Eric is honoured for years of service at Wymondham museum opening

PUBLISHED: 11:45 26 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:46 26 March 2015

David Disney speaks at the official opening of the Wymondham Heritage Museum's 2015season.

David Disney speaks at the official opening of the Wymondham Heritage Museum's 2015season.


When he was just a teenager, a schoolmaster told Eric Thorburn he would almost certainly flunk his history exam.

Wymondham heritage museum.  Photo: Bill Smith Wymondham heritage museum. Photo: Bill Smith

And although Mr Thorburn can now admit “he certainly didn’t dispapoint”, it didn’t stop him spending more than 20 years working at the historic heart of Wymondham.

On Monday, the former headteacher’s dedication to the Wymondham Heritage Museum and Society were recognised as he was presented Wymondham Town Council’s civic award.

Mr Thorburn, with wife Gill, curated the former museum, based behind the Middleton Street town council offices, from the late 1980s.

He played an instrumental role in the Wymondham Heritage Society’s decision to move into the Bridewell, where it has remained since.

Eric Thorburn at the Wymondham Heritage Museum in 2003. Eric Thorburn at the Wymondham Heritage Museum in 2003.

“I remember clearly when we went to look around it,” he said. “We went into the room and it was cold, damp and dark and I thought ‘this will make a great museum’. We put it to the vote and we succeeded by about two votes to take it on.”

After stepping down as curator in 1997, he became accessions officer on the museum committee, and has since worked as a steward - a position he still holds - a group visit leader and guide.

Mr Thorburn, of Folly Road, also served as vice-chairman, chairman, vice-president and finally president on the committee, and only stepped down this 

He puts his passion for developing the museum down to a love of meeting people.

“Coming into do something to do with history was a bit of a shock, but I have loved it. I think it is probably meeting the people who come in. They come from all over and you get talking.”

The award presentation came during the museum’s official 2015 opening, which was led by David Disney, market towns co-ordinator for South Norfolk Council.

Mayor Colin Foulger, local town councillors, Norfolk Museum Service staff, Wymondham Heritage Society members and shop keepers gathered to hear about the displays.

Tradition and Innovation - The Story of Market Towns and Turning Back Time, detail the history of market towns from medieval times to present day, while taking a look at the history of Wymondham’s shops and streets.

The museum, based in the Bridewell on Norwich Road, opens from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Saturday.

To help out or volunteer, contact 01953 600205.

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