Library and archive

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

The 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

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.  A complete list of library resources is available in the PDF document below.

  • 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.

Want to see more?

The Museum’s Library provides access to the museum’s extensive collections by appointment only. If you would like to see particular objects or photographs held in our collection, or to undertake research into family, workhouse or local history, please contact us.

For more information on the Norfolk workhouse records available online, please visit our Family and Workhouse history page.

Workhouse and family history resources

Library resources