NORFOLK INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY
A selection of Norfolk industrial museums,
Steam Railways, Windmills, and similar attractions.
The Norfolk Industrial Archaeology society is not responsible for any of these sites,
most of which have an admission charge, or request donations.
Click on name to open information panel. Click logo or link to open new page for link site.
Berney Arms Windmill
Large, seven storey windmill built to grind cement; later used for drainage.
Makes an interesting focus to a walk along the river bank, with refreshment sometimes available at the nearby public house.
Regretably the mill is now open only to pre booked parties.
On north bank of River Yare; only accessible by boat, train or by footpath - English Heritage (01493-700605)
web site: Berney Arms Mill.
Bressingham Gardens and Railway
Featuring Main line railway locomotives and road traction engines. The Dad's Army Experience and on the gallery a fascinating collection or railway artefacts and model railways. The Locomotive Museum features the giant beam engine (in steam on selected days) and other stationary steam engines. Full size ex British Railways locomotives with footplate access to at least one locomotive. Passenger trains running around the Nursery grounds. The Gallopers Roundabout, over 100 years old. Also extensive Gardens. Located near Diss.
Bridewell Museum, Norwich
A medieval house, a prison 1583-1828, then a shoe factory. It opened in the 1920's as the Museum of the Trades & Industries of Norwich, the first such museum in the country. It had an important collection well displayed of all the diverse industries in Norwich. Sadly a recent major re-display, to create a Museum of Norwich, has removed many objects from public view. Some major industries of Norwich are now no longer covered by the displays, for others just a few token objects can be seen. The tools of the trade are often absent, whilst colourful displays give a somewhat distorted impression of the products of what was a major industrial city full of innovative entrepreneurs.
Bridewell Alley, Norwich - Norfolk Joint Museums Service (01603-667228)
Bure Valley Railway
Charles Burrell Museum, Thetford
City of Norwich Aviation Museum
Denver MillDenver Windmill was built in 1835 and continued to grind corn using windpower for over one hundred years. The windmill stopped work in 1941 when the sails were struck by lightning.
It was restored to full working order with new facilities for visitors to enjoy. Once again flour is being milled using the power of the wind.
Sadly recent damage to the sails has brought about temporary closure.
Diss Museum is housed in the historic Shambles building on Diss Market place. A small but perfectly-formed museum, it hosts changing exhibitions about Diss and nearby villages, packed with local interest
Has a good collection on local industries, including brush making and weaving matting.
Fakenham museum of Gas and Local History has the last surviving small town gasworks in England, dating from 1846. Good collection of associated equipment, including early gas cookers and other domestic equipment. Also gas measuring and testing equipment.
In addition it displays material relating to local history. A fascinating museum, run by volunteers and with free admission (but donations requested). Allow at least 2 hours for your visit.
Hempton, Fakenham (01328-863150)
Forncett Industrial Steam Museum
The museum where the static steam engines that used to power so many aspects of our lives are treasured and brought back to working life by steam rather than compressed air. Highlights include two great engines that raised Tower Bridge and powered the pumps providing water for Dover.
See site for opening times
Gunton Water Powered Sawmill
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse (Rural life museum)
Former workhouse now a large Museum of rural industries etc. Large and extensive displays, including steam engines, farm machinery, tradesmans workshops, bygone shops, traditional country cottages and a large costume collection. Georgian workhouse trail. There is also a working farm complete with horses and rare Norfolk breeds.
Open: April to October
Just off B1145, 3 miles northwest of East Dereham - Norfolk Joint Museums Service (01362-860563)
Part of the European Routes of Industrial Heritage project. A selection of industrial sites across East Anglia including some in Norfolk, with descriptions. Originally Essex County Council lead on this project, however though the organisation formed to carry the scheme forward continues the web sites is not maintained. It does however contain useful information about a number of sites well worth visiting.
In the attractive village of Letheringsett is a fully functional water powered Flour Mill generally accepted to the only producing one in Norfolk. One can visit this outstanding part of working Norfolk History. The Norfolk red brick Mill was built in 1802 on a Doomsday site.
The village of Letheringsett has other industrial buildings including a large maltings and brewery remains, including a rare tun room, which have recently been converted into housing.
NIAS has published a book on the industrial history of the village, usually available to purchase from the Mill.
This heritage railway takes passengers on an eleven mile trip through unspoilt Norfolk countryside, passing well-preserved signal boxes and pretty village stations. Mid Norfolk Railway runs heritage diesel trains and there are regular visits from guest steam trains. Dereham station is a fine example of a mid-Victorian station and has been restored to the 1950s period
Muckleburgh Military Collection
Named after Muckleburgh Hill at the foot of which the military camp is situated, the Muckleburgh collection is the UK's largest privately owned military museum. The site was an important army camp in both World Wars due to invasion fears as there is deep water just off the beach.
The museum collection has grown to over 120 vehicles, tanks and guns with a back-up of 2,500 other exhibits. Many of the Collection's vehicles have undergone complete restoration in the workshops as conservation is a very important factor in the work of the Museum.
Museum of the Broads
Situated at historic Stalham Staithe the Museum of the Broads gives you a fabulous insight into the history, landscape, people, industry, wildlife and of course the boats of the Broads. The stories are told via interactive displays and there is always something new to see. There is plenty to keep the children occupied and they even have a playboat. Falcon their Victorian Steam launch gives visitors a unique way to see the Broads first hand. Open March - October. Check out their website for prices, opening times and Falcon running. www.museumofthebroads.org.uk
Also on display are tools from the traditional Broads industries, thatching, sail and rope making, eel catching, reed cutting, boat building, mill wrighting. Among the craft are a period river commissioners launch, the Steam launch "Falcon", the only concrete dinghy ever constructed and many other craft, Old outboard and inboard engines, gun punts complete with mighty guns and an ice yacht.
North Norfolk Railway
A preservation steam line, running steam on a 10.5 mile round trip by steam train (vintage diesel trains on some journeys) through a delightful area of North Norfolk designated as being of outstanding natural beauty. You can break your journey to look around the stations and displays. Links the towns of Sherringham and Holt.
RAF Air Defence Radar Museum
The museum, which is located on the site of the world’s longest continuously operating radar site, provides a unique window into the history of radar and is a great day out in Norfolk, for all the family. The museum is located at Neatishead, close to Horning and the Broads. The museum has twenty exhibition rooms and as part of the visit offers a free guided tour with presentations on the Battle of Britain, Development of Radar through World War Two and the Cold War.
Strumpshaw Steam Museum
Time and Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth
A Museum of Great Yarmouth Life, housed in a converted Victorian herring curing works, and still with the smell of the smokehouse. This museum covers Great Yarmouth's fascinating history, its rich maritime and fishing heritage and some of the colourful characters who made their living from the sea. It also covers the development of the holiday industry. Frequent special exhibitions. An excellent value café
Watermills and Windmills
A number of watermills and windmills in Norfolk are preserved, and some are open to the public. Many are owned by the Norfolk Windmills Trust, which has also provided financial assistance for some privately owned mills.
The Friends website gives lots of details of access to Norfolk mills, as does the Norfolk Windmills Trust site, including suggested car tours.
Many of the Mills are open for National Mills Day. Some mills are open on a regular basis.
Gunton Mill is opened by Volunteers on the last Sunday of May to September.
Wells and Walsingham Light Railway.
The longest 10¼" narrow gauge steam railway in the world and see the unique Garrett locomotive "Norfolk Hero" which was especially built for this line. Runs from end March to End October Link