Mark Tewkesbury reports on the stationary engines he spotted at the Rainscombe Park Country Show, which took place in Wiltshire this summer.
Held over the first weekend in June, this was a new show for me, although SEAMS members have regularly made the pilgrimage in the past to the village of Oare, in the Vale of Pewsey.
With the stationary engine section being overseen by Lister enthusiast Graham Raymond, it was Graham’s suggestion to hold a display of A and B types to mark their Centenary that sparked my interest to attend. Much work preceded the show, with ongoing repairs to the SEAMS Club A type engine, a loaned Spec 10 B type, and a borrowed trailer with which to cart them all. A display board was prepared after discussion with Graham beforehand.
I could only make it on the Sunday so it was an early start, picking up co-driver Allan Harris on the way; a trouble-free run down the A303 to make it in good time for the opening at 9am. Graham had hoped to keep us a space but the show committee had changed plans at the last minute and made the section, with camping behind the engines. That was a blessing for those staying, but it meant they had spread out and we had to fill in the odd gaps left. Luckily, I was able to put the car in the pen, so we had a base camp. It’s a thankless task being a section marshal to keep everyone happy. I hope that, as outsiders, we didn’t upset the regulars.
The show itself was held in the grounds of Rainscombe Park, the home of the Hiscox family, that’s tucked under Martinsell Hill, which gives the site a stunning backdrop. The main field held the arena, vintage vehicles and trade area. The adjoining field hosted the country crafts, tractors, stationary engines and a working area for those tractor owners wanting to cultivate the land. I guess that there were 30+ engines in the line, with about 10 Lister A/B types; not a massive number, but a good display, nonetheless. Welcome visitors were Jenny Jefferies with Jim Anderson and Doreen Edgington, who came to see the special display.
All too soon the day had passed and, with the sun still blazing, everyone was quick to load-up and, by the time we were ready to say farewell, most of the section had departed. A brief snack-stop on Pewsey Hill, watching a hare running about, and a detour to avoid the now-busy A303, meant we were home before dark. It was a satisfactory day and well worth repeating.
Thanks to Bill Ovenden and SEAMS for the loan of the two engines we took, and to Graham Raymond for organising the event.
This feature comes from the latest issue of Stationary Engine, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE
Rural Past Times; what a show!