Maharajah Duleep Singh had a great affection for the historical town of Thetford and so did Prince Frederick, he noticed how empty the town was without a museum of its own and decided it was time that Thetford should have its own exhibiting house. In 1921 the Mayor of Thetford consulted Prince Frederick Duleep Singh about setting up a museum in the town.
The Ancient House, c.1900
White Hart Street, c.1905
The Ancient House, c.1910
The Ancient House, c.1920
The Prince very generously responded by purchasing the old Tudor House in White Hart Street, known as the ‘Ancient House’ and presented it to the Mayor and Corporation of Thetford for this purpose.
Prince Frederick Duleep Singh (Standing on right, wearing a fur coat) with the Duchess of Grafton (centre) and the Mayor of Thetford
The 15th Century house was carefully restored at an estimated cost of £550 to which Prince Frederick contributed. The Duchess of Grafton officially opened the museum on the 11th December 1924. To start the museum, Prince Frederick gave many relics and artefacts of local history from his own collection.
In 2004 the museum closed for major renovations, and a year later it opened as a large and extended exhibiting house renamed ‘Museum of Thetford Life’.
The museum houses many relics of the generous Prince and his family, including a family photo album, the bible presented to Maharajah Duleep Singh by the Earl of Dalhousie in 1854 as a parting gift, military uniform of the prince from the Norfolk Yeomanry, and many original prints and photographs.
On the 12 March 2008, the marble gravestone of Maharani Jind Kaur was unveiled at a ceremony at the Ancient House Museum where it will be on permanent display. The unveiling ceremony was conducted by the Mayor of Thetford Robert Kybird with guests including the High Sheriff of Norfolk and the Mayoress of Thetford.
for more on the Maharani click here)
Address: White Hart Street, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 1AA
Telephone: 01842 752599
Website: Thetford Museum of Life