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Time & Tide Wait for no Kipper

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Time -and -tide -museum

Even though Bressingham Steam & Gardens is brilliant there are plenty of amazing museums - The Time & Tide museum in Gt Yarmouth is one of our favourites!

We were lucky enough to catch Philip Miles, Exhibitions Officer at the Time and Tide, between setting up exhibitions to tell us what makes it so great.

What is the Time & Tide museum’s specific theme?

The Time and Tide museum has the tagline “The museum of Gt Yarmouth Life” -  It’s housed in the Tower Herring curing works which was operational from when it was first built in 1880 up until the early 1980’s, when the last kipper was smoked there.

Originally Gt Yarmouth had 2 museums - a social history museum based at the Tollhouse (the old prison) and a maritime museum on the sea front.

Both of those spaces got too full, so in the late 1990’s they’d identified the tower curing works building as a likely site for a new museum.

Since closing the Tower curing works had been left derelict and was in quite a sorry state - funding was sourced from the National Lottery and local councils and, in 2004, a museum combining the collections of both Yarmouth Social History and Maritime history opened on the site.

The maritime museum closed and the Toll house museum was rebranded as a prison museum about prison life in Victorian times - Since then the Time and Tide has functioned as the main museum for Gt Yarmouth.

Can you tell us about your role?

My full job title is a bit long winded - it’s Countywide Exhibitions Officer.

I’m primarily based at Time & Tide museum in Gt Yarmouth but I do get sent out and about all over the county to all the regional Norfolk Museums Service museums.

My Job is to support curators bring exhibitions to Norfolk, helping with all the logistics of moving objects around the county, sorting out paperwork and loan details.

And helping to put on the show - hanging works, getting graphic panels printed, things like that.

It’s a really lovely job - the temporary programme changes every 6 months at Time & Tide and every year at the smaller museums - so every day is different.  We’re already planning shows 3 years ahead!

What’s the most important exhibit at the Time & Tide?

The building is an exhibit in its own right - it’s actually part of the town.

A lot of the interpretation panels relate to the Herring curing process - we’ve still got a lot of the “Smoke Stacks” in the building and there’s still a nice smell of smoked herring which visitors sometimes asked if it’s pumped in, but no, it’s ingrained into the fabric of the building!

In terms of an actual object they are all important but my personal favourite is a 140 year old ships biscuit baked in 1882.

Time -and -Tide -Ships -biscuit

All of the moisture was baked out of those so they would survive a long voyage and it’s still here - It has the date that it was baked printed on it so every year in September we celebrate the biscuits birthday!

We’ve also got a lovely collection of “Scrimshaw” - engraved whales teeth, coconuts and ostrich eggs!

What other activities does the museum run?

The museum gets involved in lots of activities in the town - at the moment we’re helping with some of the heritage Action Zone projects - a English Heritage scheme to revitalise the high street in Gt Yarmouth.

With the combination of rising online shopping and the pandemic there were some beautiful Victorian shop buildings in the high street that had fallen into decline - such as Palmers department store which we lost in January 2020.

We’ve been helping brighten up the shop fronts with photographs from the museum collection in the empty windows.

We also have vibrant children and schools programme starting with our “Little Kippers” programme for under 5’s.  Our normal school session cover all sorts of things like stone age life, Roman life and a session all about the Titanic!

Is there anything we should’ve mentioned?

Do you have any thoughts, comments or views on great regional museums?

Is there anything you think we should have mentioned?

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By Stuart Paterson at 15 Nov 2021, 00:00 AM