Steam-driven machinery will take us back in time at rally

The Strumpshaw Marshall Steam Engine during restoration work. Picture: Scott Bunting

The Strumpshaw Marshall Steam Engine during restoration work. Picture: Scott Bunting - Credit: Archant

Farming 1940s style is coming to Strumpshaw Steam Museum's Autumn Rally in September when three historic machines are reunited to bring in the harvest by steam power.

The Marshall Steam Engine, owned by Strumpshaw Steam Museum, after restoration. Picture: Strumpshaw

The Marshall Steam Engine, owned by Strumpshaw Steam Museum, after restoration. Picture: Strumpshaw Steam Museum - Credit: Archant

The museum's recently restored Marshall steam engine, VF 4183, built in 1928, will work with a Marshall threshing drum and a Marshall straw pitcher, belonging to west Norfolk farmer Roger Coe.

Visitors to the rally on September 2 and 3 will see the three machines processing a crop of corn in a scene not witnessed since Mr Coe's father sold the engine in 1944.

The process of threshing separates the grains of a crop, such as wheat, from its stalks and husks. Before the steam-driven machinery revolutionised this process, it would have been done by gangs of men with hand tools.

Mr Coe's father, Frank, employed around 10 men to run the threshing machinery which was used on his own farm and on contract to other farmers.

The log book of Marshall engine VF 4183 showing its various owners in Norfolk. Picture: Strumpshaw S

The log book of Marshall engine VF 4183 showing its various owners in Norfolk. Picture: Strumpshaw Steam Museum - Credit: Archant


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He said: 'You could do about 10 tons of grain a day with the threshing drum, whereas nowadays, farmers do more than that in an hour.'

The Marshall steam engine, which has undergone extensive restoration, was bought in 1957 by the late Wesley Key, founder of the Strumpshaw Steam Museum.

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It now belongs to his daughter Kiki Angelrath and is looked after by its driver Scott Bunting.

'Scott initiated the restoration and, supported by Mervyn Mayes and many others, put a tremendous amount of work into the project,' she said.

'To say that I am thrilled with the outcome is an understatement and it's great to see the Marshall reunited with Roger Coe's drum and pitcher.'

The Strumpshaw Autumn Rally aims to showcase agricultural machinery from the days of steam and other working demonstrations include wood sawing, stone crushing and road surface laying.

A 19th century apple press will be in operation, extracting juice to make Norfolk cider. There will also be displays of vintage tractors and cars, plus stationary and miniature steam engines.

Craft stalls, trade stands and refreshments will also be available, alongside children's amusements, rides, a bouncy castle and slide.

Working gun dogs and heavy horses will be giving displays. For further information e-mail Mike Curtis at michael.curtis4@gmail.com.

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