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Steampunk festival comes to Bressingham

PUBLISHED: 11:19 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:24 05 July 2018

Bressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair.
 Photo: Sonya Duncan

Bressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2015

It will be a case of going back to the future as steampunk fans gather for as special weekend at Bressingham Steam Museum.

Bressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair.
 Photo: Sonya DuncanBressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair. Photo: Sonya Duncan

A festival of the future as Victorians may have imagined it, BresSteam taking place on July 7-8 is a whole weekend dedicated to celebrating all-things steampunk, set amongst Bressingham’s magnificent collection of functioning steam engines.

The festival will include a packed programme of events including tea duelling, umbrella fencing, a market full of unique steampunk artefacts, storytelling, Victorian games, antiques, portrait photography, and costumed magicians, jugglers, comedians and comperes.

Bressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair.
 Photo: Sonya DuncanBressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Steampunk is based around the fanciful mix of old steam-powered technologies of the Victoriana era and hi-tech future sci-fi.

Examples of what has become a popular sub-genre of science fiction include Disney’s adaptations of Jules Verne’s Around The World In 80 Days and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, the contraptions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s Caractacus Potts, and comics like Alan Moore’s The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Bressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair.
 Photo: Sonya DuncanBressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Alastair Baker, manager of Bressingham Steam Museum, said: “I like steampunk. I’ve met some great people through it.

“I think what Bressingham has is the mix of passion of our volunteers who are able to show to visitors how things work and how you use them. So this is almost two passions and pastimes coming together, that is part of the uniqueness of Bressingham.

Bressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair.
 Photo: Sonya DuncanBressingham Steam Museum plays host to a previous Steampunk Fair. Photo: Sonya Duncan

“Some other museums do it but they aren’t mechanical museums; that we have steam trains lit and traction engines makes Bressingham a unique place and this is the world of steampunk getting to find it.”

A centrepiece at Bressingham is its Victorian Gallopers which fit into the spirit of steampunk. Built by Savages of Kings Lynn in 1897 and owned and operated by the Thurston family of Norfolk until 1934, they were later operated at Whitley Bay and ended up in Scotland before finding a home at Bressingham in 1967.

Mr Baker said: “They were built by the Victorians. It was something that they loved and they are operated by lots of cogs, and cogs seem to feature in lots of steampunk.”

Many visitors to the festival will come in costume. Steampunk fashion adopts the ‘best’ looks of the Victorian era - explorers, soldiers, countesses and lords.

Offering his own tips on what to wear, Mr Baker said: “Top hats, bowler hats, some goggles. You’ve got to have a good pair of goggles if you’re into steampunk.”

• Bressingham Steampunk advance weekend tickets £25 (£23 cons), £17 children/advance day tickets are £13.17 (£12.26 cons), £8.63 children, under-3s free. Book at Bressingham Steampunk

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