TG1823 : The Soame Steam Wagonette

taken 7 months ago, near to Marsham, Norfolk, Great Britain

The Soame Steam Wagonette
The Soame Steam Wagonette
Samuel George Soame (born 1837) was an agricultural engineer with his home LinkExternal link - LinkExternal link and workshop > LinkExternal link - LinkExternal link at Marsham near Aylsham in Norfolk. The building in which he worked and where the wagonette was built was called Perseverance Works and is now sadly disused. The wagonette, constructed in 1897, was a wooden cart fitted with a steam engine. Samuel George Soame died in 1918, and when his son George Samuel died in 1937 the firm was sold by the founderís grandson Frederick in 1940. Several years later the wagonette was also sold and became part of the private collection of Sir William McAlpine. It has recently returned to North Norfolk, where can be seen in action at the Marsham Starting Handle Club's summer shows.

Soame also operated a forge, an iron and brass foundry and a machine shop, employing on average 15 workers, but twice as many when times were busy. Soame used the steam wagon to travel all around North Norfolk and even had a special place (at the White Horse pub in Magdalen Street) where it could be parked under cover when he visited Norwich. The wagonette reached a top speed of 25 miles per hour.
Soame's Perseverance Works in Marsham
The works was opened by Samuel George Soame (1837-1918), an agricultural engineer who had his workshop as well as a iron and brass foundry and a machine shop in Marsham. The building in which he worked is still in place, albeit slightly modernised. Soame is probably best known for a vehicle he built in 1897 - Soame's Steam Wagonette > LinkExternal link - LinkExternal link - LinkExternal link - LinkExternal link which was basically a wooden cart of a type similar to those he produced for horse-drawn transport but fitted with a steam engine. Four decades before its invention, Soame had been the first to build a steam engine to drive a fairground roundabout and he also built traction engines, none of which are believed to have survived. The average number of people employed at the Marsham works was about 15, but at busy times it could be double that. The firm was taken over by his son, George Samuel, who in 1904 opened one of the earliest motor garages servicing motor cars, petrol lorries and motor cycles in Marsham.

The wagonette was sold by his grandson, Frederick, in 1946, who a few years earlier had already sold the works. It was however brought back to Norfolk in 2016, where it was restored by its new owner, Richard King of Thurgarton Iron Works, and for the first time after many decades returned to Marsham on the occasion of the 2017 Starting Handle Club's summer show.
Marsham Starting Handle Club Summer Show 2017
The show, the seventh in as many years, was held over the weekend of 12/13th August. It is growing bigger every year. More than 500 exhibitors displayed their tractors, stationary engines, vintage lawnmowers and agricultural implements, but there is much more to see on the 13-acres site which adjoins Orchard Cottage in Allison Street, such as several rare, "dancing" dual drive Doe-built tractors, classic and military vehicles and motorcycles, demonstrations in the parade ring of working gun and sheep dogs and demonstrations of old-time ploughing and harvesting in a crop field nearby. For the first time since its restoration the Soame steam wagonette was featured. The first tractor pulling event in the county for 27 years was also held here (in 2013). Fairground organs create just the right atmosphere, a bouncy castle provides entertainment for the younger visitors, and a variety of stalls can be sampled in the fun fair section of the site. Food vendors guarantee that no-one will be going home hungry.

According to Bob Parke, the site owner and one of the organisers, the show featured 350 tractors, over 100 classic cars, and about 80 motorcycles and had about 2,500 visitors.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
TIP: Click the map for Large scale mapping
Change to interactive Map >
Grid Square
TG1823, 308 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Sunday, 13 August, 2017   (more nearby)
Monday, 14 August, 2017
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Roads, Road transport  People, Events 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 1845 2350 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:45.8939N 1:14.1871E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 1844 2347
View Direction
North-northeast (about 22 degrees)
Looking for a postcode? Try this pageExternal link
Clickable map

Image Type (about): close look 
This page has been viewed about 12 times.
View this location: KML (Google Earth) · Google MapsExternal link · Bing MapsExternal link · OS Map Checksheet · Geograph Map · geotagged! More Links for this image
W Go E
You are not logged in login | register