Wednesday 23 October 2019

Dad's Army Museum

Over the weekend I and my family took a short trip to Norfolk to visit a couple of museums. I'll post some pictures of the others later in the week but the main focus of our trip was the Dad's Army Museum in Thetford. For those outside the UK, I'm not sure how much you'll know about this classic TV comedy from the late 60's & 70's. Set in WWII it was a respectfully light-hearted look at the Home Guard, the armed citizen militia that supported the British Army on home soil. Many of the stories featured in the series were drawn from real experiences and it is a wonderful homage to this typically British response to the very real threat of Nazi invasion. 

Needless to say, the Hadley Household are all fans of this TV series and despite the fact that the episodes are over four decades old they still make us laugh. We have been trying to visit the Dad's Army Museum for a while but it is run by volunteers it isn't open every day of the week, so when we have been in the area before we have always been there on the wrong day! This time we planned the whole weekend around our visit, determined not to miss out again. Much of the memorabilia displayed is unique and gives a very clear picture of how the BBC crew and actors effectively took over the town (and its hotels) for weeks on end each summer. Many scenes were shot in Thetford and the surrounding countryside which doubled for the fictitious Walminton-on-Sea in the series. 

The Dad's Army Museum is behind the council offices in Thetford (where many of the outside scenes were shot) and is very well signposted. 

Poster from the first movie version of the series. 

Getting a dressing down from Capt Mannering....Silly Boy! 

Lead figures of the characters made by Good Soldiers of Stevenage

More toy soldiers of the characters in different scales. 

The 'Butchers Van' of Corporal Jack Jones is stored at the nearby Burrell Museum. This is the original vehicle used in the series. It has had several restorations and is often seen at events around the country. 

Jone's improvised 'Pistol Ports' in the side of the van. There were also some in the original roof (now replaced) which featured in several episodes. 

I can't get my kids to dress up any more so I guess I'll have to do it! 

The museum is Free entry (a rarity these days) and is open every Saturday from March 23rd through to November 30th and on Tuesdays in the Norfolk School Holidays, so October 22nd was the last Tuesday until July next year. Its run by volunteers and visitors of all ages are welcome. Its not a big museum, just two rooms a tea room and gift shop so allow about an hour for your visit...but do visit, its very interesting and if you have ever seen the series it's guaranteed to have you quoting "Sill Boy" and "Do you think that's wise?" and a dozen other catchphrases. 


  1. Now this is somewhere I would love to visit!

    1. Definitely check the opening days before going. Its run by volunteers so opening days are limited, but on the flip side it is free entry and its not often you can say that about a museum!

  2. Replies
    1. Lol. Its funny you say that because there was a panel in the museum about Pikes scarf. When Ian Lavender was creating the character of Pike he had a rummage in the BBC props department and found a scarf in what he described as "Aston Villa" colours. However on the day they were shooting the closing credits the scarf was in the props van on its way back to London so he had to borrow a blue toweling scarf from one of the crew. Little bit of trivia for you.


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