Banham, Norfolk

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St Mary's church - - 1408886.jpg
St Mary The Virgin, Banham
Banham is located in Norfolk
 Banham shown within Norfolk
Area  16.17 km2 (6.24 sq mi)
Population 1,443 
   – density  89/km2 (230/sq mi)
OS grid reference TM065880
Civil parish Banham
District Breckland
Shire county Norfolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NORWICH
Postcode district NR16
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
List of places

Coordinates: 52°27′03″N 1°02′15″E / 52.45091°N 1.03746°E / 52.45091; 1.03746

Banham is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. The village is about 7 miles (11 km) north of Diss, 12 miles (19 km) east of Thetford and 20 miles (32 km) south west of Norwich.[1] It is home to Banham Zoo, a privately owned attraction that has been open for more than 40 years and now has over two thousand animals.

The civil parish has an area of 16.17 km2 and in the 2001 census had a population of 1,443 in 573 households. For purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of Breckland.[2]

The village was the birthplace on 17 April 1795 of the schoolteacher, writer, poet and hymn writer Emily Taylor.[3]


Acorn Park School is a registered children's home and school for children and young people with autistic spectrum disorders and is part of the Acorn Care and Education Group.[4]

Banham Marshalls College, an independent school in the village, was subject to Norfolk's biggest ever child cruelty investigation along with another school in Banham which was known as The Old Rectory School.

As a result of the investigation into the schools, which were schools for children with special needs that 'specialised' in Emotional and Behaviourial Disorders, the proprietor of each and former head teacher, George Robson, received a two-year suspended prison sentence.[5] George Robson died the day following his sentencing.[citation needed]

The charges were brought by ex-pupils of the school dating as far back as 1976. Most of the charges related to The Old Rectory School, although some children from Banham Marshalls College had made complaints, some of which resulted in the conviction of David Clarke.[6][dead link]

Robson's brother, Anthony, was also sentenced for crimes committed at The Old Rectory School.[7]

Robert Wilson, a teacher and later principal, was also convicted of acts of cruelty involving vulnerable children but was later cleared on appeal against the conviction on the basis that the judge made an error in his summing-up. Given that evidence was not consistent and the judge had misled the jury, the conviction was deemed to be unsafe.[8]

Banham Marshalls College was closed down by the DfES in 2003. The site is now occupied by Acorn Park School which has no connection with the former Banham Marshalls College.[9]


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