GRAND DAYS OUT ...
The Museum of East Anglia Life
It was the Ransomes Story that did it for me and Mum, bringing memories flooding back of my late dad and his workshop.
As a self-employed engineer, Dad had worked with horticultural and farm machinery all his life. He would have loved this brilliant section in the William Bone Building of the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, which spotlights the world-famous lawn mower and agricultural Ipswich company.
We thought about Dad a lot as we looked at the beautiful steam traction engine and then learned more about the first lawn mower, power-driven mowers and Ransomes people. And it gave us the perfect opportunity to explain more to three-year-old Topsy about what Grandad did.
That’s what makes this museum in Stowmarket so special. There’s something in it that we can all relate to.
Whether it was memories of Dad, an insight into how rural life in our area has changed over the years or, in the case of Topsy, just pure fun, we had a great day out.
A visit to the museum will doubtless bring memories flooding
back for grandparents, and parents will learn lots too. Efforts have also been made to make the museum appeal to children and activities for youngsters are clearly labelled throughout.
Whether it was finding (or hiding) the toy animals in the Ransomes Story, polishing up her letter and spelling skills in the bygone printing section or dressing up, Topsy thoroughly enjoyed herself. And there was a playground as well which, as usual, was a great hit with her.
For older children, we thought the museum would be even more beneficial.
Its cleverly divided sections include Home Close, Work and Play, Home Farm, and River Rat Nature Area. There’s also the Historic Hamlet, where you can see a Victorian kitchen and privy, Alton watermill and Great Moulton chapel.
We loved the Industrial Zone, where the Ransomes Story was located, as well as the blacksmith’s forge from Grundisburgh and the Boby building of trade and crafts.
This museum is where town and country meet, and we enjoyed walking the nature trail and meeting the farm animals.
We marvelled at the original clock of Stowmarket Parish Church from around 1620 and the Gaumont chrono film projector that was used at the Southwold Cinema.
We were enchanted by the Letterpress Printing section, showing how things were printed in times gone by.
There are 20 beautiful historic buildings to explore, including the watermill and the historic chapel.
Abbot’s Hall house and gardens are stunning, and there was so much to see, read and learn through its various displays that we can’t wait to go back.
The icing on the cake was the Osier Café where Mum enjoyed a midday meal while Topsy played on the toys that had been thoughtfully placed in the outside eating area, ensuring that the little ones are occupied while the adults eat.
The Museum of East Anglian Life is one of the biggest museums in Suffolk. It occupies more than 75 acres of countryside in the heart of Stowmarket.
We have walked past it more times than we care to remember. We left wondering how this gem of a museum could be on our doorstep for years and yet we had never visited it?
We plan to remedy that by returning as soon as we can.
Abbot’s Hall at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.
Take a walk in the grounds at the museum.
Maureen Banham and happy granddaughter Topsy.
The Burrell Traction Engine is an impressive sight.