The first evidence of people living in the area comes from the stone tools they left behind. While flint is not local to the Isle of Ely it was mined in great quantities in the chalk lands of Norfolk and Suffolk. Grimes Graves is a Neolithic flint mine where there was a huge and profitable […]

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As you enter the gallery note the orginal stonework of a window of the gaol which has been left on view. The fossil record is sparse with the fens being wetlands, but during the Jurassic era the land was in fact seabed. Most of the fossils that are available at the museum are those sea […]

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In the end the Romans contained the fenland rather than conquering it. The people of Ely would undoubtedly have been involved in the great Iceni rebellion led by Boudica in 60 AD but the fens were a bit too much for the Romans to bother with – they saw little profit to be gained from […]

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After the Romans had gone (circa 420 AD) the Angles and Saxons moved in to fill the vacuum. These may have been the first to have a permanent settlement on the island rather than the fen edge at Cratendune just south of the modern city. It is in the age of the Saxons that Ely […]

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It is in this room that you will get the clearest picture of the island of Ely. The three–dimensional map shows the contours of the land and you can see much of it was, and is, below sea level. The room shows many diverse objects all of which were an important part of the working […]

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Take a moment to sit in the debtors’ cell that is opened for that purpose. Look around at the board walls, the floor and listen to the noise of the passing traffic. Try to imagine what it would be like two or three hundred years ago. As you contemplate the condemned cell remember that this […]

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For a small town Ely had a large number of public houses: 38 in 1851 rising to around 60 by the end of the century. Many of these would have brewed their own beer and many of them would have been ‘front parlour bars’. The town did have several full–scale commercial breweries however and the […]

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Dedicated in part to the Cambridgeshire Regiment, members of which fought, suffered imprisonment and died in the Far East, this room highlights the importance of the East of England during World War II. The map shows the uncountable number of fighter and bomber airfields that there were in the region. This being the part of […]

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