The old Rustin' ruston at Gada Bridge (Part One) ... by Rachel Borg

Friday, October 27, 2017

History is strange – and interesting (but not to everybody).  Sometimes there is an enormous amount of history packed away into very small places and spaces.  Some might even rightly say that Norfolk is one such place; but what about those REALLY small spaces.  The kinds of spaces and places you might walk, or ride, or drive through or past in the blink of an eye, and leave just as easily without as much as a backward glance.  Those little way-out out of the way places; the ones where we don’t even realise that history is unfolding right in front of our eyes.

Perhaps we don’t ever stop to wonder at what happened there once so long ago because it doesn’t look a lot like history to us as we pass it by, there are no sign posts, no interpretive plaques or monuments, no busts or scale models, and no signs of long-gone pomp or ceremony; just a bend along a winding rutted road, a large rusting old piece of iron slowly melting away into the undergrowth, or a rundown fence of rotting wood and flaky old paint falling away into a comforting earth.

People who work with the past on a daily basis such as our trusty historians, curators, archivists, museum employees, archaeologists, researchers, interpretive officers, linguists who specialise in language reconstruction, conservators, and restoration specialists have all generally been born with, or have developed an intense curiosity about what went on before them, what happened there, why it happened and who did what and why.  They are creatures perhaps more inclined or accustomed to recognise the signs of an earlier existence than us commoners might; it is after all their life’s work and of course their keen eye for detail and professional training can open up for the rest of us a wonderfully vivid and evocative new—or should we say ‘old’—world. 

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