Just a reminder that anyone wishing to go to the crank-up at Sweet’s Tea Rooms, Wedmore, on the 22nd August will need to ring Herb or Wendy now on 01749 674402 to book a space.
Everyone who missed the Whaddon Farm crank-up on Sunday missed a treat. Because the weather was a little changeable Gordon decided to move into the barn and it turned out to be the right decision as the rain came with a vengeance just about the time we were thinking of packing up.
There was a wonderful variety of engines, including some that seldom see the light of day, and Paula, Sue and Debbie put on the usual magnificent spread including not only apple crumble but a delicious plum crumble too. You don’t get that at every crank-up! Donations to The Alzheimer’s Society raised £100.91, so thanks to every one who contributed. Thanks also to Tommy Gear who booked us in.
There’s a new entry in the events list. We have been invited to the White Horse Classic & Vintage Vehicle Show to be held at the White Horse Country Park near Westbury on the 5th September. Unfortunately I need to know how many are going by the 25th July so if you want to be included please register your interest before then using the website contact form, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a ring on 07751918283
Eric has been sorting through some archives and come up with a really nice photo of our one-time Treasurer, Keith Nash, with his beloved Gregoire car, with which he travelled all over the world. The photo is now on the “club photos” page for anyone who would like to see it and remember Keith.
Well we’re not quite out of the woods but at least we’re going to be getting together with our engines at Gordon and Paula’s farm. Would those who intend to go and haven’t yet rung Gordon to register your interest please do so.
The weather forecast so far is promising, so let’s keep our fingers crossed. Social distancing measures will be in force and everyone is asked to wash or sanitise as appropriate.
We have been told by the Old Down Inn that they will be happy to have us back for our meetings once the present restrictions are eased sufficiently. Obviously it will be up to you, the members, how soon you want to resume personal contact, so let us know.
The quiz which was due to be held at the club meeting last month will now be held on Zoom on the 28th June. There are enough easy ones to keep you engaged but there are some pretty tough ones too, so are you good enough?
Profound apologies for the mistakes that led to the cancellation of Monday’s club meeting. Due to a combination of circumstances I was unable to finish compiling the quiz in time so the decision was taken to postpone it. If anyone has strong feelings about when it should now take place please email me. This is your club so this is your chance to have an influence! On a more optimistic note please have a look at the calendar where you will see that it’s filling up slowly.
There are hopeful signs that we will soon be returning to some kind of normal, which means that it might not be too long before we can meet as a club. Meanwhile we will continue to meet on line thanks to Zoom, and the next club meeting on 31st May will feature another of Anne’s quizzes. The last one was great fun and provoked quite a bit of discussion, so come along and give it a try.
Monday night saw the latest of Geoff Wallis’s talks, and it was a cracker! Ranging from the establishment of Bath’s “Bath at Work” museum to the repair of a gilded grasshopper in London via the Bishop’s Palace in Wells Geoff showed us some of the projects he’s worked on during his career. He discussed the techniques used and the factors to be considered, and I know I’m not alone in finding it extremely interesting and entertaining.
The first photo competition has now finished, with the winning photograph being entered by Pete Gear, so he will now have the task of judging the next one. Please let me have your entries as soon as possible on email@example.com
It is with great sadness that I report the tragic news that on Wednesday 31st March our dear friend and colleague Roger Pike left us after a long hard fight against a very severe form of cancer. Roger passed away with his hand held by Linda, I know that everyone who knew Roger will want me to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to Linda and the family at this sad time.
I was privileged to have visited Roger a few days before his death and given him a small gift from the committee to show our appreciation for the time he served the Wessex Stationary Engine Club as its president; this was a collection of CDs and a DVD of country music, something Roger loved along with his great love of the music of The Rolling Stones. On the day of my visit he was not having a very good day but on the Thursday I got a phone call, and Roger and I had quite a long chat. I do not know quite how long Roger has been a member of the club but it must be forty years or so, as I believe he was a member when I joined and that was about 1983, so we have both seen many changes along the way. To Linda and all Roger’s family – may I express my sincere condolences at this very sad time.
