Gressenhall Museum Farm and Workhouse Norfolk
At Gressenhall Museum Farm and Workhouse galleries you can stand in the evocative workhouse settings, face to face with projections of staff and inmates, and listen to first hand stories, often tragic, sometimes inspirational, from the people who once walked these whitewashed corridors. Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is based in a former workhouse and our new galleries explore what life was like for those who lived and worked here. The building is the perfect backdrop to discover rare surviving relics from Gressenhall’s nationally important workhouse collections – the largest workhouse collection in the country. To find out even more about life in the workhouse, download our free app for your smartphone, or borrow one of our free handheld information tablets.
Gressenhall Museum Opening Times
Due to coronavirus Gressenhall Museum will only be open when it is considered safe to do so – please check our website to see when we are open.
Norfolk Museums Pass
A Norfolk Museums Pass offers subscribers unlimited admissions to all ten of our museums including Gressenhall Museum from just £34.20 for the year. Museums Passes are available from all museums, whenever they are open to the public. You can download a Norfolk Museums Pass application form and complete it before you arrive, to speed things up. Or you can pick a form up at the museum. Please book your tickets online at ArtTickets. We’ll take payment for your membership when you arrive at the museum.
A Museums Pass is a must for regular visitors – it’s excellent value and flexible too. Take advantage of these great benefits: Unlimited admissions to the best museums in Norfolk. Discounts on events, talks and tours as well as in the shops and cafes – Fast track admission at Norwich Castle – Regular emails about events and exhibitions – Treat your friends with an additional accompanied guests pass (optional extra)
Gressenhall Museum Ticket Prices
Buy tickets to our museums including Gressenhall Museum and events the easy way, with discounts if you buy tickets to our museums and events online at art tickets our tickets page. Adult: £13.30 – Concession: £12.60* – Child (4-18): £11.30 – Family ticket (1 adult and all children): £35.10 – Family ticket (2 adults and all children): £46.80 – We also offer free admission to the Museum Shop and Mardlers’ Rest Café on all non-event days. For a full list of event days, see our event calendar. Special Event prices – Adults: £15 – Concessions: £14.25 – Child: (4-18): £12.75 – Family (1 adult and all children): £39.60 – Family (2 adults and all children): £52.80 – *Concession for visitors with disability, unwaged, over 65s or those in full time education – Free admission for Norfolk Museums Pass holders, Friends of Gressenhall, Children’s University members and children under 4. – Visitors with disabilities may bring one companion in free.
Groups of 10 or more (if booked in advance) – Adult group rate: £12 – Concession group rate: £11.35 – Child group rate: £10.20. Please note we do not allow dogs, other than assistance dogs, on site. We also recommend that animals are not left in locked cars. Due to the size and complexity of the site, with potential hazards such as open water, farm vehicles and livestock, children and young people under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Museum of Norfolk Life
Gressenhall Museum of Norfolk Life is grateful to past generations of Norfolk people who have left us thousands of objects to help tell their stories.
The Collections Gallery
Gressenhall Museum – Once the men’s dormitory, this Gressenhall Museum gallery contains over 2,000 objects which help reveal more about rural life in Norfolk. All of these items were owned, used or made by people in Norfolk. They tell us about how the people of Norfolk lived their lives during the last two hundred years. There is also a temporary exhibition space, which changes every year. Look out for the workhouse clock mechanism which powered the courtyard clock. Jeremiah Rust was a clock repairer from Dereham. It was his job to keep all the workhouse clocks working. In 1841 he was sacked because he could not get the clocks to ‘work with regularity’. We still have issues with the workhouse clock today! The First Farmers Gallery – The First Farmers Gallery explores the early history of farming. There are displays of artefacts of bone, antler, flint, stone and bronze used by Norfolk’s early farmers from around 6000 years ago. 1950s Room – A recreation of a mid-20th century home.
Take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the time when the BBC’s Light Programme crackled out Mrs Dales’ Diary from bakelite wireless radios. Engineering Galleries – A selection of stationary steam and diesel engines once used to power many aspects of life, from washing clothes to bringing in the harvest. Rural Life Gallery – From fire engines, to tricycles, carts and bullock wagons, explore how people and products were moved around Norfolk. Look out for the 1908 circus showman’s caravan and a coach from Raveningham Hall which used to take guests to Haddiscoe railway station. Women’s Land Army Gallery – The Land Girls and Lumber Jills gallery tells the story of the Women’s Land Army and Timber Corp and the real life stories of land army girls in Norfolk. It’s an enduring tribute to the forgotten heroines of the British Home Front during two world wars. The museum has a long association with the Women’s Land Army, and held reunions from the 1980s.
Gressenhall The Workhouse
Gressenhall Museum The Workhouse. You will experience a combination of projections, archives and fascinating collections that help tell the real stories of the workhouse staff and inmates. These displays focus on true stories from the building’s past, many of which only came to light during the research phase of the recent re-development project, Voices from the Workhouse. Stories like those of Harriet Kettle and Christopher High; often tragic, sometimes inspirational. Stories that breathe life into the historic archives giving you a vivid insight into what life was like in Victorian Britain. Was the workhouse a tough institution or a safety net for those during difficult times? Find out what life was like under the regime of the workhouse clock, what food was served and the different classes of inmates. Explore what work inmates had to do and visit the refractory cell. Known as ‘the dungeon’, inmates were sent here if they broke the rules. Gressenhall was originally opened in 1777 as a ‘House of Industry’. Discover how the building developed as a Union Workhouse and throughout the 20th century.
