Museum of the Broads launches new exhibition detailing history of area’s towns and villages
A museum which unravels the history of the Broads is set to shed light on the background of high streets in the area's towns and villages.
The Broadland's High Streets Through Time exhibition at the Museum of the Broads will highlight past shopping habits and oddities from shops in Stalham, Acle, Bungay and Brundall among others.
Its displays tell stories of shops which have been long closed, and reveal a move away from buying locally.
Curator NIcola Hems said: 'It includes the last saddles shop in Stalham, which was important when people relied on horses but which we don't need today.
'Martham, for example, had three shoe shops, which you'd never have today in a small area - you'd go to Norwich or Great Yarmouth. But years ago you could get everything locally.
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'My favourite thing in that area of the exhibition is the free boots passes for children - because children walked to school they didn't get a free bus pass, it was just free boots vouchers. It's the social history of items like that which is really interesting.'
The exhibition - which was launched on Saturday by its patron Henry Cator - benefitted from SHARE Museums East funding, which was spent on audio equipment to play recordings of local shoppers' and shopkeepers' memories of retail in years gone by.
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Mrs Hems said the exhibition tied in with both a Norfolk Museums Service travelling exhibition on market towns and Stalham Town Council's plans for a town heritage trail.
'We've got some items from the old pharmacy in Stalham, including a cold recipe which is quite funny,' she said.
'Today, areas are lucky if they have a post office and one shop - but not too long ago everywhere had a whole range of shops and it's important to remember that.'
It is hoped the exhibition will nudge people into exploring the museum, at The Statihe in Stalham, which has permanent details detailing the development of wherries, with a full-sized replica of a wherry 'cuddy', the master's sleeping and living quarters.
Divided into four buildings, it also has displays on marsh work, Broads wildlife, the notorious coypus and the origins of holidaying on the waterways.
Outside in Friends' Way, there are Broads boats and Victorian steam launch Falcon, which ferries passengers along the river.
The museum is open from 10am to 4pm - and 4.30pm during summer - everyday until October. For more information, visit www.museumofthebroads.org.uk
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