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Steam Engines at Bressingham

I think the copy of "Steam Engines at Bressingham" - written by Alan Bloom - is still on my shelves at home. It was certainly a book the I read, and reread as I struggled with English which was my weakest vital academic subject. It told of a man running a horticultural business with a passion for steam, who branched out into old traction engines just after their twilight, when a few had been preserved, most cut up, and a few abandoned as rusting hulks.

Steam Traction Engine at Bressingham In the book, I read how Alan and many helpers restored Boxer and Bodicea and Bella and Bertha with a patience I have never had and could only admire. And Alan went on to add narrow gauge railways (yes, plural!) to his collection and then, on the withdrawal of steam from British Railways in 1968, two locomotives from the National Collection - Thundersley, and Oliver Cromwell, which drew the very last steam train, were placed with him on loan.

A Tomcat Course coming up this week in Norwich, a desire to take a day's break, and Lisa and I had a chance to see something in Norfolk on our way - and what better than Bressingham Gardens, at Diss.

As you see, Bertha and Boxer are still there (and a search in last few minutes reminded me that the book was published 38 years ago) which I suppose I should find remarkable, and in a way I do. But Alan passed away, aged 99, last year and the place frankly disappointed. You could see the love, but you could also see the slight gone-to-seed. But perhaps my expectations were unreasonable; I had built the place onto a pedestal such that it was bound to disappoint. I'll leave you with some pictures to you can make your own judgement. And - for all my comments - do drop in to the place for an hour or two is you're passing and have a look.


Flowers at Bressingham

Bressingham, near Diss, Norfolk

Narrow Gauge Railway at Bressingham

Steam Train in Norfolk
(written 2008-04-20, updated 2008-04-21)

 
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