A Slice of Life
Day 9 – Thursday July 9th
After another great English breakfast at the Riverside Pub, the first museum on my list today was the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, located adjacent to the Norwich Airport. This was a small museum with 12 beautifully restored aircraft displayed outside. However, two of their displays were a Vulcan bomber and a Nimrod naval patrol aircraft. It’s amazing to me how these small museums manage to acquire these very large and rare aircraft.
Next it was on to the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum in Bungay. This museum consisted of some 13 nicely restored outside static displayed aircraft and two Quonset hut type buildings of WWII memorabilia. This was one of the few UK aviation museums that did not have a Vulcan bomber in their collection.
The Parham Airfield Museum turned out to be nothing more than a small restored control tower which was closed that day. I am assuming that the control tower contained memorabilia related to the U.S. 390th Bombardment Group that was based at this field during WWII.
The Ipswich Transportation Museum has the largest collection of transportation items in Britain devoted to just one town. Everything displayed in the museum was either made or used in and around Ipswich, a county town in Suffolk. This included cars, trucks, buses, and trollies. The museum also includes many items of the Ipswich Engineering Collection.
This turned out to be a fairly short day and Greta took me past the Box Bush Cottage B&B Iocated in St. Edmunds the first time. After I re-entered the SatNav, address she took me right to it. Box Bush Cottage is a lovely 200 year old two-story home situated on approximately 20 acres of beautiful farm land. The owners Nick and Emilie were some of the greatest hosts a person could ask for. They had beautifully landscaped yards and gardens. They also had some black Chochin China chickens, a really cute pet goat, and a couple of the cleanest small pigs I’ve ever seen.
Nick is a roofing contractor and amateur race car enthusiast. He owns and was preparing his Morgan Three-Wheel Super Sport for a hill-climb event at Shelelsey Walsh in Worcestershire on the following Saturday. In case you are like me, having never heard of the Shelelsey Walsh Speed Hillclimb; it is a 1000 yard long 10-16 degree incline course that hosts one of the oldest motorsport events in the world (begun in 1905). I was very interested in the Three-Wheeler since I had only seen photos of them at car shows. Nick informed me that the Morgan Motor Company began hand building the first “Cyclecar” in 1909, which was the company’s original Three-Wheeler, that Mr. Morgan called the Morgan Runabout.
Because of its superior design, it wasn’t long before the Morgan Cyclecar was entering and winning Cyclecar races throughout the UK and Europe. These race wins culminated with the winning of the Cyclecar Grand Prix at Amiens in France in 1913, against much opposition from many continental four-wheelers. After that victory, Morgan named one of his most popular Three-Wheeler models the Grand Prix.
In 1920 Morgan introduced the four-seat Family Runabout three-wheeler which helped put economic travel within the reach of most families. Morgan Cyclecars continued to be improved and upgraded thru the years, and in 1931 the Super Sport was introduced.
After WWII Three-Wheeler popularity declined such that production was finally discontinued in 1953. Morgan continued building automobiles, but then some 60 years later, in 2014, by popular demand, the company “Reimagined” their Three-Wheeler to 21st century standards. Nick’s new and improved Morgan Three-Wheeler is a beautiful machine, and I wished him and his son the best of luck at Saturday’s hill climb.
—–To Be Continued—–