Tributes to famous Norfolk men

MARK NICHOLLS Exhibitions marking major anniversaries for two of Norfolk's most famous men open in Norwich this week.

MARK NICHOLLS

Exhibitions marking major anniversaries for two of Norfolk's most famous men open in Norwich this week.

The 200th anniversary of Nelson's death at Trafalgar is commemorated in 'Lord Nelson: Norfolk Hero', while 'Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich' marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of the great Norwich physician, scholar and philosopher.

Both will be officially launched at The Archive Centre in Norwich by the Chairman of Norfolk County Council chairman John Baskerville tomorrow and open for public viewing from Wednesday . They run until January 20 and admission is free.


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The Nelson exhibition looks at aspects of his career, with several items reflecting his love of the county and coincides with the bi-centenary of Trafalgar on Friday .

It includes the baptism register for his home village of Burnham Thorpe with Nelson's own baptism entry, original letters written by while at sea, letters from contemporaries, and paintings, drawings and cartoons illustrating how Nelson has been viewed by Norfolk people since his death.

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Dr Thomas Browne practised as a highly respected physician in Norwich for 46 years after moving to the city in 1637. By then, his first and best-known book, Religio Medici (The religion of a physician) was already circulating in manuscript and published in 1643.

Later, he published reflections on archaeology, natural history, and a compendium of popular misconceptions scientifically examined.

At least one of the Browne manuscripts on display has never before been exhibited. One of these is a lease of a meadow in the Cathedral precinct, which Browne rented from the Dean and Chapter.

The parchment had been stored folded for centuries and at some time in the past had become badly distorted, probably from damp. Thanks to the skills of the Record Office's conservation section, the parchment has been flattened and mounted and looks much as it must have done just after Thomas Browne signed it in 1681.

The Record Office has several artefacts on loan for the exhibitions.

They include a painting of HMS Victory at sea by famous naval artist John Chancellor, a cast of Sir Thomas Browne's skull (the original was accidentally excavated in 1840 and reburied in St Peter Mancroft church in 1922), and a miniature version of the statue of Sir Thomas Browne which stands in Norwich city centre.

Mr Baskerville, said: “These exhibitions celebrate two men - one born in Norfolk; the other an adopted citizen of Norwich - of whom Norfolk is justly proud.”

County Archivist Dr John Alban said: “This is an exciting new departure for The Archive Centre. The coincidence of two important anniversaries so close together was too good an opportunity to miss.

Nelson is a universally well-known name and everyone who is interested in him will want to visit, but there are some, even in Norwich, who know little about the man whose statue is found on Hay Hill.”

The Long Gallery in The Archive Centre is open on 9am to 5pm, apart from a 9.30am opening time on Tuesdays and on Saturdays from 9am-12noon.

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