Photos from the 1930s and 50s – can you help?
Jackie.Hall | December 6, 2011
Clearance excavations of Thetford Priory took place in the 1930s and 1950s, with a break for the Second World War. They were carried out by the Ministry of Works using skilled and unskilled labour, with no resident archaeologist and the level of record keeping was minimal. From the 1930s, we are lucky to have a collection of finds sheets which record what was found where – sometimes it is even possible to identify individual objects within the current English Heritage collections. And in 1939, a number of photos were taken of the excavations themselves (kept in the National Monuments Record). In the 1950s, a formal excavation took place at the east end of the chapter house, which was published, but I’ve not been able to find any records at all of the clearance excavations then, except for occasional notes on the few surviving brown paper finds bags.
Photographs from the 1930s and 1950 excavations could be invaluable. Perhaps they could tell us where this fragment of decorative plasterwork was found, or the painted glass fragments, the pilgrim’s badge or many other objects. Perhaps you, your parents or grandparents once lived or worked at Thetford and have memories or photographs from either of these periods that will help us understand more about what was recovered from where. If so, do get in touch with me, Jackie Hall at jlh60.le.ac.uk. In exchange, I can offer you undying gratitude and a heartfelt acknowledgment in an academic publication – don’t all rush at once.