Last night’s meeting was attended by nine members, all of whom had a thoroughly good time. We were allocated the small room which turned out to be ideal for the small number of us and helped to create a friendly atmosphere.

Eric entertained us with some of his tales and answered some questions which turned out to be excellent starting points for other conversations, then we just settled down to a good natter. Bob Hallam asked us if we could identify a strange object he had, but nobody could, and a measure of the success of the meeting is that we didn’t leave until around 10.30

Club meetings are what we make of them, and last night proved that we don’t need a speaker to entertain us, just a bunch of friends. So why not make a point of coming along in the new year and making every evening a good one.


The committee has decided that the cost of membership for 2024 will increase to £20 for an individual membership and £25 for joint from 1 January 2024. We believe that this represents good value given the excellent insurance cover and other benefits of membership, but you can still save a few quid by renewing early.

It’s very quiet at the moment but you can come along to the Old Down Inn on Monday for a last get-together before Christmas.


Just a reminder that you can now renew through the website, and I assure you it is far more user-friendly than it was before. Any renewals from now on will be valid for 2024, and although we have no plans to increase the membership fee it might well be necessary given the general increase in the cost of everything else, including insurance, so renewing now would be a good plan.

The next event on our calendar, and the last of the year, is Gordon’s crank-up at Whaddon Farm. Paula will once again be providing the food, and it will be held in the barn if the weather looks at all iffy, but anyone who wishes can still go outside. Please let Gordon know if you intend to come so that he and Paula can plan the catering.



Members will be saddened to learn of the death of Brian Verrall following a long illness. Brian was one of our longest-serving members and one who served the club in a number of capacities, serving on the committee until ill health forced his retirement a few years ago but continuing to help with the annual show in an advisory capacity.

His funeral will be held at Sedgemoor Crematorium on Monday the 30th  October at 12 noon.





The Bradford Leigh Vintage Gathering took place in mixed conditions. After a wonderfully warm and dry week once again the weather deteriorated over the course of the weekend, to the extent that we closed after lunch on Sunday, and didn’t charge for entry but requested donations – which were very generously given.

I think the weather must have put off some of our exhibitors, because we opened on Saturday to a fairly small entry, stationary engines being by far the greatest number. Clive Compton, in addition to letting us use his land, brought along his father’s large collection of tractors and his own collection of sprayers and other stationary engines, a number of which were run at times during the weekend. He also brought along a couple of road rollers which attracted a lot of attention, One was a small patching roller with a two cylinder diesel engine of unknown make (to the writer anyway), and the other a larger machine of great rarity with a two cylinder Blackstone diesel engine. Both of these were driven around from time to time to the delight of our visitors. He also had a very colourful living van which was in use over the weekend.

The small craft marquee – again courtesy of Clive – contained a some beautiful crafts, from glassware to wood carving, and attracted quite a bit of attention. Unfortunately two other craft stalls didn’t fare so well. Plenty of food and drink was available and those I asked on the way out said they had a good time, many asking if we were doing it again next year.

On Saturday the fairground organ provided a wonderful musical background. Unlike many smaller organs this one had a repertoire which could play for 12 hours without repeating, and I for one missed it on Sunday after it had gone home early due to the weather forecast.

The final figures aren’t in yet but I think it is safe to say that Dorothy House will get a reasonable sum after we have paid expenses, and a representative of the charity was with us on Sunday. Great thanks are due to Eric for doing most of the leg work, and to Clive for his very generous offer of land and other help.


There was a good turnout at at Lillie’s Cider Farm for the Roger Pike Memorial Rally on Sunday. Some 15 engines turned up, together with a couple of tractors, a miniature steam engine, some static displays and a motorcycle, but when the catering van failed to appear all seemed lost. Then Lillie’s came up trumps, taking orders for breakfast and dashing off to the nearest cafe, duly returning with breakfast rolls, after which everyone’s day brightened.

The rain held off for the most part and there was even some sun, and the cider shop saw a steady trade, not only of cider both to consume and take away but tea and coffee, making up for the lack of a catering van. Thanks are due to Lillie’s for allowing us to use their premises and for helping out.