Eric Gay. Chairman
Last night we had a quiz night on Zoom; 60 very varied questions set by Anne and accompanied by a Power Point presentation to help the hard of hearing! The winning score was 49 so I think she got it just about right. There was a picture quiz in the middle which proved to be popular with most of those present, and also provoked discussion over several that appeared to be wrong. A good time was had by all and it was decided that Anne should work on another for later in the year.
If you missed it I would urge you to give it a try. It’s a great way of meeting other members while we are forced to be physically separated, and a fun way to spend an hour or two a month. If anyone has any suggestions for future club nights please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll see what can be done.
Just for fun I’ve produced a map of our membership, which spreads far and wide across Wessex and beyond. The locations aren’t precise, being based on members’ post towns, but it gives an idea of where people are located.
The club’s first virtual AGM was held via Zoom on the evening of the 8th March. Present were some 13 members, and by the miracles of modern technology Eric was able to join us by telephone link. There was little to discuss, and the main business of the evening was the election of a new committee. All existing committee members agreed to stand for re-election and all were returned unopposed, I would like to thank everyone who attended the meeting, and also those who took the trouble to send in a voting form. We had 49 valid votes and the overwhelming majority was in favour of the existing committee.
Roger Pike has reached the end of his term as President, and although he would have liked to continue and would have been welcomed by us all, unfortunately he is too unwell to do so, and Ted Durbin has agreed to take on the role. Due to the peculiar circumstances neither Roger nor Ted was able to be present so Roger’s farewell speech was delivered by his wife Linda, while Pete Gear as temporary Chairman delivered Ted’s acceptance speech. The Chairman’s address was read by the Secretary as the sound quality of Eric’s link was poor.
Your committee for 2021 will be:
Chairman, Eric Gay. Vice Chair, Pete Gear. Secretary, Ted Edwards. Treasurer, Caroline Turley.
Members, Roy Sandford. Herb Gane. Bryan Coles. Gordon Guley. Roger Pike. Linda Pike and David Lacey. On behalf of the committee I would like to welcome David who, I’m sure, will be a great asset. David will still be editing the newsletter, and Caroline will once more take on the role of Membership Secretary. Anyone wishing to join us and have a say in the running of the club should contact any of the above.
So it’s the end of the month already, and on Monday we were treated to another very entertaining talk by Geoff Wallis. He has set a high bar but if anyone thinks they can match it please get in touch – we can’t keep relying on Geoff!
As I was setting up the Zoom meeting there was a notification from my emails that the latest copy of “Cranking” had arrived, but it had to wait until after the meeting. It was worth waiting for, as not only has David done his usual fine job of squeezing everything in but our members are stepping up to the mark and providing some good copy. It carried news of our photo competition which is starting to take off, so why not go to the club photos page and see if you can do better? Unfortunately it’s only open to members, but with membership only £15 including rally insurance and the monthly magazine that’s easily solved! Any member who has not registered on the site can do so by clicking on the “Join Now” button and completing the registration form. Obviously there is no need to pay if you are already a member, but to save confusion it is best to opt for “bank transfer” which just gives you the bank details, and you can then carry on.
The next Zoom event is the AGM, due to take place on the 8th March at 8pm. All members are urged to come along and make their views known or just sit back and see how it’s done. If anyone hasn’t yet sent in their vote there’s still time, so please contact me if you need a voting form, or download one from this website
The Covid 19 pandemic has forced us to take a look at the way many things have been done in the past, and led us to the decision to hold the AGM online. After consultation, and having examined alternatives, we have also decided that the easiest and fairest thing to do is to forego voting in person for this year and ask everyone to vote by post, whether they will be attending the AGM online or not. This will mean a slight inconvenience to the few who will be attending, but I believe the advantages make the sacrifice worthwhile.