Gressenhall Museum Cafe – Picnics and Shop
Gressenhall Museum Cafe, picnics and shop – Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse has a shop, café, picnic areas, baby changing facilities, accessible toilets and parking. The Mardlers’ Rest Café – Gressenhall café is open and providing refreshments for visitors to enjoy and have picnics in our grounds. We are now able to offer a limited sit down service in the café. Tables are available on a first come first served basis. All food and drink will continue to be served in disposable containers which can be consumed in the museum grounds. Takeaway menu available here.
Gressenhall Museum Picnics – Gressenhall is perfect for picnics. There are picnic tables and benches around the workhouse buildings. Please note, the indoor picnic area is currently closed. Gressenhall Museum Childrens Adventure playground – Our brand new playground is now open! To ensure we can operate it safely we have put additional measures in place. Please note that all play sessions are 40 minuets long and must be booked when onsite. Each play session has a limited number of spaces available and undergoes a thorough clean between play sessions. Gressenhall Museum Shop – Gressenhall Museum Shop have lots of wonderful items available in the gift shop, though access to the shop is limited. If there is an item you would like to buy, please speak to a member of staff.
Gressenhall Museum Farm
This was once used to grow produce for the inmates at the workhouse. Today we use the farm to demonstrate traditional farming techniques to visitors. Take a peek into the farmhouse and see how farming families used to live. The kitchen has an old-style range cooker and on event days is filled with the aromas of traditional farmhouse cooking. In the St Nicholas’ Barn are displays of farming implements from the last 200 years. You can also peek into the lives of the wild birds and animals who live at Gressenhall with our nature watch cameras. Explore the farm with our circular walks. Explore what’s growing in the fields or take a stroll down to the river. Keep the whole family entertained with a free stamper trail available from the museum shop. Suffolk Punches – The Suffolk Punch is one of the oldest breeds of working horse recorded in the UK
Gressenhall Museum Gardens and Grounds.
Gressenhall Museum Farm and Workhouse is set in 50 acres of unspoilt Norfolk countryside. The grounds include a lovely river valley, water meadows, woodlands and country trails. With its enchanting gardens, historic orchard and enthralling horticultural collections, Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is a beautiful venue for garden enthusiasts. Our organic gardens have been created and cared for by our dedicated volunteer gardeners. All of the gardens are beautiful spaces where visitors are invited to sit and contemplate and there is something to suit every taste. Cherry Tree Cottage garden – Cherry Tree Cottage Garden is a traditional garden with vegetable patch and herb garden, compost heap, privy, scarecrow and cinder paths. They have been selected to ensure historical accuracy. They reveal just how a rural family of the 1930s would have helped to supplement a low agricultural wage – a small herb patch providing flavour for the monotonous diet of vegetables and stews.
Gressenhall Museum Woodland Adventure Playground
Gressenhall Museum fantastic woodland playground is a world of tree houses, walkways and adventure suitable for all ages. Explore the view from the top of the Owl’s Lookout, or whizz down the slides of the Rabbit Run. Balance along the thin walkway through the air of Woodpecker Drive, and tunnel through the Badger‘s Sett and Fox Hole. Race your friends to the top of the climbing pyramid and fly through the air on the zip wire. For younger visitors, there’s a special area designed for those under 5s.
Gressenhall Library and Archives
Gressenhall Museum Library and Archives. These are situated in a large room on the first floor of the building is the Museum’s Library housing its book, photograph and archive collection. You can have access to the Museum’s extensive collection of agricultural and rural life objects. The library is manned by knowledgeable staff and volunteers and has work desks for researchers.
Workhouse research – Gressenhall Museum has researched the history of the workhouse building and has compiled a searchable database of inmates who lived in the Mitford and Launditch Union Workhouse at Gressenhall. Records have been collated from transcripts of original material held at the Norfolk Records Office, The National Archives and directly from the general public who are researching their own family histories. For more information on the records available online, please visit our Family and Workhouse history page. The transcribed extracts and notes from the Board of Guardians Minute Books for Inmates are available to see at the museum. A searchable index of names is listed in the PDF document below.
Photographic records – Gressenhall Museum Archive has a large collection of photographs and Norfolk Chronicle glass plate negatives are available to help researchers interested in trades, machinery, welfare, events, people and locations within Norfolk. Rural life records – The library was started in 1976 as a resource to help staff identify objects donated to the Museum of Rural Life. Some of the items that are available for research are listed here, although there are many more. These include:
Gressenhall Museum Archive and Library has farm documents including diaries, horse remedy notebooks, stud books, invoices from Norfolk farms; books, journals and magazines relating to farming and livestock. – Manuals for engines and farm machinery, Government publications and posters concerning agriculture, health, war and education, retail and agricultural show catalogues – Photographs, objects, books and printed documents relating to Agricultural Unions and George Edwards – Educational books and objects used in Norfolk schools, class photographs and certificates presented to pupils.
Oral recordings and transcripts, photographs and documents relating to the Women’s Land Army in Norfolk – Family records and objects including letters, memorial cards, photographs, recipe and craft books, bibles and hobbies – Trade documents (and objects used and produced by the businesses in Norfolk) for example, Daniel Brothers and R & A Taylor’s seed merchants, Briton Brush Company, Plowright, Pratt & Harbage and Miln Marsters. We also hold several Kelly’s and White’s Directories – Norfolk Ordnance Survey Maps from about 1906 for much of Norfolk – Newspaper cuttings collected and categorized by volunteers for over 30 years from a selection of Norfolk publications – Museum records, including a collection of posters, leaflets, images (photographic and film), newspaper cuttings, documentation, oral and written histories of volunteers, staff and visitors
Groups visits to Gressenhall Museum
Gressenhall Museum Group Talks and Tours
What’s On at Gressenhall Museum
We hope to see you soon at Gressenhall Museum Farm and Workhouse Museum of Norfolk Life. Covid 19 measures are now relaxing and we hope to see you soon.
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