Vision Impaired History Lovers Get Hands-On With Norwich’s Shoemaking History

A dozen vision impaired history lovers were given a special behind-the-scenes introduction to Norwich’s shoe manufacturing heritage when they received a special sensory experience at the Bridewell Museum of Norwich.

The members of sight loss charity Vision Norfolk’s Heritage Group were invited to a special session where they were able to get hands on with a variety of artefacts from the museum’s extensive collection of items linked to the city’s shoemaking past, from shoe lasts, clickers and press knives to vintage footwear.

A particular highlight was the unveiling of a newly-discovered rare 1954 Norvic Shoes advertisement in Braille, which one of the group was able to read out loud – the first time that museum staff had heard the exact wording of the advert.

Assistant curator at the museum Bethan Holdridge talked about Norwich’s long history in the shoe trade, illustrating their talk with many items from the museum’s collection, which the group were able to handle.

“It was great to welcome Vision Norfolk’s heritage group back to the museum for the first time since lockdown,” said Hannah Henderson, curator of community history at the museum.  “You could hear a pin drop when the Braille was being read – magic.”

Vision Norfolk’s Heritage Group is one of a number of social and leisure activities organised by Vision Norfolk for vision impaired people across the county.  For more details of all the activities organised by the charity, visit

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