I appreciate that some of you will have thrown the voting form away, having no need of it; if so you can download a copy from the forms section of this site. Anyone who is unable to do this can contact me and I will put one in the post. Apologies for the lateness of this decision, but we were determined to go ahead with “normal” voting until it became clear that it really wasn’t going to work if we had any number of members turning up.
I look forward to seeing some of you next week when Geoff gives his latest talk, and then in a couple more weeks at the AGM.
A reminder to all club members. It has been traditional to renew your membership at the AGM if not done before, but this year the AGM will be held on the 8th March by Zoom, so to vote you will need to renew your membership by post or online before the end of February, as the list will be refreshed at that point and there’s no guarantee that a later renewal will be processed in time. Postal votes will be accepted up to the day of the AGM, and of course there will be voting “in person” for anyone attending. Invitations will be sent to every club member who has supplied an email address.
Can I please remind everybody that on the 22 February we are being treated to another of Geoff Wallis’s entertaining and informative talks. This time he will be telling us about his part in the restoration of three Newcomen engines. It all kicks off on Zoom at 8 pm and a link will be sent to all members for whom I have an email address. If you haven’t so far supplied one and would like to join us please let me have one ASAP.
While we’re on the subject of Zoom don’t forget that the AGM will be held on Zoom this year. The postal votes are coming in steadily so it doesn’t look as if too many will be joining us live, but if you want to please make sure I have your email address. As I won’t be able to distribute the minutes of the last meeting as usual please let me know if you would like a copy sent to you.
I have had a very poor response to my request for rally photographs. It’s been going since 1977 so surely there must be some out there!
There seems to be some confusion about what our insurance actually covers, so this is a very brief explanation.
It is in two parts; there is Employer’s Liability and Product Liability Insurance to the sum of £10 million, which covers anyone working for the club against accidental injury, obviously provided they are following the appropriate rules and guidance, to a height of 10M and a depth of 1M. This would also cover a member of the public taking part in any activity at the behest of the club, subject to being provided with the correct equipment and having had an induction.
Then there is Public Liability Insurance to the sum of £5 million which covers the club and it’s members against liability as a result of accidental injury to a member of the public. There is no stipulation as to what activity they may be doing as long as all relevant rules and regulations are being followed, and we are aware that they are representing the club, which is why we have that question on the enrolment form. Pressure vessels of all kinds are specifically excluded, as are motor vehicles which are subject to the Road Traffic Act and therefore should carry their own insurance. There is no mention of stationary engines, as injury can be caused just as easily by any other mechanical contrivance or simply people!
It’s interesting to note that Covid, SARS and other similar viruses are now specifically excluded.
I would like to wish all current and future members a very happy new year, and remind them that it will soon be time for the AGM, normally held at the Old Down Inn, but almost certain to be held online this year. Anyone wanting to vote or take an active part in the AGM will need to ensure that they have renewed their membership in good time. The enrolment/renewal form is available for download on this website, or you can enrol/renew online. Details of the AGM will be given in “Cranking” and on this site when known.
In many ways the coming year will be a “reset” for us, having had so little action this year, and I can’t see very much happening before Easter, so if you want a say in how the year goes why not join the committee and help shape the future of the club?
Following our successful Zoom talk we are now looking for other contributors, so please let me know if you have anything to offer.
Any suggestions, applications, offers of assistance or comments please to email@example.com
Those of you who didn’t turn up for the meeting last night missed a treat. It’s some time since we have been able to get together socially, and those who were there took the opportunity to catch up. The presentation by Geoff Wallis was very well received and Geoff has promised us more of the same later.
A total of 21 people attended, seven of whom were invited by Geoff, being people who had helped him in his restoration, and everyone from the club agreed that they would like to do it again. Most of those who attended were those who would have come to a physical meeting, but through Zoom all of those who can’t make it to Emborough can take part, so next time come on in!
Any ideas for future events, or indeed offers to put on a show, should be directed at me, firstname.lastname@example.org
So the bad news continues to come in. Hard on the heels of the cancellation of Sedgemoor’s sort out on December 6th came the news that the 1000 Engine Rally will not take place in 2021.
