Whitwell Steam & Country Fair

Posted by Chris Graham on 10th September 2021

Simon Colbeck reports on a great weekend of steam, tractors, beer tents and entertainment at the Whitwell Steam & Country Fair.

Whitwell Steam & Country Fair

Whitwell Steam & Country Fair: The Aveling & Porter No. 11047 of 1924, Lady Sharon.

The Whitwell Steam & Country Fair (June 26th-27th) was, for many of the exhibitors, the first traditional rally for a very long time. It certainly felt like everyone was enjoying being back on a rally field, this being one of the few events to have survived on the calendar for this year.

Whitwell Steam & Country Fair

The Vickery family’s recently-restored 1902, Burrell No. 2507 at its first public event after its repaint into crimson lake.

The Whitwell Steam & Country Fair owes its origins to Nick Hill of Waterhall Farm, Whitwell, in Hertfordshire. In 1995, he built a barn to house his collection of vintage agricultural machinery. This included a corn dressing machine, rolling mill, chaff cutter and potato riddle, all of which were powered by stationary engines. Over the following years, Nick organised a number of get-togethers at Waterhall Farm to display the collection, together with other local agricultural bygones.

Whitwell Steam & Country Fair

The classic lines of a Rover P6 V8 3500.

By 1998, the event had grown to become the first Whitwell Steam & Country Fair. Then, in 2008, it moved to Mansells Farm just outside Codicote, in Hertfordshire. This year the proceeds from the show went to the Garden House Hospice and Sue Ryder Foundation.

Whitwell Steam & Country Fair

An impressive collection of tractors on display in the arena.

Over the years, the number of exhibits has grown with the show being particularly well-known for having a fine selection of tractors; this year there were nearly 140 listed in the programme.

Whitwell Steam & Country Fair

Dusty, a 1914-built Clayton & Shuttleworth, No. 46823 passing the 1910-built Stanley steam car.

A highlight of the steam exhibits was Paul and Ian Vickery’s recently-restored 7nhp Burrell single-cylinder traction engine. This was its first public outing following its renovation during lockdown. Now resplendent in traditional Burrell crimson livery, the engine was just ready in time for the show, with only some minor lining details on the wheels needed to complete this superb project.

Whitwell Steam & Country Fair

A Ford 6600 of 1970 leads a nice line up of tractors as the sun nearly breaks through the clouds.

Constructed in 1902, No. 2507 had spent many years on the Isle of Wight before returning to the mainland after being purchased by the Vickery family in 2019. During its lockdown restoration, Paul and Ian have taken the opportunity to give the engine a thorough mechanical overhaul, including fitting a new second shaft and final drive gear.

Whitwell Steam & Country Fair

Dave Knott, on the Fordson Dexta, looks glad to be back on the rally field again.

Always a delight to see on the rally field was Sandy Ross’s diminutive Aveling & Porter BN class, 4-ton roller. Constructed in 1912, No. 7385 – with its inside flywheel and narrow track – always looks a tad unstable, to my eyes!

A Series 2 Field Marshall of 1954 producing plenty of clag!

In addition to an excellent collection of miniature traction engines, the show also boasted a 7¼-inch railway line. The portable line is owned and operated by the North London Society of Model Engineers, based at Colney Heath. Services were hauled by a freelance 0-6-0T with a marine-type boiler and a superb one-third scale model of a World War 1 Simplex Tin Turtle armoured petrol tractor.

1926 Foden W-type steam lorry, No.12364.

With so many tractors on display, the arena tractor parade was superb, with a highlight being a demonstration of the remarkable turning capabilities of the exceedingly rare Doe 130 twin tractor of 1966.

The DOE 130 demonstrating its fantastic manoeuvrability in the arena.

The organisers are to be congratulated on putting on such a great show despite all the uncertainty of these difficult times. I look forward to another excellent show next year.

One of a number of Fordsons on display at Whitwell this year.

 

A 1969 Bedford TK lorry leaving the show under some threatening clouds on Sunday.

 

Sandy Ross at the controls of his 1912 Aveling & Porter BN class 4-ton roller, No. 7385.

 

This freelance 7¼-inch gauge steam locomotive was very popular providing rides for children.

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