‘We are running out of room’ - Curator continues growth despite lockdown

Ian Brown, right, with 12-year-old son Harry and 11-year=old stepson Luke. Photo: Ian Brown

Ian Brown, right, with 12-year-old son Harry and 11-year=old stepson Luke. Photo: Ian Brown - Credit: Archant

Despite the pandemic stopping them opening, an RAF heritage centre is soaring to new heights.

Army Apaches where recently spotted by the RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre in Wicken Green. Picture:

Army Apaches where recently spotted by the RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre in Wicken Green. Picture: RSHC - Credit: Archant

The RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre in Wicken Green has not seen any visitors for almost six months as a result of the lockdown, but this has not stopped them from continuing their development.

The Green Park rural centre has been a hot spot for passing aircraft including Hercules and Army Apaches visiting the MOD airfield for training in October.

The site has been transformed by the centre’s curator, Ian Brown.

The 42-year-old HGV mechanic has grown the centre online, passing 5000 likes on their Facebook page, Mr Brown has now turned this once-forgotten airbase into a gateway to Norfolk’s history with the airforce.

The displays at RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre PICTURE: Ian Brown

The displays at RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre PICTURE: Ian Brown - Credit: Ian Brown


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While lockdown could have stunned the development of the centre, he has instead used it as a chance to grow and improve.

“I’m so pleased with how things have progressed, covid has stopped us from opening but not stopped us moving forward,” he said

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“We are building relationships with groups of people both locally and internationally to get access to materials.

“We only had the six months but it has gone through the roof, and we are running out of room.

RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre saw a C-17 Globemaster fly over head this July.Picture: RSHC

RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre saw a C-17 Globemaster fly over head this July.Picture: RSHC - Credit: Archant

“We are so pleased with how things have moved, but we are upset that we cannot open.”

The father of three has brought a range of unique items to the centre ready for its reopening.

Including the Silver Pheasant, which was gifted to The Americans 47th Bombardment wing in 1954 by the People of Norfolk for the generosity and assistance the 47th gave during the 1953 Tidal Floods.

They also have an Alison J71 jet engine from a Douglas RB-66 which took off from Sculthorpe and then later crashed south of Norwich in 1958.

Ian Brown (back with glasses) with the wreckage of our J71 engine at the RAF Sculthorpe heritage cen

Ian Brown (back with glasses) with the wreckage of our J71 engine at the RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre in Wicken Green. Picture: RSHC - Credit: Archant

The centre which is run by five volunteers is also working on a preservation order for part of the base, which was home to nuclear weapons for 15 years.

Between 1947 to 1962, Mark three ‘Fatman’ bombs, the same device dropped on Japan ending the second world war was at the base, as part of rising tension caused by The Cold War.

The development of such weapons was behind the closure of the base, as the creation of intercontinental missiles meant that the base was no longer needed.

The Silver Pheasant on display at the RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre in Wicken Green. Picture: RSHC

The Silver Pheasant on display at the RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre in Wicken Green. Picture: RSHC - Credit: Archant

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