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Plenty to see and try at the Museum of East Anglian Life’s Craft and Steam Weekend




Museum volunteer Brian Hurr with a 1919 Walsh and Clark ploughing engine ANL-150908-222231009
Museum volunteer Brian Hurr with a 1919 Walsh and Clark ploughing engine ANL-150908-222231009

From spinning to hay ricks and steam to petrol power, bygone Suffolk was on show for the weekend in Stowmarket.

The Museum of East Anglian Life’s Steam and Crafts Weekend brought together country crafts and all kinds of farm and transport machinery.

Zoe Rimmer spinning Jacob sheep fleece
Zoe Rimmer spinning Jacob sheep fleece

You could find out how cottagers spun their wool or watch a team building a hay rick on a special frame, made by Garrets of Leiston, designed to stand they hay off the ground so air could circulate and rats would be kept out.

Though there were steam powered road rollers and traction engines, not everything that looked like a traction engine was. The museum’s 1919 Walsh and Clark ploughing engine is often mistaken for a steam traction engine but is actually paraffin powered.

Curator Lisa Harris explained: “Farmers wouldn’t believe a little tractor could do the work so Walsh and Clark build something that looked like a traction engine.

“They weren’t very successful and only 25 were made but 15 of those were used within five miles of the museum.”

Enthusiasts gather round a classic Ferguson tractor
Enthusiasts gather round a classic Ferguson tractor

But the little tractors were well represented, too, with the earliest being a 1900 Titan. Visitors could also book the chance to drive a classic tractor or a traction engine.

Lisa said: “It’s nice to get people doing something they’ve always dreamed of doing because the grin goes from ear to ear.”

Two beautifully restored Dodge trucks: the green one dates from 1956 and the red one from 1935
Two beautifully restored Dodge trucks: the green one dates from 1956 and the red one from 1935
A team starts building a hay rick on the Garret frame, which was made in Leiston
A team starts building a hay rick on the Garret frame, which was made in Leiston


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