One of our region’s best-known heritage attraction is the Thursford collection in Norfolk. Founded by the late George Cushing, who had worked with steam and was among the very first to collect engines for preservation, the collection contains some very interesting steam engines, organs and fairground rides.This bank holiday, we take a look at some of the engines seen in the early days of the collection, or before…
Garrett No. 33902 “Medina” joined the collection alongside Burrell No. 2780. Both had worked in our region with the Presland family from Essex. “Medina” attended events in steam at Thursford and also at Raynham Hall near Fakenham.
George Cushing had a fine collection of Aveling & Porter Steam Rollers. He purchased these engines at a time they were deemed to be only fit for scrap and managed to make a living with them.
Here we see Aveling & Porter 8-Ton C Type No. 10785 ‘PD 7738’ working near Cromer in 1965.
This delightful Ruston, Proctor General Purpose Engine No. 39872, Reg.No. RT 1487 is seen at a 1960s Bysteam event . George Cushing always commented how well a Ruston engine performed on the belt, and this one was often used for threshing in his ownership.
Engines manufactured by Aveling & Porter were are very common at Thursford. Here we have a fine example of an 1928 Aveling & Porter Class AM Steam Tractor No.12186. The engine seen at an early rally with “Medina” standing behind.
Burrell Showmans Road Locomotive No. 2780, “King Edward VII” seen during its working life for Charles Thurston with his bioscope show. Built as an 8nhp showman’s engine, in 1919 she was returned to Burrells for overhaul and to be fitted with an exciter dynamo, with a longer smokebox being fitted for the purpose in order to work with Thurston’s new scenic ride. Four of the Thurston family’s Burrells are in the Thursford Collection.
As well as the large collection of steam engines, Thursford is home to a number of mechanical organs, including this German Wellershaus fairground organ. You may recognise it from the “Dad’s Army” episode “Everybody’s Trucking” along with a Burrell roller from the Bressingham museum. Seen here at a Bysteam rally.
Thursford have the only known surving pair of Aveling & Porter Ploughing engines, 8890 “Field Marshal Haig” 8891 “General Byng” both built in 1918. The image shows engine 8890 ploughing at Thursford in the 1960’s or 70’s.
Another of Charles Thurston’s Burrell showman’s engines, no. 3200, “Unity”. The engine is two-speed, was built in 1910 and is seen here in Cambridge.
A lovely picture of Ruston, Proctor General Purpose Engine 39872 built in 1910 seen at an early Norfolk rally.