Netflix's 'The Dig' has a Connection with Culford School
Rebecca Jobbins

Lower Sixth pupil Nick has made the connection between the main character Mr Basil Brown and Culford School.

Netflix has just released The Dig, a drama film directed by Simon Stone, which reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo.

Lower Sixth pupil Nick has made the connection between the main character Mr Basil Brown and Culford School:

In a book written about Culford by the former head of History Mr F.E Watson, he described how a group of Culford students assisted an associate teacher to excavate pottery kilns in West Stow, this gentleman was in fact Mr Basil Brown.

Mr Brown was a self taught Archaeologist and Astronomer who came from a poor background and married a women called Dorothy who was a serving girl at a house near his family farm where they both then lived and worked for the next decade, however, in 1934 his farm collapsed and they were forced to relinquish their tenant on the small holding.

How his connection with the then Culford estate started is unsure, however, he is described as having been grounds staff for the Cadogans which would fit with this past life and with his wife having worked in large houses before, when the East Anglian School bought Culford in 1935, Mr Skinner was intent on keeping many of the former staff to carry on the duties they previously fulfilled with 34 maids being employed up to 1940. 

The exact quote from the book is as follows. 'Among those who served the school, after the move to Culford, were some of the outside staff who served the Cadogans. These became firm favourites of the boys, to whom they showed much kindness and by whom they were greatly respected. One of the must unusual school stokers was the learned archaeologist, Mr. Basil Brown, who was largely instrumental in the excavations of the Sutton Hoo Burial ship near Woodbridge in 1939. There are old boys today who retain a life long interest in archaeology largely due to cycle trips with Mr Brown to West Stow Heath and other places, where he helped them to excavate ancient kilns and discovery pottery'.

Being little more than a footnote in a privately printed 40 year old book I doubt few people know of this relationship between Culford and one of the greatest archaeological finds in the country.

Image via Netflix website