Bedfordshire Steam & Country Fayre 2004

Steam & Country Fayre 2004

Bedfordshire Steam & Country Fayre 2004

On the 18th & 19th September 2004 the Society staged its 46th Rally, and the ninth held at Old Warden Park. We had over 130 engines attending, many of which had ‘stopped-off’ on their way to the National Traction Engine Trust's 50th Anniversary Road Run the following weekend, at Hollowell in Northants. Coming from far-and-wide, this was the first trip to Old Warden for a number of engines. From the North, Michael Walters made the trip with his 1926 Garrett Undertype wagon, which once worked only 25 miles from the site. Roy Wakefield attended with his Mann tractor, which was joined by two Mann Wagons; Pat Jenkins recently restored example and Pete and Sue Lyons 1916 wagon in Pimin & Sons colours. Making a first visit from the South West were McLaren Ploughing Engine Hero, Burrell Showman's Road Locomotive Star, Aveling & Porter XA3 Tractor Bo Peep and the last Garrett 4CD to be built, Lesley.

Again, we had a good selection of working exhibits with steam, tractors and horses working the land. A sight to see on the Saturday afternoon was the Fowler Single Ploughing Engine "Margaret" working in the distance with the thatched cricket pavilion of Old Warden Village as a back drop and a traditional game of cricket taking place.

There were three saw benches in action including Herring Brothers large Frame Saw; three threshing sets, two steam and one tractor powered along with other displays of milling, corn grinding and chaff cutting. A road making display was set up with the Society's 1920 Marsden Stone Crusher hard at work.

A larger fairground than usual had the Saunders Savage Steam Yachts taking pride of place with a line up of 10 showman's engines, with Burrell's "Ex-Mayor" No. 4000, "Princess Mary" No. 3949 and "Star" No. 3423 running the larger rides. Working together once again was the ex. Pat Collins Fowler B6 Showman's "Valiant" and the large Marenghi Wonderland Organ, a sight only seen at this event. Two rare 6 NHP Showman's engines stood side by side both looking magnificent with gleaming paintwork and brass, these being Foster "Aquitania" and Garrett "British Hero".

Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies Light Agricultural Locomotive, No. 36020 of 1924, a locally owned engine repatriated from Mozambique where it worked on the Sena Sugar Estates with Fowler Z7 Ploughing engines that returned to this country many years ago. Owner John J. Forshaw has completely rebuilt the engine over several years.

Two partially restored engines were on show, both having been subject to boiler work. These were Ruston & Hornsby roller No 158623 of 1930 and Aveling & Porter roller "Silver Streak" No. 8753. These created much interest with the public and exhibitors alike.

The photographic area with the Shuttleworth Mansion behind is always well received and a variety of exhibits passed through it over the weekend from steam to a display by the Land Rover Series 2 Club on the Sunday morning where 11 different vehicles were lined up showing the variations available.

There were many interesting exhibits on show from working craft displays to a display by the Historic Caravan Club. A good selection of over 300 vintage vehicles and tractors were exhibited and a large assortment of over 60 miniature steamers.

A Saturday night Road Run to the White Horse at Broom saw over 20 engines, miniatures and vintage vehicles out on the road making the most of the sunshine after the dismal weather suffered in the afternoon. Sunday turned out to be a much better day and the crowds soon turned out.

Rally report by Mark Worbey