The cup for the best engine, voted for by all present, was won by Adrian Grant with his 8 stroke Aermotor. Other notable exhibits were the pair of Rawleigh-Schryers shown by Tim and Ashley Humphries and Trevor Wilcox’s trailer-mounted Lister driving a pair of pumps.

Over £100 was raised for Dorothy House and a good time was had by all. Everyone agreed that the club should return to the venue in the future.


On Monday I was joined by 12 other members at the Old Down Inn to listen to a very entertaining talk by John Dando on the history of West Country carnivals. It was great to listen to somebody who not only knew the subject well but was deeply involved in it and obviously loved it. He told us many facts we didn’t already know, regaled us with tales from various carnivals and showed us some of the costumes used over the years, along with torches and flares. John has promised to return next year to give the talk on victorian privvies that we missed this year, and it promises to be great fun

A heads up that Linda’s event at Lilleys Cider Farm will take place this coming Sunday (27th) and our Bradford show will be upon us before long. I would urge anyone not already booked in to come along anyway and we will find room. The same applies to the White Horse Vehicle show on the 3rd September, where online registration has been very slow. Give me a ring or send a message and come along. It’s always a great little show.


Apologies for the very short notice of last night’s meeting. We were treated to a short but very entertaining and informative illustrated talk on the history and work of the Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB), now using hovercraft in addition to a boat. The next meeting will feature a talk by John Dando on West country Carnivals and will take place a week early, on 21st August, because of the bank holiday.


Stop Press! At the last minute we have been able to arrange a film show and talk on hovercraft for tonight’s club meeting. As usual it will be held at the Old Down Inn, Emborough at 8pm and everyone is welcome, club member or not.

26/7 2023

Next Monday’s meeting will once again take place at 8pm at the Old Down Inn at Emborough. Attendance has been a bit thin recently and it would be good to see a few new faces. This is a chance to get together and exchange news,views, sales and wants. This month we can also look forward to Eric looking back over his life, so why not come along and find out more about the people in your club.


Due to circumstances beyond our control the Roger Pike Memorial Crank-up will now take place on Sunday 27th August, not Saturday 26th. All other details remain the same. As always any offers of help on the Saturday with setting-up will be welcome.


The crank-up held at Sweets Tea Rooms last Saturday was a great success despite there being fewer exhibits than usual (somebody said there was a football match on), and the good weather helped. It was good to see a few new faces and some great engines, not to mention Gerald’s fairground organ which kept us entertained throughout the day, and a handful of motorcycles and cars which also turned up.

Thanks are due to Herb, his family and helpers for putting on the show and also organising the raffle and collection, which together raised £131.50 for The Alzheimer’s Society.

The next club event is at Collett Park this coming Saturday (10/6/2023) and the weather should be good, with a slight possibility of the odd thunder storm.


If you weren’t at the Old Down Inn last night (22/5/23) you missed a treat. John Dando gave a talk on the origins and development of jazz music along with personal recollections and, of course, music. The music even attracted some hotel residents who joined us for the remainder of the talk. John will be back on 21st August to tell us about another of his passions, Somerset Carnivals.

The next meeting, on the 26th June, will be another of Anne’s popular quiz nights, so come along and join in, it’s always fun.


Good morning. Could anyone help with information on GRAY MODEL N engines? If you have any info and would like to help please contact me through this website or by email to



The club meeting held at the Old Down Inn on the 24th April was a great success for those who attended, few though they were. Eric brought along a couple of his steam models and told us about their origins, and Mary Chapman brought along a fascinating hand-made hot air engine and a noisy model John Deere. Both entertained us with tales during the evening, and before we knew it it was 10pm and time to go home.

If we want to retain free use of the room we have to pay something back in the way of custom for the pub, and the handful of us there didn’t do a lot towards that. The next meeting features a talk by John Dando on the subject of Jazz music on the 22nd May at 8pm. I would urge everyone who can to support the club and come along. You never know, you might even enjoy it!


I‘ve just got back from Westonzoyland ( The very good news is that we can go down on the Saturday and set up, run the engines etc. There will be power, water and toilet/shower facilities available. Space is somewhat limited so we’re not expecting to be able to accommodate more than 30 – 40 depending on the size of support vehicles. Entry forms will be available on the website shortly with further details.

