Historic steam roller restored at Norfolk museum to family's delight

Geoffrey Walter Ackland's granddaughter Adrienne Wright grandson Colin Lunn and daughter Susan Lunn

Geoffrey Walter Ackland's granddaughter Adrienne Wright grandson Colin Lunn and daughter Susan Lunn next to the restored steam roller at Strumsphaw Museum - Credit: Tom Laird

A family were able to see how a Norfolk museum had painstakingly transformed a cherished award-winning steam roller. 

Strumpshaw Steam Museum was donated an Aveling and Porter Road which was built by Geoffrey Walter Ackland and named Patricia after his wife.

Mr Ackland was an enthusiastic model engineer hobbyist and it took him seven years to build the road roller, which was donated to the museum 18 months ago. 

The restored scale model of an Aveling and Porter Road roller at Strumpshaw Museum which was built by Geoffrey Ackland 

The restored scale model of an Aveling and Porter Road roller at Strumpshaw Museum which was built by Geoffrey Walter Ackland - Credit: Tom Laird

Although Covid put the work on hold after being donated by Mr Ackland's daughter Sue Lunn and her son Colin, the family were able to return on Saturday afternoon to see the finished result. 

Tom Laird, who manages Strumpshaw Steam Museum, said: "Geoffrey’s grandson now lives in Great Yarmouth and asked the museum if we would like to exhibit the roller.  


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"The volunteers thought it was a great model and as the museum has a full sized Aveling and Porter, it was a no-brainer.

Pictured are Geoffrey Walter Ackland's relatives Colin Lunn, grandson, Harry Lunn, great grandson, and Susan Lunn, daughter

Pictured are Geoffrey Walter Ackland's relatives Colin Lunn, grandson, Harry Lunn, great grandson, and Susan Lunn, daughter, with the restored steam roller at Strumpshaw Museum - Credit: Tom Laird

 

"The family asked if we could get it running again which we did thanks to Neal and Nigel Davis, volunteers at the museum."

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Mr Ackland, who was born in Southend in 1918, had entered the steam roller in the 1981 Model Engineering Exhibition at Wembley where it won the Championship Cup.

It also won the Aveling and Barford Trophy as well as the Crebbin Memorial Cup.

Mr Laird said: "The roller was quite seized up due to its long standing in store prior to us receiving it.

"It had to be partially dismantled very carefully so as not to damage the original paint.

"All the bearings were carefully oiled and then the working parts were coaxed into moving again. The whole engine was then air tested using a compressor connected to the boiler drain.

An information board for the Aveling and Porter Road Roller at Strumpshaw Steam Museum 

An information board for the Aveling and Porter Road Roller at Strumpshaw Steam Museum - Credit: Tom Laird

"The engine ran perfectly and soon freed off as the oil moved round." 

After a gentle clean and polish, the engine was then reassembled for testing on a rolling road.

Mr Ackland worked at Culhurm in Oxfordshire as an astro-physics space research engineer.

He was involved in the development of integration technology between the payload and the rocket which took him to NASA in Houston several times.


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