Great Rempstone Steam & Country Show

Posted by Chris Graham on 5th March 2024

Simon Colbeck reports from last summer’s Great Rempstone Steam & Country Show, where showers and storms couldn’t dampen the spirits.

All photographs by Stephen Colbeck

Great Rempstone Steam & Country Show

Great Rempstone Steam & Country Show: A trio of Foster showman’s engines generating away under a storm-laden night sky. Nos. 14066 of 1915 Endeavour, 14205 of 1915 Obsession and 14564 of 1926 Victoria sit outside the beer tent.

The theme for the 67th Great Rempstone Steam & Country Show (July 8th-9th) show, was ‘Bigger and Better’ and the organising team certainly delivered on that promise. The four field site was packed with exhibits with a much-expanded commercials section and tractor pulling featuring for the first time.

The origins of the rally date back to 1956 and the early days of steam preservation, and will always be associated with local ploughing and agricultural contractors, Beeby Brothers of Rempstone.

Great Rempstone Steam & Country Show

Tiny 3½nhp portable engine UP3 of 1860, Little Dragon, One of two engines from the Devizes firm of Brown & May at Rempstone this year.

Rempstone originally started as an informal get-together in the Beeby Brothers yards which, at that time, were still home to a sizeable fleet of engines. After a few changes of location for the rally it has been at its present home of Turn Post Farm, Wymeswold, for many years.

Great Rempstone Steam & Country Show

With consecutive works numbers Fowler A9 class road locomotives Nos. 15462 Belle of the Wolds and 15463 Dreadnought of 1919 and 1920 respectively.

As always, Rempstone boasted a superb display of full-size and miniature steam exhibits. But this was a bumper year for showman’s engines with a superb line-up generating in front of the funfair well into the night, and in spite of the dramatic thunderstorm on Saturday evening.

Great Rempstone Steam & Country Show

Fowler T3 Tiger tractor No. 14805 of 1917 Lord Doverdale in the sunshine at Rempstone, after the rain had passed over.

Delighting the crowds was the first appearance of unique Brown & May showman’s engine No. 8742 of 1912, General Buller. Built for J Cooke of Warrington for its Gallopers, it was the last showman’s built by Brown & May at its Devizes works. Appropriately enough, the engine ended its commercial days with local, Nottingham-based showmen Mellors & Hibble.

Great Rempstone Steam & Country Show

Ploughing engines are always well represented at Rempstone and this year was no exception. Fowler BB No. 14375 of 1917, Fowler single No. 2267 of 1874 and Fowler AA/ZA No. 15357 of 1919 simmer in a corner of the rally field.

Another Showman’s engine new to Rempstone this year was Fowler No. 15713 of 1924, Pride of the Shannon. Famous for being left in a market square in Ireland for many years as it slowly deteriorated during the 1960s, it certainly looks a picture now resplendent in its maroon livery.

Another pair of large Fowlers at this year’s event were consecutively-numbered Fowler A9 class road locomotives No. 15462 Belle of the Wolds and No. 15463 Dreadnought of 1919 and 1920, respectively. It was a real treat to see this pair parked side-by-side together.

A busy scene in the wood-sawing enclosure with three benches in operation. Ruston & Proctor 33189 of 1907, Foster 14410 of 1920 Sprig and Ruston & Hornsby 115100 of 1922 are all being readied for a days timber cutting.

In addition to General Buller, a second Brown & May engine at Rempstone was the tiny 3½nhp portable engine UP3 of 1860, Little Dragon. This is the oldest surviving Brown & May engine in the UK, and spent its working life on a farm in Wales before preservation.

Another early engine making its debut at Rempstone was the Wallis & Steevens single-cylinder traction engine No. T169 of 1883, The Mayrnach. Complete with Salter safety valves, The Mayrnach is the earliest surviving Wallis & Steevens engine.

Made it! The Milns family’s Foster Wellington tractor, No. 3452 of 1907 Nip on Kid, turns into the rally site at the end of an 80-mile road run from Telford on the newly-restored Foster.

With many engines owned in the local area, a lot of the exhibits are roaded to Rempstone and the preceding week up to the event was busy with engines arriving on site. One, not so local engine to arrive under its own steam was The Milns family’s Foster Wellington tractor, No. 3452 of 1907 Nip on Kid. The recently-restored Foster made the 80-mile run from Telford in sweltering conditions, no doubt the crew were thankful for the shade offered by the just-fitted canopy!

Another engine that travelled a fair distance by the road to Rempstone. 1882-built McLaren No. 127 arrives on site after a long run on a blisteringly hot day.

The show always features a fine selection of commercials and tractors, and this year was no exception with this section much expanded and including a magnificent selection of modern-day tractor units, many with amazing custom paint schemes. In the vintage section there was much nostalgia for me with the inclusion of three former Barton Buses from the Ruddington Heritage Centre. Built for Barton’s of Chilwell, Notts. in 1976, the Bedford Plaxton Supreme III Express single-decker was my regular chariot to secondary school back in the 1980s.

Once the UK’s largest independent bus companies, it was delightful to see three of the organisation’s former fleet together in the fabulous red livery, complete with Robin Hood logo on the body side.

Brown & May showman’s 8742 of 1912 General Buller made its debut at Rempstone last summer.

Despite the occasional heavy downpour, everyone seemed to have a great time with plenty of events in the arena, including a demonstration of cable work with the ploughing engines. The show always offers a great family day out and this was reflected in the large attendance. This was certainly the largest Rempstone rally for many years and I, for one, can’t wait for more of the same at Turn Post Farm this summer!

This feature comes from the latest issue of Old Glory, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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