We have also visited the Bradford Leigh site, and have decided that we can run the event in September over two days if there is sufficient demand. Entry forms for this event should be available shortly too.


I would like to apologise to all our members who came to the meeting last night. The speaker, despite being contacted at the weekend to confirm, got the day wrong. We will try and re-schedule his talk for the end of the year. The next meeting will be the AGM on the 27th March


The club has been asked by the Westonzoyland Pumping Station to display at their Father’s Day Steam-up on the 18th June. We should have finalised arrangements by early next month when details and an entry form will be available here. The pumping station museum is a fascinating place to visit, so this promises to be an entertaining and enjoyable day out which could lead to further visits in the future. I’m sure we can repay them for their invitation by putting on a good show.


First the bad news. We have decided to cancel the annual Wessex Midsummer Vintage Show for 2023. We took this action very reluctantly after failing to secure a suitable site. There is, however, good news. We are confident that we will have a site for 2024, and hope to say where it is very soon. We are also hoping to put on a special event on Father’s Day, which would normally be day two of the show, so please don’t re-arrange your calendar just yet. I hope to be able to tell you more very shortly.

The third piece of good news is that Gordon will be holding another crank-up at Whaddon Farm and you are invited to come along and enjoy the day, which will once again be in aid of The Alzheimer’s Society, and the usual food and drink will be provided by Paula, Sue and Debbie.

The date is the 19th March, and the venue is Whaddon Farm, Hilperton, Trowbridge, Wiltshire. BA14 6NR If you wish to attend please let Gordon know on 07786542782

Finally, we have now arranged a crank-up in Bradford-on-Avon for September. Full details will be on here very shortly.


Christmas is over, and the first sign of spring was the annual crank-up at Whaddon Farm, courtesy of Gordon and Paula. The number of engines seemed slightly down this year but not the quality and variety. The weather was mild for the time of year, and being in the barn meant that we all had a good time, wet or dry, helped by the usual fine fare from Paula, Debbie and Sue. After the problems of lockdown and restrictions we were once again able to hold a raffle and this, together with other receipts meant that a goodly sum was able to be donated to the Alzheimers Society. A member very generously donated £145, £133.62 was taken in return for food and drink, and the raffle raised £84. Thanks are due to everyone concerned in raising the total of £362.62 which has now been passed on to the charity. We all look forward to doing it all again before too long.

We have a full calendar of monthly talks at the Old Down Inn and a good number of crank-ups, including a new venue at Bradford on Avon, and another near Frome, As I write we are still unable to confirm the venue for our annual show, but we still have options and Eric is holding talks this week which seem likely to bring some good news on that front.

The AGM is being held in March this year, and it is hoped that we can use Zoom to bring it to the maximum number of members. We are still without a Treasurer, and without a volunteer to fill this vital but undemanding role things are very difficult for the rest of the committee, so if you feel this is something that you could do, or indeed if any committee role appeals to you, please get in touch with any committee member.


With no club meeting this month and the end of the season being pretty much with us there isn’t a lot to report. We are still looking for a home for our show; we have been offered one which could be pretty good but will need developing over a few years, and there is still a chance of getting the use of an existing site, which is well known and therefore would be easier to move into. Watch this space for news. Either way we will be putting on the best show we can and would welcome anyone wishing to volunteer. You can help out at the show itself, one day or both days, for as long as you can spare, or you can join the team in planning the show. Although we meet in Trowbridge we can always use Zoom if we need to so that distance is no obstacle to joining in.

We have nearly finalised the club meeting calendar for next year; I hope to put it on here in the next week or so, and we intend to produce the printed calendar which has been absent for a couple of years, but we still need a speaker for July, so if anyone would like to come and entertain us they would be most welcome. Please contact Eric or me.

All that remains is to remind you that Gordon is hosting another Mince Pie Crank-up at Whaddon Farm, so if you want to sample the wonderful fare provided by Paula and her team, and contribute a little to charity, come and join us on the 29th December at BA14 6NR. Signs from Hilperton.


