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Made by the River exhibition at Ancient House

Brown and beige ceramic bottles

About the Made by the River exhibition

Made by the River tells the engaging story of the town's old riverside industries from the 1800s to the 1980s. Displays featuring evocative names such as Fison's fertilizers, Burrell's steam engines and Bidwells brewery conjure up the sights, sounds and smells of the town's rich industrial heritage.

Postcard showing lighters on the river in Thetford, © Norfolk Museums Service

The ancient town of Thetford grew up on the banks of the rivers Thet and Little Ouse. As the Industrial Revolution gathered pace, it was this location which made the town an important local centre for industry.

Everything from beer brewing to fruit and vegetable canning and malt making has taken place along its riverbanks. Other industries have included the aromatic grinding of coffee beans to the far less fragrant tanning of leather!

The exhibition will explore and celebrate these industries with a variety of products on display, alongside tools used by workers and the stories of some of the people who were employed in the factories and workshops.

The exhibition is being delivered as part of the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme's 'Celebrating River Heritage' Project under the 'Industrious Rivers' strand. It has been made possible with funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Main image: Thetford Beer Bottles and Flagons © Norfolk Museums Service

Traction engine model, cardboard, 1977 Model of Burrell 6 horse power © Norfolk Museums Service
Pair of maltster's shoes, malt fork and shovel with malt tester © Norfolk Museums Service

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This exhibition is included in general admission.

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