Lots bought at Morningthorpe auction go on show at Norfolk Record Office

17 February 2017

Important records of historical Norfolk are going on show this month following a public appeal which raised £30,000 to buy them.

Last year, Norfolk Record Office (NRO) urgently needed to raise money so that it could bid at a sale of Norfolk archives as part of the Morningthorpe Manor House sale.

Keen to buy and preserve as much as possible, a public appeal was launched working with a recently formed charity, the Norfolk Archives and Heritage Development Foundation (NORAH).

Among the 91 lots NORAH was able to buy at auction were the diaries of politician Horatio William Walpole. His entries included a grisly account of the 1837 execution of James Greenacre from West Winch, who was convicted of murdering his fiancée and cutting up her body before disposing of it around London. Greenacre’s death mask is on display at Norwich Castle Museum.

Other items on display include Stratton Strawless title deeds from 1431 and photos taken by Walter Clutterbuck in 1919 which show a working fairground carousel believed to be made by Savage’s of Kings Lynn.

There are also photos of North Norfolk coastal scenes, maps, local business records, travel journals and the first account of a pleasure trip on the Norfolk Broads in 1861.

Archivists have transcribed some of the documents and magnified sections of others to ensure visitors can see the details in the exhibition, called Saving Norfolk’s Archival Heritage.

The display is at Norfolk Record Office next to County Hall in Norwich and runs from Monday 20 February to Friday 19 May. It is free to view.

County Archivist Gary Tuson said: “We are very grateful to everyone who helped with the fundraising so that we could buy and preserve these important Norfolk records. This display is a great chance for people to come in and view a piece of history. The documents are varied and include everything from maps and diaries to photographs.”

The £30,000 included a £5,000 donation from Friends of the National Libraries and a significant private donation. The rest was raised via a swift social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter which lead to around 100 donations. Those who offered donations and local history groups have been invited at the exhibition’s launch, for a special look at the items to say thank you for their support.

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