A small but select group of us enjoyed an interesting talk last night despite the projector playing up again. Andy Briggs gave us a short history of the Observer Corps (later the Royal Observer Corps) and showed us some interesting exhibits from the time. It seems it was one government scheme that actually came together, and played a large part in keeping our island safe during WWII and during the cold war.

Don’t forget that there will be no club meeting next month for obvious reasons, so I will wish you a Merry Christmas and look forward to a new programme of events next year. I know Eric has some planned so watch this space.


Last night’s club meeting at the Old Down Inn featured an illustrated talk by Ian Miles who spoke about the history of the Somerset levels and the part played by the Westonzoyland pumping station, which whetted our appetite for another visit, and we will be arranging a crank-up there for next year. It’s a very interesting museum for anyone with an interest in things mechanical and I can thoroughly recommend it.

There will also be another of our popular visits to the WSME site at Westbury early next year. Details will be available as soon as plans are finalised.

One date that is available is this coming Saturday, 1 October, when we are holding another sale at Cranmore station, so come along and sell your surplus bits, and maybe fill your shed with more junk! It all kicks off at 8am and it will be signed from the A361


The talk last Monday got off to a bit of a shaky start when the projector refused to play, but our speaker rose to the occasion and gave a very interesting talk on the subject of the East Somerset Railway. Some 25 turned up and it was good to get back in the swing of club meetings at the Old down Inn.

The next meeting will be on the 26th September when the speaker will be Iain Miles, speaking on the subject of the Westonzoyland Pumping Station.

You have a choice of splendid venues this Sunday (4th). Herb is putting on another crank-up at Sweet’s Tea Rooms while for those of a more Wiltshire persuasion I will be at the White Horse Country Park for the Westbury & Trowbridge Lions’ White Horse Classic & Vintage Vehicle Show. Both of these events are for charity so your support at one or the other would be appreciated.


I’ve been asked to remind you that Herb is organising one of his crank-ups at Sweet’s Tea Rooms & Museum on the 4th September. It’s always a good event and it’s worth going there just for the museum. There is no need to book, just turn up on the day, but please leave it until after 9am to avoid queues on the road.

Please note that before that we have a club meeting on the 22nd August (a week early because of the bank holiday) when Nick Waton of the East Somerset Railway will be giving us a talk, illustrated with slides and video.


Photos from the Midsummer Vintage Show are now available in Club Photos.


The AGM was held last night at the Old Down Inn with a Zoom link for those unable to make it. In the event there were five on Zoom and some 25 in the room, most of them members. All committee members were re-elected and two new members were co-opted, Mark Taylor and Paul Allen who has, of course, served before. Welcome to both of you.


Last Sunday saw us going to Whaddon Farm, where Gordon had prepared a field for Linda’s Roger Pike Memorial Crank-up, which was held in warm and dry but windy weather. A good time was had by all, with plenty to eat and drink, good company and even a small fairground organ in the afternoon. The Roger Pike Trophy for the best exhibit was won convincingly by Mike Snook with his collection of models, all running on compressed air. A raffle was held before leaving and in all a total of £255 was raised for Dorothy House.


So that’s the Wessex Midsummer Vintage Show over for another year. The weather tried it’s best to spoil it but Sunday wasn’t too bad and the rain held off until after the show closed, soaking us as we cleared up! We fully intend to run again next on the same weekend but the venue is as yet uncertain.

My plea for volunteers was answered by a handful of wonderful members without whom it would have been very difficult to run the show. The pay gate was the main beneficiary, where Linda was set to be the sole cashier until they turned up. I will not single out any particular person for praise but if you’re reading this you know who you are.

Thanks also to the various section stewards, who gathered together a magnificent selection of exhibits and sorted out the few problems without fuss.

An appreciable amount was raised which will help to keep the fees down again next year and a good sum will go to our chosen charity, who also had a presence there. Full details will no doubt be given next week at the AGM.

On the subject of the AGM you are all urged to come along to the Old Down Inn, but for those who can’t we are hoping to have a live stream on Zoom. I will send out the link beforehand so that you can join in.


The Wessex Midsummer Vintage Show is almost upon us and we need volunteers before and on the day. Please help us to make this a great showcase for the club and our new venue.