With a glimmer of hope for next year in the form of several vaccines, we are optimistic that we can hold some of our usual events and maybe even some new ones. Meanwhile we are trying out a virtual club meeting on “Zoom” next week and all club members are invited. Any member who has provided an email address will get an invitation with the Zoom link, so if you want to take part please let email@example.com have an email address before the weekend. Sorry, but on this occasion it is strictly members and invited guests only.
Just to add to the misery I have just seen the following announcement:
Sadly, Mells Daffodil Festival won’t be happening in 2021. We have taken the difficult decision to cancel because of the current situation with Covid-19. We hope to be back in 2022.
I have been asked to pass on the sad news that John Allen passed away yesterday. John was an active member of the club for many years and had been fighting cancer for some time. He was in fine form a couple of weeks ago at Wedmore but was taken ill last weekend and returned to hospital. My thoughts are with his family.
I think it will come as no surprise to anyone that the sale at Cranmore this weekend will not now be going ahead. Due to the recent change to restrictions it has been decided that we should not take any unnecessary risks.
A big thank you to Herb and Wendy for Saturday’s event. Somehow they managed not only to get a superb variety of wonderful engines, but they arranged perfect weather too. It was great to see several of our members who had been quite ill looking a lot better, and also nice to welcome a new member, who had waited all year to go to his very first crank-up.
Restricted to club members because of Covid 19 there was a total of 18 exhibitors with 23 engines on display, ranging from small open crank engines to a large trailer-mounted Blackstone Spring Injection engine-driven generator. The event wasn’t advertised but there was a small but steady stream of Sweet’s customers taking an interest in proceedings.
A handful of vintage motorcycles turned up and added a bit of interest, and Sweet’s drive-through was operating all day keeping us fed and watered. At the end of the day Sweet’s added to our donations to end up with a fantastic total of £170, which will be going to the Alzheimers Society.
Good news! We have arranged with East Somerset Railway to hold our usual sale at Cranmore Station on Saturday 3rd October, subject to current Covid 19 guidance. As things can change at very short notice please keep an eye on Facebook and the website for any last minute instructions.
Those of you who have read your “Cranking” this month will see that there is a crank-up planned at Sweet’s Tea Room on the 12th September. Please note that due to the pandemic this has to be pre-booked by ringing Herb, and as numbers are limited club members will get priority.
As usual we ask that you don’t get there before 9am as the gates will be closed and it’s not a good road to have a traffic queue on. Please remember, too, that a good write-up of your exhibit will be appreciated by any of the public who happen to drop in.
Please note that social distancing will be observed and the club takes no responsibility for any infection, however contracted.
Please note that unfortunately, due to a local Council decision, the Retro Festival at Charlton Park Nr Malmesbury on 26th and 27th September has had to be cancelled. I have just heard that the Somerset Festival of Transport has also been cancelled. We are, however, hoping to put something on before too long.
Well, at long last there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. With outdoor markets and car boot sales already under way it can’t be long before we can go out and have some fun. I suspect it will coincide with a break in the weather, but you can’t have everything!
I have been somewhat remiss over the lockdown but at last I’ve got the newsletters up to date, so if anyone’s missed out they can get one here. David is doing a splendid job of editing it, and this month he has yet more new contributors, so please let’s have your support and keep the copy rolling in.
Can anybody help out with the following problem, received via this site: Hi. I wondered if you may be able to help me source a carburettor for my Lister Junior. It is over fuelling badly but was running fine before so assume an internal fault as no settings have been altered. Replies to firstname.lastname@example.org
Can anyone help a fellow member out with a starting handle to suit a Ruston AP 3hp engine with a 1 5/8″ diameter crank?
Replies to email@example.com
It is nearly time for the next newsletter, and it is entirely possible that it will be circulated only by electronic means as the printers are not at work. If you have not already done so please consider supplying an email address so that we can get a copy out to you.
