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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Bank Holiday outings

Had my father down from York for his bank holiday weekend visit, in an effort to keep him occupied we tend to go on outings to various steam orientated places or museums. The first place we went on Saturday was Leiston Longshop Museum at Leiston, Suffolk. The museum is in the remains of the early works of Richard Garrett Engineering, maker of Steam Engines, Traction Engines, Steam lorries and general engineers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Garrett_%26_Sons
This is only a small museum but the visit was interesting, Richard Garrett and family where very entrepreneurial, the company ran from 1778 to closure in 1981 with a whole range of products from small agricultural tools to large steam and diesel engines and in the companies final guise manufactured engineering machines, laundry machines and plastic manufacturing equipment.

The long shop was the first example in the UK of a "Flow" production
line inspired by a meeting with Henry Ford at a trade show, sub assemblies
been produced on an upstairs gallery, then lowered and assembled
in a flow line below.

View from Long Shop gallery.

"Sirapite" Leiston works unusual shunting engine.

After spending some time at the museum we went for a radioactive lunch at Sizewell beach cafe just yards from Sizewell "A" and "B" Nuclear reactors.
Grey day at Sizewell. De-commissioned Sizewell "A" in foreground,
Sizewell "B" in round dome behond. Plenty of beach fisherman
catching fish, probably due to cooling water raising the temperature of the sea.

Sunday we all went to Gressenhall Workhouse and Farm Museum which was holding a war weekend, so a lot of military vehicles on show, both ladies and gents all dressed up in 1930's uniforms and civvies.
Another interesting museum, telling the story of the Workhouse and inhabitants, interesting tales of Norfolk village life, and with the farm showing early farming methods.
Village shop.

Supposedly the oldest working car in Norfolk - Panhard Et Levesor.

Farm equipment from local farms.

Playing soldiers.

Pretty realistic outpost.
Real rat down on the farm.

Front of the workhouse.

Monday it was back to steam related stuff with a visit to Forncett Industrial Steam Museum, this was a bank holiday remember, and it was shut! Fortunately the owners wife was about and as we had made a special journey, although not that far, she opened up for father and I with a short guided tour.
An interesting history to the place, the owners father had built the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway so the son decided to restore a small industrial steam engine in his garden shed as a hobby, the hobby grew and the garden shed is now the museum, once his interest was known he was offered further engines, these getting bigger and bigger and the museum was literally built around the engines.
Its shut dad!

Vickers Armstrong engine used as standy for raising London's Tower Bridge.

Woolf Compound beam engine from a Yorkshire waterworks.

Robey Tandem mill engine from Sleaford Maltings, used to power mill grinders and equipment.

Good to have the personal tour and hear some of the stories of how the engines where donated and put together on site with just a handfull of friends and family. Just a pity it was not a steam up day which is generally on the first Sunday of each month. Every engine is worked in sequence on steam up days and all powered by steam from an industrial boiler, some museums use compressed air to drive their machines.

After the museum we had a tour of the area in the TR7. We where actually looking for a herb farm but took a wrong turn down this chaps drive!
Rather nice pad, Rainthorpe Hall, beat a hasty retreat in case he set the
gamekeepers on us.

After lunch on Monday we then went on a bike ride, now dad is 76, me 55, dad still rides everywhere and left me standing, gasping for breath and with akey legs after at least a 15 mile ride.

Alburgh Church.

So that was it, a lovely weekend over, dad cycled from Harleston to Thetford train station on Tuesday morning, around 30 miles! I could hardly sit down at work!

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