Agenda and minutes

Venue: Ancient House, Museum, Thetford

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 26 February 2018.


The minutes of the meeting held on 26 February 2018 were confirmed as an accurate record.



To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies had been received from Councillors Darby and W Richmond.


Robin Hanley and Oliver Bone had also sent apologies.




Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman advised he had attended the Welcome to the Workhouse event and it was very enjoyable.


He confirmed that Councillor Duigan would chair the September meeting as he was unable to attend.


Urgent Business

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act, 1972.




Declaration of Interests

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.





Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse report pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Additional documents:



Hannah Jackson the Operations Manager for Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse  presented the report


The Farm and Workhouse had opened for February half term with a “Spring Cleaning” event, through the week there were 936 visitors which was slightly lower than previous years but was potentially due to the poor weather.


The main season had begun with a “Welcome to the workhouse” event, this involved all those who were involved with the Voices from the workhouse project and players of the National Lottery 228 visitors attended.


The first full public day of the new season was mother’s day and was supported by the “Women Reaching Women” partnership which attracted 614 visitors. 

The “Gressenhall goes wild” event held on Easter Monday had 232 visitors. They wished to grow this event as it was a great way for visitors to explore site

She confirmed all the event days attracted museum pass sales.


The Chairman queried what soroptimists were. Cllr Jermy confirmed they were a Global volunteer movement to change the lives of women and girls and had been present on Mother’s Day with the “ Women reaching Women” partnership.


Voices from the workhouse. The latter stages of the project was launched on 10th March. Evaluation of the project and spaces used was now being done.


David Blackburn queried if the project had given the opportunity to network with other workhouses.


It was confirmed that Gressenhall had founded a workhouse forum, working with other workhouses in the country who were looking at getting heritage funding. They were not all workhouse buildings but museums that had workhouse collections.


The temporary exhibition was “beer and brewing”. The team had worked with local pubs to tell their stories as they moved into community ownership and how they diversified themselves to fit into modern life.


Collaborate programme - An inspiration day had been held in March. This day involved sharing the collections and stories and enabled people to get involved and understand it. Attendees were encouraged to decorate beer mats to show their local pub showcasing them as community hubs where people met and socialised and played sports.


Megan Dennis Curator had been to Minnesota to spend time at the Humanities forum in Carleton College. She had worked with students to generate some digital output for the Museum iPads. Using the Darwin programming she had added to the project and the workhouse were looking to expand this.


Councillor Ward queried if the digital output would be available to people on their own devices.


It was confirmed that there was a version visitors could download but currently it was a fixed offer, and the Museum would need to look at funding to update that. At present it was available on museum in house iPads, the Museum could update their devices but not the app.


Councillor Kiddle-Morris asked how the college in Minnesota became involved with creating a 3d model of the Workhouse.


The Operations Manager advised their course tutor was interested in workhouses and houses of industry  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life report pdf icon PDF 113 KB


Melissa Hawker presented the report.


Thetford remembers three heritage bids were being looked at for a WW1 then and now project. Thetford Town Council were holding events for Armistice. The aim was for 3000 knitted poppies to be draped on the Guildhall and the knit and natters group were heavily involved. The display would form part of “battles over” a national event with beacon lighting. It was hoped the Museum might be a stop off point for the torch.


Some items would be donated to Norwich Castle for their exhibition and these could highlight Thetford’s role in the war.


Thetford and Punjab festival. A fortnight of activities was planned for Punjab links with Thetford. This would include Cultural Fusion and would see Morris dancing and Bangra dancing performed together. The collection donated from Prince Frederick would be highlighted and the plaque from Prince Frederick which had been in storage would be unveiled.


A funding bid was being worked on which would allow the upstairs room to be changed to a Duleep Singh room. Both the funding bid and subsequent display were being worked in consultation with the Sikh community.


Councillor Duigan queried whether there would be an issue with a Duleep Singh room as Thetford Library already had one and the two sites were very close to each other.

Melissa Hawker advised it actually helped visits. Large groups visiting Thetford could be split and visit both sites.


Teenage history club. The group had asked to do a temporary exhibition. “Pride of the people:helping history out of the closet” the club would explore collections and stories and present them in display. They were also creating a queer history tour of Ancient House, picking up objects that had links to queer communities and would use the formula used by guides at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. They were working with comedienne Iszi Lawrence who performed historical comedy, this would culminate in a stand up routine of their own which would be performed in the Autumn.


Learning activities. Discover Tuesday were running where visitors could meet characters and handle objects. May half term theme was to be Tudors. The family trails encourage local people to visit more regularly to do all the different trails. 


The Teenage History Club and Mini Museum for the under fives were still popular and the Junior History club were doing a project about suffrage. They had performed a play and would be performing at the Mayor making event.


Volunteers – The Museum was soon to recruit new volunteers to produce resource boxes.


Visitor numbers – It was reported that 2017-2018 had been a strong year with 9654 visitors.



Next Meeting

To note the details of the next meeting, 10 September 2018 10.30am at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum.


The details for the next meeting were confirmed.


It was requested that an Agenda Item for September’s meeting be for SHARE and David Blackburn would liaise with Councillors Clarke and Duigan to arrange a presentation on their work.


It was requested to be noted that the committee sent its best wishes to Oliver Bone and Robin Hanley for a speedy recovery.