100 years of steam through Lavenham eyes

The railway brought great change to Victorian Britain and continued to extend its influence into the middle of the 20th century. The local economy of Lavenham and Melford grew using the railway to bring in raw materials for the horsehair, mat and flax industries and taking out finished products and agricultural produce.

With the advent of the Second World War the railway became a true life line delivering hardcore to build numerous airfields and later fuel and munitions to service the planes of the US air force based there.

Post War Development

The railways continued as an important method of transport for both people and goods after the war when petrol rationing was in still in force but in the 50s and 60s with the rise of the car, the ‘writing was on the wall’ for small branch lines and in 1967 the line was completely closed.
Fifty years on the track has long been taken up and now roads, houses and factories have been built where once white steam billowed along field edges and above woods and cuttings. Traces of the line still remain, creating wonderful walks and amazing places for wildlife to flourish.

Come and explore steam history in our new exhibition. Enjoy a snapshot of 100 years of steam, the changes to village life, and now what these almost forgotten green lanes provide as a quiet and secluded habitat for nature and wildlife and of course wonderful, peaceful walking trails.