Norfolk Journey: Thursford Collection

Aveling and Porter Light Engine 1928

A changeable morning, weather-wise, and so we decide to visit the Thursford Collection, an interesting museum of steam engines, fairground rides and steam organs. These reach their heydey in the years before the First World War but due to developments in the diesel and petrol engine as a result of the war effort, steam engines very quickly became obsolete in the years that followed.


‘Medina’ Showman’s engine 1920
‘Unity’ 1910










Its founder George Cushing had been a farm labourer when he got a job as a steam-roller driver for Kings Lynn Council. Using he savings he eventually purchased a steam-roller from the council and set up his own contracting business. Gradually he added more vehicles to the fleet.

Steam-driven fairground rides
120 key Mortier fairground organ
Portable industrial steam engine used to run machines










In the 1930’s he began buying up steam engines to save them from being sent to the scrapyard. He stored them on a farm which he had purchased. People started to travel to the farm to view his collection and eventually in 1970 it was opened as a museum. It was originally housed in the old farm buildings but eventually, purpose-built buildings replaced these.

‘Edward VII’ Showman’s engine 1905
Clayton Steam Wagon
An appropriate way to travel to the Collection?

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