5 things you probably didn’t know about Thetford
- Credit: Sonya Duncan/Archant Norfolk
Thetford is perhaps best known for its magical forest but there is a lot more to be discovered if you decide to explore this market town.
Here are 5 facts that you may not know about:
Filming location of Dad’s Army
Captain Mainwaring and his unlikely band of Home Guard volunteers may have patrolled the streets of the fictional town of Walmington-on-Sea but the much-loved BBC sitcom was actually mostly filmed in Thetford.
You can still recognise some of the streets and buildings today and a trip to the town is not complete without a visit to the Dad’s Army Museum.
You may also want to watch:
You can even sit for a moment or two with Captain Mainwaring himself, as a life-like bronze statue can be found on a park bench.
The first black mayor in Britain
- 1 Pedestrian suffers life-threatening injuries in A47 crash
- 2 Air ambulance called and A47 closed after incident
- 3 Why this Norfolk village is one of the best in the UK
- 4 Man airlifted to hospital with serious head injuries after fight near pub
- 5 Seven fire engines called to blaze on housing estate
- 6 Teenager who lost driving licence receives surprise in post
- 7 Market traders 'devastated' over council plans to revoke licences
- 8 Major Lowestoft road partially closed due to police incident
- 9 Hamleys toy shop opens in Norwich shopping centre
- 10 Fire crews still at scene as investigation launched into house blaze
Allan Glaisyer Minns was a medical doctor from the Bahamas, who moved to Thetford in 1888 and set up a medical practice there.
He went on to become the first black man to be elected mayor in Britain in 1904, a position he held for two years. He continued to be an important figure in the town and served on the council for several years.
Birthplace of a founding father of the United States
Thomas Paine began his working life making ladies’ underwear in Thetford.
But despite these humble beginnings, Paine became a hugely influential philosopher and one of the key figures of the American Revolution after emigrating there in 1774.
He continued his political activism and writings that promoted transnational human rights until his death in 1809.
Home of the last Maharajah
Maharajah Duleep Singh was exiled to England aged 11 after the defeat of the Sikh Army in 1847. In 1863, he bought the estate of Elveden and made Thetford his home.
Duleep became a favourite acquaintance of Queen Victoria and was a generous benefactor to Thetford. A life-sized statue still stands on Thetford’s Button Island to commemorate his life and contribution to the town.
A road sign embroiled in an ongoing feud
For several years, a road sign in Thetford has become the focus of a bizarre war between the nation’s highway authority and mystery pranksters (https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/local-council/revealed-full-extent-of-thetford-oranges-sign-battle-1413050).
The sign directing drivers to Thetford Ranges has been regularly defaced by unknown individuals, who periodically draw an ‘O’ on the sign so it reads ‘Thetford Oranges.’
The feud has supposedly gone on for a while and has likely amused many motorists driving past on the A11.