Owing to the current and proposed restrictions Wessex Stationary Engine Club has decided to curtail all activities for the foreseeable future. All club nights have been suspended, and the bike jumble/sale planned for the 28th of this month has been postponed, as has the Midsummer Vintage Show due to take place on the 20th and 21st June. We apologise for any inconvenience but we have taken this action in the interests of our members and guests, and we will produce a revised calendar when more is known about the progress of the virus.
There are a couple of extra events that might make up for what looks like being a disastrous summer. We have been invited to the Worton Village Day at Five Lanes Farm on the 5th September, and the following day Trowbridge and Westbury Lions are holding their excellent annual White Horse Classic & Vintage Vehicle Show, and they have asked us to go along. For Worton please contact Eric on 01225 754374 and for the White Horse Classic & Vintage Vehicle Show entry is on line https://www.whitehorsevehicleshow.org/ or contact me on 0775 1918283 for more information.
For those who managed to navigate the road closed and diversion signs and get to the East Somerset Railway station at Cranmore last Saturday it was well worth it. The weather at first was mild and pleasant, although the wind picked up later and drove us away!
There was a fine selection of bits and pieces, and several engines being bought and sold, and I think everyone did OK. The club benefited from the modest entry fees and the only downside was that the railway seemed to have forgotten we were coming and didn’t have the cafe open, and I for one was looking forward to a breakfast.
We are keeping our collective fingers crossed for the next event at Standerwick on the 28th March. There is a possibility that the authorities might by then have banned public gatherings, in which case I’ll let everyone know through this page. For the avoidance of doubt it is a motorcycle jumble combined with a spares sort-out, and all are welcome. No need to book unless you want a table in the hall, in which case it would be as well to check availability with Gareth on 07972 433890
The entire archive of newsletters from 1977 to the present is now loaded onto the website. It’s made fascinating reading (even I’m not sad enough to read them all, but I read snippets while the scanner was doing it’s bit), and there are some interesting technical snippets amongst the chit chat. There are some gaps, and although I’m assured that they are where a newsletter wasn’t produced for one reason or another I would welcome being proved wrong if anyone has the missing issues. There is also a page missing from one or two, and it would be amazing if they were to miraculously appear!
Some of them are a bit skewed, which was a scanner problem, and if anyone should need a “straight” copy I’m sure it could be arranged.
A reminder that the AGM is coming up, and to have a vote you will need to be a paid-up member. If you can’t make it but still want a say in the running of the club you can complete and return the postal voting form, but please don’t forget to mark the envelope “postal vote” so that it remains sealed until the AGM.
You can enrol on this website using the appropriate button, and if you enroled online last year you can log in using the user name and password you set then, and renew with a click.
Well here we are starting off a new year. All the club nights and crank-ups are on the calendar. To start the year off our first club night, on January 27th, will be a talk by Mr John Rossiter about the big Robey pumping engine once used at a brewery in Shepton Mallet. Mr Rossiter has the original drawings and information about the engine and it promises to be an interesting and entertaining talk
I apologise if anyone has experienced difficulty renewing their club membership online. This was due to unforeseen technical difficulties that have now been resolved. You will see that there is now a “login” button on the right of the menu bar. If you login using the user name and password you created last year you will be able to renew using the “sign up” button in the normal way. New members can still sign up using the home page buttons as normal. Please let me know if you have any problems with this system.
1 January 2020
Mince Pie Crank-up
Some 21 engines turned up at Whaddon Farm on Sunday 29th December for the Mince Pie Crank-up, and what a varied bunch they were. I fear it would be too boring just to list all the engines and their owners; but there were big ones, like Pete’s Hornsby and Gordon’s Lister, both driving pumps, and there were little ones, like Roger’s Leek gas engine and Richard’s anonymous genset and furious little Alco.
Ash brought along his splendid re-badged Japy, and Jez a somewhat unusual and very tidy Slavia, which shared the centre ground with a Ruston and a Fowler, also very tidy and running well. By sheer coincidence all those with generators ended up together on one side of the barn, giving a good display and a welcoming glow, while for some reason the pumps were mainly on the other side – apart from Mark’s very tidy Ruston.
