Suffolk Archives Launches New Escape Room Series and Wider Events Programme

Suffolk Archives brand-new Escape Room series kicks off on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 June with two themed rooms which allow participants to delve a little deeper into the stories of two of the fascinating individuals featured in the current Pride in Suffolk’s Past exhibition: Louisa Garrett Anderson and Nina Layard.

Contestants are invited to pit their wits against the Suffolk Archives Escape Room Masterminds, decoding cryptic messages, solving riddles, and gathering clues in a race to uncover these inspiring stories before time runs out!

Both Louisa Garrett Anderson and Nina Layard lived from the late 1800s to early 1900s and although never openly acknowledged at the time, had female companions who supported them fully in both their professional and private lives.

Aldeburgh born Louisa was a surgeon and suffragette who lived and worked her whole life alongside her partner Dr Flora Murray. Even in death the two women remain together, buried in a shared grave under the inscription ‘We have been gloriously happy’.

Nina was an Ipswich-based archaeologist, prehistorian and poet, who lived her life with Mary F. Outram, the two women often travelling together to take part in excavations. The couple shared an inseparable bond and are buried together in the same grave in Kelvedon Churchyard.

The first edition of the Escape Rooms series has been inspired by the discoveries made during the research phase of the Pride in Suffolk’s Past exhibition, which uses original archival documents to explore and share previously hidden experiences, in the hope that future generations can better understand how things have changed over time, and what work is still to be done.

The series continues later in the year with ‘Haunted House’ themed events taking place on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 October at The Hold, as well as on Tuesday 26 October at Suffolk Archives Lowestoft, as part of the annual NessFest celebration. 

This alternative venture for the archives service has been introduced as part of the newly created events programme, which covers the period from July to December 2021. A new brochure has been produced and is available to pick up from your local branch of Suffolk Archives, your local library, and other venues. It can also be downloaded from the Suffolk Archives website:

To celebrate the launch of the new programme, anyone booking charged events by 30 June 2021 can save 20% off all tickets purchased by quoting ‘Early Bird Discount’ at checkout. This includes bookings for the forthcoming Escape Room events.

Councillor Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Public Protection, & Communities, said: “It is really exciting to see the breadth of the events programme that Suffolk Archives are offering this year and we look forward to expanding this even further across the county in the future. The creation of The Hold on the waterfront in Ipswich gives us so many new opportunities to engage with Suffolk residents and visitors in interactive and immersive ways and we are very grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and all our other funding partners who have enabled this to happen.”

The Pride in Suffolk’s Past exhibition is the result of a wider project forming part of Sharing Suffolk Stories, the countywide National Lottery Heritage Fund supported programme of activities which enables communities to discover more about the history of where they live and to share it in new and engaging ways.    

Booking for the Pride in Suffolk’s Past Escape Rooms is available through the Suffolk Archives website:

Exhibition tickets are free of charge but must be booked in advance:

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