BBC Domesday Project

Extracts about Wreningham

Images are BBC copyright reproduced courtesy of the British Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

We have a collection of Wreningham text pages and one photograph from the mid-1980s BBC Domesday Project.  We understand much of our local submission work was coordinated by Wreningham School although the written language style suggests much of the material would probably have been edited by schoolteachers or other local adults!

Details and origins of the BBC’s national project are described in the box further down this page. 

Wreningham’s content, providing interesting local perspectives from that time, was divided into topics which are shown below.

The mid-1980s saw the 900th anniversary of the post Norman invasion’s original Domesday Book.  With this anniversary in mind, the BBC set up a national project for communities across the land to create and preserve a record of their own 1980s daily lives.  1986 saw the publication of all the collected material which was made available in sets of “laser discs”.  As is the way with some technologies, laser discs did not prove popular;  the discs and their players quickly became obsolete. As a result, the stored media – mostly a combination of text and still images, became inaccessible to the vast majority.

The published 1986 text was formatted and displayed in a “Teletext” style.  This was a method developed for presenting text in a colourful and graphic style with the advantage of requiring modest amounts of media storage space.  Back in the 1980s, storing bulk data in compact commercial devices was still in its infancy.

Computer experts based at both the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park and the Centre for Computing History at Cambridge have since created equipment capable of re-reading the old laser discs and the original information is now accessible online.  There is a website where anyone can interact with the original content.  Modern users should be aware they will be confronted by an “emulation” of the “very clunky” methods employed by the original 1980s system.  If you want to try your hand, it is recommended you read their instructions first; try not to become too impatient with the process!  

For the curious, more information about the supporting technology used in the BBC Domesday Project can be found here.

The Wreningham content shown here has come from the above referenced online resource.  The BBC, who are the copyright holders of this material, have kindly granted us permission to display the various Wreningham pages on this website.  

See more about:

the Ashwren Drama Group on this page.

Wreningham School on this page.

Wreningham Village Hall on this page.

the Wreningham Raceway (“trotting track”) on this page.

An interesting piece of information has emerged about the Bernard Matthews turkey operation at Glebe Farm – referenced on one of the above pages. It appears the Wreningham turkey farm was run by Bernard Matthews’ sister – who had lived at the adjacent house.

As stated above, Wreningham,’s original submission to the BBC appears to have been largely coordinated by the school which served (and still serves) Wreningham, Ashwellthorpe and Fundenhall.  Hence the topics and their 20 numbered pages were shared between the three locations.  On this website we have limited ourselves to aspects specific to Wreningham – hence the gaps and non-sequential numbering of the reproduced pages.

Scroll to Top