Step Back in Time
The Bygones Museum, incorporating The History of Farming Exhibition, invites visitors to step back in time. The Museum, with its exhibition of domestic and agricultural memorabilia, complements the grandeur of the Hall and allows visitors to relive memories, or learn about life in times gone by.
The Bygones Museum is housed in the stable block built by the second Earl in the 1850s to accommodate the carriages, carriage horses and riding horses of visitors to the Hall, but which, with the arrival of the motorcar, gradually fell into disuse.
In 1979, the buildings took on a new lease of life when Lord Leicester acquired from Dick Joice, host of the popular 'Bygones' series on Anglia TV, his vast collection of old agricultural and domestic items, for which he was seeking a permanent home.
Today, the Museum houses a vast collection of more than 4,000 fascinating exhibits ranging from mechanical toys, household implements and agricultural tools, to vintage cars and massive steam engines; dating from the Victorian period to the mid-1900s. Informative displays further highlight how our homes, lifestyle and various trades have changed over the past century.
History of Farming Exhibition
Part of the Museum is the History of Farming Exhibition which has been designed to help understand a little more of how a great estate such as Holkham works and how it has evolved.
In the 18th century, Norfolk was the cradle of the Agrarian Revolution with great landowners such as Thomas William Coke, first Earl of Leicester (of the second creation), known affectionately as 'Coke of Norfolk' and Charles Viscount Townshend, known as 'Turnip' Townshend, revolutionising all aspects of farming. Along with others such as the fifth Duke of Bedford and the agriculturist Robert Bakewell (1725-1795), these landowners established the Royal Agricultural Society and brought all farming interests together.
The exhibition features, among many other displays, the model of a farm built by Coke of Norfolk on the estate, complete with all the buildings relating to the new methods developed at Holkham. There is also an illuminated explanation of the four-course rotation farming system, which was used and written into all Holkham tenancy agreements.
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The Bygones Museum is one of many independent museums in Norfolk. For more information visit www.museumsnorfolk.org.uk