As usual Gordon made sure everyone was settled, while the ladies led by Paula (and helped by Tommy) put on a sumptuous spread and kept the urn topped up. The day ended as usual with a raffle, and between this and the charity box a goodly sum was raised for Alzheimer’s Support.
The programme for the coming year will be published very soon and among the crank-ups there will be another one at Whaddon Farm, so if you haven’t yet tried it why not come along and enjoy the fun? There’s plenty of room in that barn!
We are delighted to welcome Pete Gear as our new Vice Chairman. Pete brings a wealth of experience and we are sure he will be a great asset to the club.
There was a really good turnout last night for the annual Wessex quiz. This time Anne had set some very easy questions, or so we thought until we got some of them wrong! Bowls of chips and a raffle completed the evening, and we had time to have a good natter and exchange early Christmas wishes. Don’t forget the the mince pie crank-up on the 29th December, when Paula and Gordon once again extend their hospitality at Whaddon Farm. A phone call would be appreciated to help Paula estimate the amount of soup and crumble needed!
Monday 28th October club night. This was going to be the Wessex Club’s model night, regretfully not the long-legged type in a short skirt.
I am very grateful to all those club members who came along and put on quite a show of excellent models, from steam and electric powered 16mm trains to Roger Kempson giving us such an insight into how he restores music boxes, and I do not mean the tiny ones with the fairy that prances around when the lid is opened. Roger had brought along a box that he had spent months rebuilding, and repinning the cylinder. Talk about a labour of love, this alone I believe took around nine months to complete, let alone the rest of the work.
I took along a collection of steam engines that I have collected and restored over the years, Ted had brought a brief case full of model aircraft engines, they are for sale. Interested? then ring Ted on 07751918283. I was very tempted, but having so many projects on the go at this time one has to draw the line and stop buying goodies and toys.
It has just been pointed out to me that there is no St Margaret’s Church in Market Lavington. Gary’s funeral will in fact be at St Mary’s Church. SN10 4DU
Apologies for any confusion
Gary’s funeral will take place at St Margarets Church, Market Lavington at 11am on the 5th November.
On Monday the seventh of October the Wessex Stationary engine Club Ltd. lost one of its most valued members, Gary Sainsbury.
Gary had been a member of the club ever since we resurrected the rally at Semington twelve years ago. He came along to help and ended up becoming section steward for our working section, and with Pauline running the craft section.
Gary never had to be asked to help, he always seemed to know that help was needed and would be the first one to help or lend a hand. I asked him to join the committee of the Wessex Midsummer Vintage Show, I did not have to ask twice and for around ten years he has served not only on the show committee but as a valued member of the Wessex Stationary Engine Club committee.
Gary was an agricultural engineer for many years, then a change to working for the military on Salisbury Plain, dangerous work retrieving shells fired for testing, at times going down into the ground for around forty feet. For the last few years after being made redundant he ran his own business, horticultural machinery repairs.
I know he will be missed by all that knew him. The Wessex Stationary Engine Club has lost a very valued member, and I myself have lost the best friend I could ever have.
To Pauline, Mary and all of Gary’s friends and relations we the committee and members would like to express our sincere condolences.
Goodbye dear friend. May you rest in peace.
Eric Gay. Chairman W.S.E.C.
The Midsummer Show entry forms and membership renewal form for 2020 are now in the “Forms” section of the website. Please note that from now on any renewals or new enrolments will be valid for 2019/2020 although the new insurance card will not be available until the end of the year. That also applies to any online enrolments or renewals.
Despite the lack of a speaker, last night’s meeting went well. After Eric gave a short talk on Fowler engines and the usual raffle was held there was a chance for members to mingle and chat. It was good to see Roger looking so fit after his recent serious health scare, and good to see that so many members had taken the trouble to come along. The next meeting will be the model evening on October 28th, so bring along your models and show us what you can do!
