Brewing in Norfolk

The Beers and Brewing exhibition explores pubs and brewing in the past and today. We’ve already written blog posts about the historic Steward and Patteson brewery and the modern Kings Arms Pub. This post is about the two modern breweries in the exhibition.

Beeston Brewery

Mark Riches started brewing at Beeston Brewery in November 2006. Today he runs three brews every week. He produces nine different beers that he supplies to pubs. He also bottle beers for selling in local shops and from the brewery direct to customers.

Norfolk Brewhouse

The Norfolk Brewhouse is an award-winning brewery based in North Norfolk run by Rachel and David Holliday since 2012. The brewery’s most well known beers are all named after Norfolk Dialect words for the hare – Moon Gazer, Dew Hopper and Stubble Stag. They also make a gluten free beer, lagers a charity ale Tobi’s Tipple which supports local cancer charity It’s On The Ball.

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Both breweries use brewing water from their own wells. They also use local malting barley supplied by the Crisp Malting Group based in North Norfolk. Thankyou to both breweries for lending items to the Beers and Brewing exhibition.




Collections update

We have had a busy few weeks in collections.

Back Hall and Voices Galleries

The Back Hall has been a bit abandoned for the last few years as we have been concentrating on the Voices project. We are now looking at how we can smarten up this space. We have a limited budget but we are working on new graphics and barrier. This work won’t be carried out until the winter season when we are closed. We are beginning work by removing the large yellow plinth underneath the gallows plough next week.

We are also creating new A3 panels for the main galleries with many new stories discovered by our research team. These will enable us to have a library of different personal stories to swap over in the winter. One of these features John George. John is only the second inmate whom we have a photograph of (see above). He was a farm labourer in Scarning all his life. He died in Gressenhall workhouse in 1901 aged 89.


Lauren and I have been attempting to spend more time accessioning the long term backlog of items that have been donated to the museum. Most of these have been languishing in the office for a while and it is excellent to begin work on them. We assess everything that comes into the museum against our Collecting Policy – essentially all items must have a strong link to Norfolk and come with additional information about the people that made or used the item. It must not duplicate anything we already have (we have over 55, 000 objects in the collection!).

This week we have been working on a range of leaflets which advertise Norfolk products (see Miss Eagle’s price list above) or companies and some additional items from the Taylor’s seed merchants in King’s Lynn. These were additional donations when the Taylor family sold their long term home in 2016.

Work experience

Finally we have been working with a range of different work experience students. They have all had a chance to work with different parts of the museum and whilst they are with collections have helped to create the summer holiday trails and activities, worked on the Once Upon a Time exhibition for 2019 (see photograph) and catalogued some of the workhouse archives. Thanks to all of the students who have done a fantastic job, been really enthusiastic and had a go at everything we have asked them to do!

Contemporary Community pubs

This ‘Beers and Brewing: Norfolk’s Rural Pubs’ exhibition at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse explores the brewing industry and pubs in the county both in the past and today. I was very keen that this exhibition reflected the contemporary nature of pubs and brewing in Norfolk.

I was very pleased to connect with the manager at The Kings Arms pub in Shouldham. This was the first community run pub in West Norfolk. Like many pubs (28,000 pubs have closed since the 1970s) it was closed in 2012. The villagers rallied around to save it and set up a not for profit cooperative Shouldham Community Enterprises Limited. A huge fundraising campaign was successfully achieved with the community buying their pub in January 2014. The pub has now been open since September 2014 and expanded its community role. The pub is host to a Knit and Knatter group, Spanish classes and a volunteer run café. The pub has its own cricket and football team. The Kings Arms has been awarded CAMRA West Norfolk pub of the year in 2016, 2017 and 2018!

I was delighted that they chose to donate items to the museum collection which are on display in the exhibition.

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Donations, Carleton and Volunteer Forum


A timely donation just before the Norfolk Show was this fabulous Royal Agricultural Society long service medal which was awarded to Mr James (Bertie George) Frost for 40 years’ service on Mr Kidner’s farm at Stoke Holy Cross. The medal was awarded at the 1951 Royal Norfolk Show! The medal was accompanied by an image of Bertie George and his family.


We have had 4 fabulous students from Carleton College, Minnesota with us for the last week. The have been working on evaluating the museum’s tablet tour and creating some 3d digital models of the workhouse dolls. Their last day is Friday 6th July so do come along to a lunchtime talk in the Learning Centre at 12.30 on Friday to hear all about what they have been getting up to.

Volunteer Forum

It was great to get back into the swing of the quarterly Volunteer Forum last week. More details in a separate email for volunteers – but it was lovely to share updates, hear about what you have all been getting up to and to start forward planning together. We talked about the Volunteer Summer Party (discussions ended with us planning a free volunteers’ family day in September with a bring your own picnic party at lunchtime), training and the development budget (requests for more health and safety training!) and discussed our favourite children’s books – part of a co-curation project where we will be working with a wide range of people to plan next year’s Once Upon a Time temporary exhibition.