There are very few museums that can claim to be located in part of the actual works that they are trying to depict but The Charles Burrell Museum is one. Housed in the old paint shop of St. Nicholas Works Thetford, it is tucked away in the centre of town and is quite difficult to find. There are no signposts and the towns one way system does not make locating the building very easy at all. This visit we were lucky enough to get into the museum, as on several previous occasions we had found to our dismay that the museum was closed. It appears that only between the times of 10am and 2 pm on Tuesdays are the public admitted, a fact which only seems to be publicised on the museums leaflet which we only found at the museum!
On entering the building we were pleased to discover that there was no admittance charge and so passed through the reception and shop area to the main hall. Here, in a well lit wooden building were two Burrell engines, a single crank compound traction and a compound roller, both owned by the museum and capable of being steamed. Surrounding them were various pieces of workshop machinery, an ex Dorans roller living wagon and a selection of patterns used to cast parts for engines. The display of casting a cylinder from scratch is very interesting and reveals some of the complications in making an object of this importance to the machine.
Upstairs is a gallery containing graphics and photographs of the Burrell history and products and from here the visitor can look down on the engines and museum floor, it also reveals the industrial beauty of the building. If only it could talk, what stories it could tell…
The Charles Burrell Museum is well worth a visit, the staff are helpful and friendly, the building is interesting in itself being a survivor of the glory days, a shrine for all Burrell enthusiasts. A rare example of a museum being as important as the objects it contains
Persevere and when you finally find The Charles Burrell Museum you will take a short but enjoyable trip back in time.