North Norfolk Museums and Historical Day Trips
Julia Peet, from Lincolnshire, makes regular visits to North Norfolk to enjoy the wide range of museums and interesting day trips it has to offer. Julia and her partner are both retired and prefer visiting cultural and historical sights.
Norfolk has a rich and varied history, with some very interesting historical figures having lived there amongst the rolling fields. These characters are quite famous in their local areas, with their stories and deeds still being spoken of today.
“I love period houses like Sandringham Estate, which is lovely – the house itself is fascinating and the grounds are stunning, especially in the spring and summer. There are plenty of National Trust properties about too. Blickling Hall is particularly fascinating with the history of the Boleyn family.”
“North Norfolk has lots of really interesting museums, like the Thursford Collection: an amazing museum crammed with mechanical organs, fairground rides and steam engines. The icing on the cake is Robert Wolfe, the Wurlitzer Organ impresario, who plays every afternoon in the little theatre. Everything is included in the entry fee – astoundingly good value!”
Henry Blogg Museum
During a recent trip to explore Cromer town, she discovered the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum whilst walking down on the beach.
“The museum used to be housed in the Cromer Lifeboat Station, but has since been moved to a purpose built building which opened in 2006. The current lifeboat station is at the end of Cromer Pier and houses their lifeboat, which can be viewed from above.”
“The museum is dedicated to the life of Henry Blogg, a wonderful mild-mannered fisherman from Cromer who was involved with the RNLI all his working life. He was a Coxswain at Cromer RNLI Station for 37 years and his lifeboat, the HF Bailey, is legendary in the area. The museum actually has the boat as its main feature so you can see exactly what the volunteers were working with. He launched with it 387 times and received numerous medals and awards for his bravery – more than any other lifeboatman in Britain, I believe!
“They have plenty of interesting items and artefacts, with some being donated and the rest collected over a number of years. Definitely our favourite exhibit was the HF Bailey, which has been beautifully and painstakingly restored from almost a wreck.
“There are lots of old photographs of Henry and remarkably, a recording of his voice when he received an award for his service. Henry’s family and life history is explained, and there are also case studies of the most impressive sea rescues made by the Cromer lifeboat crew, with numerous paintings to go with the stories. Some life size model replicas, such as a beach hut and fisherman, help to make the stories more real.”
Museum manager Jacqui Palmer hopes visitors will learn more about what being a lifeboat crew member is all about. She said, “The museum tells amazing stories of ordinary Cromer people doing extraordinary things to help people in trouble at sea. Henry Blogg and his crew were outstanding in their commitment and selflessness but this work still continues today with a new generation of volunteers. Try visiting the museum first and comparing H.F. Bailey to the incredible modern lifeboat at the station on the end of the pier. Technology has advanced but the danger of the sea and the courage of the volunteers remains the same.”
Friendly Staff and Good Facilities
Julia was very complimentary about the staff of the Henry Blogg Museum, who really made her feel welcome and maintained the museum well.
“The staff at the museum were absolutely lovely. Almost all volunteers I imagine, who give up their time to help out this fantastic charity. They were very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful – you could ask them anything about Henry Blogg or the artefacts on show and they made you feel like a valued visitor.”
“The facilities were very good, with a shop selling good quality gifts. There is also a cafe attached to the museum by stairs and lift. We didn’t personally go in but the menu and other people’s food looked nice. Both the shop and café are separately run, but the RNLI and this museum are funded by charity donations, and there are a number of places throughout the museum where you can donate.”
Family Fun for Everyone
Julia would happily recommend the Henry Blogg museum to everyone as a fun, educational day that history buffs and families alike will enjoy.
“The museum is great for children, as well as adults. Upstairs is an area where you can use the old signalling machines and try out Morse code, plus a selection of sou’westers to dress up in and have your photograph taken.
“We always try to support the RNLI by visiting their stations and donating, as we think they’re a very worthwhile charity. The main thing to be learned from this museum is how dangerous it was, and still is, not only to be a fisherman, but to man a lifeboat in those early days, when the crew had to row out to others in distress. It makes you realise what a fantastic contribution these crews make to the safety and wellbeing of anyone out on the sea. They were very brave indeed and deserve to have their heroic efforts remembered.”
Price and Parking
Public parking is available ¼ mile away in Cromer town and admission to the museum is free, but donations are welcomed.
The RNLI Henry Blogg museum is located at the end of the Cromer promenade, a 30 minute drive from Blakeney Cottage Company HQ in Blakeney. Alternatively, you can catch the Coasthopper coach which takes 48 minutes.