The appearance of wind turbines in our countryside and along the coast of Britain is an emotive subject, but whether you love them or loathe them, their number looks set to increase as we continue to look for ways to provide a more sustainable energy source for our seemingly ever increasing demand for electricity. The harnessing of wind power is nothing new, of course, and the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads is dotted with reminders of a time when the landscape of the area was dominated by the sails and towers of a vast network of wind pumps which drained the surrounding marshland.
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Norfolk Broads is a fascinating collection of historic wind engines which help to tell the story of the history of drainage in the region. The Morse Collection at the Wind Energy Museum is situated in a secluded, three acre site at Repps with Bastwick, near the Broadland village of Thurne. This unique collection was assemble over the course of 60 years by Ronald Morse, a Sussex born engineer whose interest in windmills and windpumps led to him purchasing and restoring Thurne Dyke drainage mill in 1947. Alongside the holiday hire business that the Morse family established at Repps, Ronald also began to rescue and restore derelict windpumps from around the UK, Australia and America, with the oldest example on display dating back to the early 1800s. Sadly, Ronald passed away in 2007, but the collection is now curated by Debra Nicholson who spent many years assisting Ronald at the museum. A selection of photographs taken during our visit over the Easter weekend can be found in the Morse Collection set on Flickr and a short video can also be seen below.
The Wind Energy Museum will be holding further open days this year during July and August, along with events planned as part of the National Mills weekend on the 11th & 12th of May and the Broads Outdoor Festival on the 17th & 18th of May. Full details of dates can be found on their website at http://www.windengines.co.uk/ along with information on how you can become a volunteer.