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Tar, sweat and steam to hit Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 11:39 03 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:36 06 July 2010

THE trials of life as a road builder in the last century are set to come to life as a massive restoration project gets under way at a Lowestoft museum.

THE trials of life as a road builder in the last century are set to come to life as a massive restoration project gets under way at a Lowestoft museum.

A steam engine, water cart and living van are all being carefully rebuilt at the East Anglia Transport Museum, on the edge of Lowestoft, as part of a dream to create an exhibition showing what life was like for the men who worked building roads in the 1920s.

After receiving a £198,500 Heritage Lottery grant in the autumn, the museum's dedicated team of volunteers have worked through the winter to complete the first stage of the work.

The water cart, which was derelict when it was donated to the museum in 1983, has now been able to be restored to its former glory and will eventually take its place in the Tar, Sweat and Steam exhibition alongside an Armstrong Whitworth steam engine and a wooden living van.

Museum volunteer Bernie Ward said the new exhibition will tell the story of road building from Roman times to modern motorways.

He said: “Two or three men, sometimes even a family, would have lived in small wooden vans at the side of the road for months at a time working on the roads. The aim of our exhibition is to tell the story of a way of life which has now completely disappeared.”

The painted van will now be transported across Lowestoft to the SOLD (Special Objectives for the Local Disabled) project where the interior will be installed.

As well as the restored exhibits, the new display - due to open in spring 2011 - will have interactive showpieces and text telling the story of the roadmen.

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