Old hands share skills with learners at steam weekend in Stowmarket

Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life
Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life
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Steam clouds billowed and engines rumbled across Stowmarket last weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life’s Steam and Crafts Weekend.

Twelve people took part in the two-day steam driving training course, learning the basics on machines brought in by local owners - some with generations of steam engine drivers in their families.

Stowmarket, Suffolk. Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life - Pictured is local artist Katie Green ANL-141108-000218009

Stowmarket, Suffolk. Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life - Pictured is local artist Katie Green ANL-141108-000218009

Participants got grubby cleaning out their engines and tackled a mini assault course, with obstacles to dodge and spaces to reverse into.

Museum curator Lisa Harris said: “Nowadays most of those who drive steam engines do it for pleasure, and being able to share that pleasure is out of this world.

“Everyone taking part had a smile on their face, which was a wonderful thing to see.”

Nearly 700 visitors enjoyed the weekend’s entertainment which included craft activities to see and try, displays of equipment including 15 historic tractors, and machinery demonstrations including a reaper binder, a precursor to the combine harvester.

Stowmarket, Suffolk. Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life - pictured is Alan Downs with a 4inch scale McLaren Showmans Traction Engine ANL-141108-000338009

Stowmarket, Suffolk. Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life - pictured is Alan Downs with a 4inch scale McLaren Showmans Traction Engine ANL-141108-000338009

All the museum’s usual exhibits were also open to visit.

Ms Harris believes it is important to keep these historic skills and crafts alive.

“The things in the future are all based on the things in the past,” she said.

“To still see working steam engines, and for future generations to enjoy them, it is up to us to pass on that knowledge.”

Stowmarket, Suffolk. Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life - Pictured is David Silverstone and Kate Hird in a 1938 Austin 301 commercial Truck ANL-141108-000250009

Stowmarket, Suffolk. Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life - Pictured is David Silverstone and Kate Hird in a 1938 Austin 301 commercial Truck ANL-141108-000250009

Stowmarket, Suffolk. Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life - pictured is Ron Frith of the East ANglian Meccano Set ANL-141108-000154009

Stowmarket, Suffolk. Steam and crafts weekend at the Museum of East Anglian Life - pictured is Ron Frith of the East ANglian Meccano Set ANL-141108-000154009