Sheringham Museum  



Our Collections

Starting with the breath-taking Boat Hall, our ground floor displays showcase Sheringham’s unique collection of lifeboats, placing them alongside historic fishing boats and seaside stories. Peer into a fisherman’s cottage, hear about the miracles of boat building and wonder at the many crafts and traditions of everyday fisher-family life.


On the first floor you will find diverse displays include the charming, colourful shops of Shannock Street, two changing exhibition galleries and the action-packed Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm Visitor Centre – designed by one of the teams behind the Science Museum. You’ll find out more about Sheringham during the war years and about the remarkable Upcher family of Sheringham Park. Then you can set out along the gantry for spell-binding views of the great life boats below.

Our Olive Edis gallery now offers information about the life and achievements of this amazing woman. Based in Sheringham for about fifty years, she operated a successful photographic studio where she made portraits of the great and the good - princes, prime ministers, poets and (especially) our Sheringham fishermen. World traveller, music critic, award-winning photographer and a much-respected community member, she lived a very full life. Visitors can photograph each other, copying Olive's distinctive style in our recreation of her studio.

Sheringham and Great Yarmouth both claim the less-than-enviable distinction of being the first town in Great Britain to have been bombed from the air. Whatever the truth - and it seems to depend on whose watch is to be believed - it was a most significant event, and we have gathered items from the collection to illustrate the story.

Our new second floor houses our last lifeboat. It's a rigid inflatable Atlantic 75 class inshore boat, purchased by the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows on its retirement from service and very generously donated to the museum.

This floor also provides our major summer exhibition space, which doubles as our education area for both school and adult education during the rest of the year, and our members' Research Room.

There is a lot to see at Sheringham Museum - this review has hardly touched the collection. The history of the town is rich with stories of brave lifeboatmen, amazing women, explorers, great musicians, artists, scientists, minor royalty, sportsmen ..... come and let us tell you about them!

Our featured collections include:

LIFEBOAT AND FISHING BOAT COLLECTION (20th century) Sheringham is the only known place in the world to possess five of its original lifeboats with a continuous service span from 1894 through to 1990. Four of these lifeboats are housed in the Museum. The Trust also owns three traditional fishing boats built in Sheringham by local craftsmen.

Click HERE to see an introductory video about our Lifeboat collection - or HERE to learn more about our collection of fishing boats. 

OLIVE EDIS (born 3.9.1876, died 28.12.1955) Olive Edis was a renowned portrait photographer whose subjects included members of the Royal Family, Prime Ministers and Sheringham fishermen. She toured Canada on a commission from the Canadian Pacific Railway and was the only one of 71 shortlisted photographers to visit WW1 battlefield sites to record the work of women’s services on behalf of the National War Museum, now the Imperial war Museum. We have some original works plus copies of others.

HEWITT COLLECTION (1906-1926) The Hewitt Collection consists of some 750 glass negatives and 300 glass lantern slides charting the social life of a local family. A social record of costume and family activities and five family scrapbooks filled with ephemera and clippings.

BOAT BUILDING TOOLS AND ARTIFACTS (1896 - 1981) Boat building tools from the Emery family, one of the five main boatbuilding families in the area.

THE ELLIS PRATT COLLECTION (1880 - 1990) A collection of working tools, consumer items and other artefacts from a local saddler, leather worker and general retailer whose business existed in Sheringham from the late 1880s to 1990.

JOHN CRASKE (born 1881 – died 1943) John Craske, from a Sheringham fishing family, produced primitive paintings and embroideries. The museum collection of his work includes a painting on the lid of a ‘bait box’.

TOM ARMES (born 1894 – died 1963) A collection of original drawings and paintings of the Sheringham area, by the artist Tom Armes who lived in Sheringham. The collection includes several of his works used as advertisements by British Rail.

MICK BENSLEY (born 1944 - living artist) Mick Bensley is an artist who was born in 1944 and brought up in Sheringham, he now lives in Brighton but still produces work associated with Sheringham and lifeboat history. The museum has a collection of paintings and prints including dramatic rescues by Sheringham Lifeboats, beach and local scenes.

GANSEY COLLECTION of fisherman’s woollen sweaters. Traditionally the Gansey or Guernsey is a hand-knitted (or later machine-knitted and hand-finished) garment made for fishermen who required warm and hard wearing clothing that would resist the sea spray.

*** Special viewing arrangements:

We have many thousands of artefacts in our collections and (as with most museums) many delicate items are held in environmentally-safe archival storage and displayed only from time to time. This practice enables us to carry out documentation, research and conservation work as necessary and also present changing exhibitions to improve visitor experiences. If you have an interest in seeing items from a specific collection, please contact the museum, preferably by email (see below) so that we can make arrangements that are mutually suitable.