Robert Boby Ltd of Bury St Edmunds began life as an ironmonger in the 1850s. By the 1870s it had expanded into the manufacture of agricultural implements such as winnowing and grain cleaning machinery, malting and milling equipment and machinery for processing flax. The building was the biggest factory in Bury St Edmunds, employing nearly 200 men.
The building design is an interesting mixture of urban and rural styles. The cast iron window frames on the ground floor are typical of industrial buildings, whilst the white weather boarding and pantiled roof reflect a style popular in the countryside. Perhaps this can be seen as representative of the work that went on inside this building – an industrial, urban process producing rural, agricultural equipment.
The building displays objects from our rural industry and craft collection. Highlights include:
- A Whitmore and Binyon stationary engine.
- An 1870 Columbia Printing Press from the East Anglian Daily Times which could print a whole newspaper page in one go!
- Equipment from the Haverhill Ropemaking Works
- A basket-making display with work by the Mullins family who grew their osiers along the site of the Museum’s river trail.