Heritage group brings Norfolk’s history to life

Verrall Grimes holds an aerial camera once owned by Wing Commander Ken Wallis. Picture: Peter Bird.

Verrall Grimes holds an aerial camera once owned by Wing Commander Ken Wallis. Picture: Peter Bird. - Credit: Archant

Some of Norfolk's rich history was brought to life at an event which drew visitors from far and wide.

Niki Smith with the bible that details the more than 200 years that her family farmed in Docking .Pi

Niki Smith with the bible that details the more than 200 years that her family farmed in Docking .Picture: PETER BIRD. - Credit: Archant

Docking's Local History Fair at Ripper Hall and St Mary's Parish Church over the weekend drew people Essex, Wales and Yorkshire.

Numbers greatly exceeded the expectations of the organisers, the Docking Heritage Group, who spent a year planning the event.

Twenty history societies in west and north Norfolk took part.

One visitor brought in a book titled Docking Division Register of Charges. Dated 1886 it detailed every one brought up before the local magistrates and the penalties inflicted. The forbears of some local families feature in it.

Member Joyce Torrice (left) and secretary of the Docking Heritage Group, Helena Aldis look at a 188

Member Joyce Torrice (left) and secretary of the Docking Heritage Group, Helena Aldis look at a 1888 register detailing miscreants brought up before the local magistrate. Picture: PETER BIRD. - Credit: Archant


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Niki Smith from Essex was drawn to the fair because of her family's past links with Docking. She brought a family bible which detailed her family tree from 1749 onwards.

Mrs Smith was a Burgess and the family occupied North Farm on the outskirts of Docking for more than 200 years when, with no offspring to carry on the farming tradition, the family moved to Hunstanton in 1947.

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The heritage group's research into the family brought out a wealth of extra information.

Wells Local History Group brought in a guide to Wells with around 50 illustrations by Arthur Rackham, probably the pre-eminent book illustrator of his era who died in 1939.

Wells Local History Group chairman, Mike Welland holds the 1894 copy of the Wells town guide illustr

Wells Local History Group chairman, Mike Welland holds the 1894 copy of the Wells town guide illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Left is secretary Keith Leesmith and, right, committee member, Steve Adcock. Picture: PETER BIRD. - Credit: Archant

It was published in 1894 before he gained a national reputation. He is remembered for illustrating most of the classic children's books of his age, including Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Wind in the Willows and Grimm's Fairy Tales. Recently one of his original sketches was valued at £75,000.

The groups between them have archived thousands of photographs, some going back 150 years.

Docking resident, Verrall Grimes, owns cameras dating back to the 1880s which may have taken similar photographs.

He put a selection on display which also included two Second World War aerial cameras belonging to Norfolk's Wing Commander Ken Wallis, famous as an inventor and builder of autogyros, one of which he piloted in the Bond film, You Only Live Twice.

Wallis lived near Dereham and died, aged 97, in 2013.

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