across the East of England.

Over the next two years we will be sharing updates from the project team and volunteers, including voices from the archives, project updates and advice on caring for your own sound archives through the Norfolk Record Office blog.

For this week’s blog post we introduce you to the UOSH East of England hub project team:

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Digging for diamonds: A voyage of fortune

In the winter of 1871, twenty-one-year-old Charles Howes, son of Reverend T.G.F. Howes, set off on the R.M.S. Cambrian alongside other enthusiastic prospectors to South Africa where an event very reminiscent of the Californian Gold Rush was taking place. While he was away digging for diamonds, his father back home would read out contents from his letters during sermons.

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