It is with great sadness that I must announce the passing of Mary Verrall after suffering a recent set-back. Mary and Brian have been members of the club since the beginning, some 40 years ago, so most of you will have known her and will appreciate all she did for the club. She will be missed, and my thoughts go out to Brian and family.
On Monday night we were treated to an interesting talk by Terry Williams, telling us of his family’s five-year project to set up the Poppy of Honour, in which the names of all the British and commonwealth soldiers killed in the first world war are written on poppies and preserved for the future, along with a box of representative articles from the war. The names were written by volunteers all over the world, and assembled by another group of volunteers at home, all of the materials and construction work being donated by local businesses.
The Poppy of Honour began as a response to finding out that the names of all of those killed were not recorded on a single memorial, only on individual memorials around the country, and there was very little representation of the commonwealth soldiers, of whom there were many. Terry set out to do something about it. In sourcing the poppies he encountered resistance from the British Legion, who wanted payment for any help they gave him, and even went so far as to demand that the Poppy be handed over to them when finished. As the British Legion only commemorate the British dead, and then in a very formulaic way, Terry wasn’t prepared to do that.
With the success of the Poppy’s tour Terry is now involved in constructing a museum near Wincanton, in which everyone of any age, sex, race and religion can interact with the memorial, in the hope that the young can be educated in the futility of war and the stupidity of fighting.
Throughout the talk Terry’s passion showed, and we all left with plenty to think about.
At the recent Maiden Bradley crank-up a local photographer, David Hargrave, came along and took some shots for a magazine. He was kind enough to let me have the pictures which are now on the “Club Photos” page of this website. You can find more plus a great write-up at https://www.dcrh.co.uk/galleries-information/2019-events/
A Soldier in the Great War
Just fifteen of us turned up at the Old Down Inn last night to hear Barry Williamson give us a talk. It started off quite slowly but it soon became apparent that it was a fascinating tale of detective work by himself and a group of schoolchildren whom he was teaching at the time.
Following the story of one soldier, chosen at random from the memorial board at their school, they traced his history from his birth in Clifton to when he was tragically killed in the first world war, and were able to contact his last surviving relatives and find a home for his effects, including the letters he wrote to his mother, and to go to see his grave. As well as being an intriguing story it was also a reminder of the futility of war, and the struggles of those involved in it.
It was remarkable that this one person, chosen at random, should prove to be such a fascinating subject when he could so easily have led to a disappointing dead end.
The Somerset Arms, Maiden Bradley. 28th July.
Over twenty engines, a miniature steam traction engine, a display of tools, some model steam engines, an air engine and a motorcycle were all on display at the Somerset Arms on Sunday.
The weather was just about perfect and the venue couldn’t have been much better. With plenty of food and drink at the bar and a huge BBQ in the garden our hosts couldn’t have been any more welcoming.
There were a few engines I don’t remember seeing before as well as some old favourites, and David Lacey even brought his drone along to take some high-level photos. On the subject of photos there was also a professional photographer there to take some for the Vintage Spirit magazine, and various members have posted some on our Facebook page.
“Gutenberg To Gates”
a report by Roger Pike
Eric, the Chairman, opened the meeting with a few announcements and then introduced the speaker for the evening – Mr Roy Ackrill. There were 17 members present and we were all treated to a very interesting talk, complete with items about the early printing to present day.
Printing was a very major industry from way back. The Bible was one of the main items to change from decade to decade. Symbols and Roman letters were used at the beginning, changing all through the years until the letters are as we know them today.
One main man was Gutenberg, who used natural oils to make ink, moving on from clay and gum. He was born in roughly 1394/1404 and died 1468. He attended grammar school and was responsible for the first printed bible, of which there are only 48 surviving today.
Lots of items were passed around the room; printing letters, paperwork with different prints and newspapers for us all to look at. Magnifying glass or glasses were definitely needed. A small printing press was on show too.
William Caxton, who died in 1491, was the first English printer. William Tyndale, who spoke 8 languages, translated and printed the first Tyndale bible. The Bible played a big part in the English language. The type-setting point progressed from 1 sheet at a time to the present day with hundreds of copies. The printing industry used many types of presses.
