Rural re-use and Recycling between the Wars

Rural re-use and Recycling between the Wars

Ringstead is a village in North West Norfolk, not far from Hunstanton. Early in 2016, a project team from What East Anglia Threw Away, excavated the village rubbish dump using garbology methodology. The site had been used between 1922 and c. 1960, but we focused on...
Brickworks and Recycling

Brickworks and Recycling

In Victorian times, 90% of refuse that was collected (by weight) was ash from domestic and industrial coal fires. The Victorians called it ‘dust’, and the Public Health Act of 1875 required every household to have a receptacle, called a dust-bin, into...
Kirton Rectory, Suffolk

Kirton Rectory, Suffolk

When Tom Lucking went foraging for old rubbish dumps in the village of Kirton near Felixstowe, he came upon a filled-in pond to the rear of the churchyard, on land formerly belonging to the rectory. The site had all the tell-tale signs, being tucked away in a corner,...
Kings Lynn Town Rubbish Dump

Kings Lynn Town Rubbish Dump

In July 2015, Tom Licence and members of Norfolk Bottles obtained permission to dig on the site of the King’s Lynn town ash-yard, which was the sorting point for refuse to the south of the town from 1883 until c. 1940. In later years the land was put to various...
A Norfolk Rectory: Part 3

A Norfolk Rectory: Part 3

During the first two days of our dig at the Norfolk rectory, we had discovered that the rector purchased imported wines and mineral waters, and that a few re-usable bottles were discarded among his rubbish. On the third and final day a few more interesting details...
A Norfolk Rectory: Part 2

A Norfolk Rectory: Part 2

Having discovered a large pit containing rubbish thrown away by the rector George France in the 1870s, we decided to hire a 1.5 ton digger, to extend our excavations, for we still had little sense of the size or gradient of the filled-in hole. Tom, operating the...
A Norfolk Rectory: Part 1

A Norfolk Rectory: Part 1

This summer, I was invited to inspect a hollow in the grounds of a beautiful rectory in south Norfolk. The area lies to the rear of the rectory garden, screened by trees, and the owners had discovered bottles and old metal buckets there while planting shrubs. When I...
Porter Bottle

Porter Bottle

Porter was a strong beer, first marketed in the 1820s and sold in stoneware bottles, which were larger than ginger beer bottles and possessed a double rim and a typical ‘hard shouldered’ shape, as in the picture. This particular bottle was made by Joseph...
All the Wrong Rubbish

All the Wrong Rubbish

On the hottest days of June, I joined Tom and Chris to search for Victorian rubbish on a farm at Monks Eleigh in Suffolk. Mary, the owner, told us that the rubbish had been thrown into the old farm pond and capped with rubble from the farm labourers’ cottage,...
Clearance dump at Falkenham

Clearance dump at Falkenham

On Tuesday 24 March, I went with Tom Lucking to investigate a dump in a farmyard at Falkenham, near Felixstowe. The edge of the dump, a black ashy seam containing bottles and crockery, had been exposed the previous summer during operations to widen the pond. By...
Village Dump at Castle Rising

Village Dump at Castle Rising

On the weekend of 15-16 November, 2014, with the permission of Lord Howard, students from the UEA and members of the Castle Rising History Group, under the supervision of CEAS Director Dr Tom Licence, and with the assistance of Sophie Cabot of the Norfolk Young...
Household Crockery

Household Crockery

Have you ever wondered how the Victorians survived without tupperware, enamel pans, Pyrex and plastic? The answer is that they used far more crockery – all sorts of ceramic vessels, which broke with great regularity and emerge in thick and densely packed layers in...
What is a ‘Context’?

What is a ‘Context’?

Imagine that you’re filling  in a large hole with  domestic rubbish. The year  is 1895, so you throw away  much less than we do today.  Indeed, it takes several  weeks to gather enough  bottles, tins and broken  crockery to fill the bucket standing by the kitchen...