I would have never thought a humble museum such as the Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History could be so educating and *enlightening! When I first heard about Fakenham Gas Museum I thought, “What a strange museum! What am I going to see there? Gases? Not interesting!” That was my rather uneducated presumption until I went to see it, and I was *illumined, indeed (*puns intended).
The first part of the tour was a film-viewing on how William Murdoch invented the gas lighting system that eventually made houses and streets brighter at night. After that, Dr. Bridges, the chairman of the museum who was also the tour guide, took us around the place.
Dr Bridges’s immense knowledge of how the former town gas worked cannot be disputed. Throughout the tour he constantly threw in interesting incidents and accounts of people who used to work in the factory. They sure made the visit more meaningful and pleasurable. By his explanations and stories, I have gleaned a wealth of knowledge about gas, its by products and their numerous uses from explosives to soaps, medicines and many other things in between. I will never forget the role coal played during the war, in the battlefield and in domestic affairs. Now we still see a lot of these products in our houses such as baking soda, ammonia, melamine wares, etc. All of this I wouldn’t have learned and understood with such depth by reading books alone.
The museum is run by “Friends of the Museum” volunteers who, I strongly believe, deserve to be called heroes for their selfless desire to keep such a monumental legacy as the Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History.