In 1712 there was a newspaper tax of 1d. Roy brought an old Bristol Journal from 1785 to compare printing and language. In 1955 Bill Gates modernised things again by introducing microsoft. As the years go on the internet is taking over most communications these days with the use of Facebook and emails, which have now made the art of letter writing a dying thing. The talk was so interesting and Roy went for 15 mins longer than he should have. Lots of interest and questions followed, with 3 ex-printers being in the audience
Eric then thanked Roy for one of the best talks we have had. The raffle then took place and everyone left having had a really good evening
Planning for the 2020 Wessex Midsummer Vintage Show has now begun, so would anyone willing to help, or with any ideas for improving the show, please contact the Secretary. Meetings are held once a month in Trowbridge and usually last for a couple of hours. Come and join the team, and help to make next years show the best ever.
Our first event at the Tuckers Grave Inn turned out to be a very enjoyable affair. Although not particularly warm the sun shone brightly all day on a happy band of engineers. Our hosts put on a BBQ, which was well received, and of course drinks flowed freely throughout the day for those not driving. The beer garden seemed to be extremely popular.
Upon arrival it appeared that the field had been double-booked, but we fitted in well with the amateur radio enthusiasts who were holding a rally at the same time. The twenty-odd engines, a beautifully restored US Army staff car, some nice miniature cars and a couple of bikes just about filled the remaining space. Although the turnout of vendors was disappointing the few people who were selling had a fine selection of goods, and lots of people were seen carrying away their purchases.
The engines on show ranged from Robin’s hot air engine to a lovely Victoria being shown by Don and Christine. Steve and Sacha brought along a little Tarpen generator that buzzed away all day keeping its bulb alight, while next door Sam’s Christensen was far more laid back. There was a great variety of pumps driven by a number of different engines; Lister, Bernard and Amanco to name but a few, and Roger had his T300 generator rigged up, shining bright despite the sunshine. Eric seemed to be having trouble with his wick, but he had an interesting display nonetheless.
Thank you to everyone who came along to this, the first, I hope, of many crank-ups at this venue. I can think of few better ways to spend a sunny Sunday, and I hope that next time a few more sellers will take advantage of the opportunity to flog off some stuff. And a mention must go to the ladies who worked tirelessly selling raffle tickets to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
About 25 members got together at the Old Down Inn last night to hear Tony Coverdale’s interesting talk on the copper and brass industry along the Avon in the 18th and 19th century. He explained how it was tied in to the slave trade, and how, like so many of our industries, failure to adapt led to its demise.
Our next talk, on the 20th May, takes us a little further afield, to the moon! I look forward to joining lots of members and non-members to hear from Mike Chipperfield “how Newton and Apollo got us to the moon”.
The WSEC presence at Mells Daffodil Festival was pretty impressive, with over 40 engines of over 23 different makes and all types. Robin had his hot air engines, Adrian his model steam, powered as usual by the trusty Wolseley and compressor, and Adrian Masters a couple of Redwing models. The full-size engines ranged from an almost unique vertical 1898 ish Pierce 1 hp to a tank-cooled Wolseley WD8 and Dave & Mary’s 5-1/2 hp Blackstone. There was an impressive variety of driven equipment too, with lots of different pumps, and corn mills ranging from Mr Bishop’s little Bentall No 1 to the much larger one of Alex Shire. Well done to all, especially Herb who arranged it and put in most of the work, and the organisers of the festival for inviting us.
Despite a bitterly cold wind we had a good turnout for the crank-up at the White Horse Country Park in Westbury yesterday. The miniature train was kept busy giving rides, and lots of people came to see what was an extremely varied selection of engines. Apologies to anyone who missed us, but I’m afraid that in the end the cold got to us and by three thirty it was all over.
What a fine day for the Cranmore sale. Lots of sellers, lots of buyers, and a fine sunny morning. Who could ask for more? If you missed it don’t miss the next one, at Tucker’s Grave on the 12th May.