How many miles of wire netting does it take to control the wild rabbits of Australia?

This is one of many questions I never thought I’d have the answer to, but just so you know it turns out it’s 7,500 miles of netting.

I discovered this fact quite by chance whilst researching the Boulton and Paul P10 aircraft wing, which is housed at the Norfolk Collections Centre.


The P10 aircraft wing made by Boulton and Paul

As part of my traineeship I designed the pop-up banners (6 foot tall information posters which can be folded away when not in use) which we use at the Norfolk Collections Centre during tours. It was during my research of our ‘star objects’ that I stumbled upon this glorious tit-bit about the Norwich-based aircraft and general manufacturer Boulton and Paul Ltd, the constructors of the P10 aircraft.

Boulton and Paul did not just produce aircrafts during the 20th century, they also made miles and miles of wire netting and were known internationally for the quality and efficiency of their Norwich workshops. At the time when the P10 aircraft was created in 1919, the galvanized wire netting department could produce up to 400 miles of netting per week. Thus, the company was chosen as the supplier of netting to Australia in order to ease their, apparently substantial, rabbit problem.


One of the Boulton and Paul Ltd wire netting workshops in Norwich c.1929

I am now almost 6 months into my traineeship at the Norfolk Collections Centre and I have discovered and experienced more than I ever thought possible, the rabbit netting anecdote being one of the more hilarious finds during my banner research. Creating the banners was a really rewarding experience. I produced and edited the text after considerable research on our ‘star objects’ and tracked down and chose the images to be included in the designs to complement the artefacts and put them into context. I worked closely with our designer and had the final say on layout.

Eventually, after much hard work and battles with high resolution images my vision was realised. We were able to showcase the banners on their maiden voyage for Heritage Open Day on 14th September 2014 when we opened the Norfolk Collections Centre for our timed tours. It was a real thrill to see the banners in all their 6 foot magnificence with the text and images I worked on sitting proudly beside their respective objects for visitors to enjoy.

New Image

The final display! The Boulton and Paul P10 aircraft wing alongside its banner ready for Heritage Open Day

In the next 6 months I am certain I will be exploring many more aspects of collections management and discovering many more unusual facts along the way.


Sophie Towne

Collections Management Trainee


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