We especially need marshals to help and direct the public, and staff for the pay point. All those willing to lend a hand, even if only for one day, should contact me. secretary@wessexsec,org 07751 918283


The Westbury and Trowbridge Lions have once again invited us to their White Horse Vehicle Show on the 4th September. This was a great show last time we went and I’m sure it will be even better this time.

Please contact me for details 07751 918283


Preparations for the annual show are picking up speed as June approaches. For those who would like to come to the show but don’t like handling cash we will be able to take contactless or chip & pin card payments on the gate this year.

22/4 22

Just a reminder that the next club meeting (next Monday at 8pm) will be held at the Old Down Inn, Emborough where Eric will be exhibiting a couple of his fractional hp engines and talking about their restoration.


The latest blow in a very sad couple of years for the club is that good friend and long-time committee member Roy Sandford passed away on 30th March. A service to celebrate Roy’s life will be held at Potterne Cemetery on Wednesday 20th April at 3.30pm. Family flowers only please. Donations if desired for The Lackham College Preservation Society.


The Market Lavington organisers have asked me to pass on their thanks to everyone who has entered a stationary engine in their vintage meet on the 16th & 17th July, but due to great demand entries are now closed. They hope to see you there as visitors.

Don’t forget that tomorrow’s meeting will be at the Old Down Inn, Emborough.


The committee has decided to resume meetings at the Old Down Inn, and we are looking into ways of integrating them with Zoom so that in future everyone will get a chance to join in.

The next meeting will be on the 28th March and the guest speaker will be Kim Ward, He will be speaking on the subject of “Professional Model Making”. As someone who has great experience of making models for F1, aerospace and many other industries he should be able to give us an extremely interesting evening. I would stress that it isn’t about toys, but models for wind tunnel testing, town planning etc.

I would like to remind you that it is very important to let Gordon or another committee member know if you intend to go to the Whaddon Farm crank-up on the 20th as they are always well supported and space is limited.


Welcome to March, and the start of our year. The Cranmore sort-out is coming up on the 19th followed the next day by Gordon’s crank-up at Whaddon Farm, both events not to be missed.

The club meeting on Monday saw the return of Geoff Wallis on Zoom, this time enlightening us on the finer points of wrought iron, cast iron and steel. With a collection of slides and a video he made the subject entertaining and informative, and although I thought I was pretty well up on the subject I picked up a few things that I didn’t know (or maybe I’d forgotten).

At the moment I haven’t any information on the next meeting but I know Eric is keen to return to the Old Down Inn, so watch this space.


Many of you will be aware that our Chairman Eric’s lovely wife Maureen recently lost her battle with cancer. As a long-standing member of the club in her own right Maureen will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her. For those wishing to pay their respects the funeral arrangements are as follows:

West Wiltshire Crematorium, Semington.  Thursday 17th February at 3.15 pm


The week after Christmas we held our opening event at Whaddon Farm, and it was a great success despite several regulars not being there. There were a number of well-prepared engines running well all day, and a couple playing up enough to keep their owners busy.

With the rain never far away it was wonderful to be under cover and in the relative warmth of the barn. Chris and Dennis Barnes brought a lovely big Tangye AA and pump, Dave Lacy his usual assortment of big and small engines, and be sure to see the pictures of the scale Field Marshall appearing at Whaddon for the first time.

Paula, Sue and Debbie were once again in charge of the catering and did us proud. It’s worth going to the farm just for the food, and the engines are a bonus! Because of Covid we didn’t hold the usual raffle but donations raised a total of £160.51 for charity.


The membership system is up and running so why not take advantage of it and renew the easy way? Payment can be by bank transfer or Paypal and it takes seconds.


A heads-up for everyone wishing to go to Whaddon crank-up on Wednesday. To date nobody has contacted Gordon, so as we we can only assume that nobody is going Gordon doesn’t know whether or not to clear the area, and if he does there will be no snacks, drinks or apple crumble! So if you are looking forward to the usual excellent catering I would advise you to contact Gordon as soon as possible and let him know. Contact details on the events page.

I have great pleasure in reporting that we have a new venue for the show. It will be held on the White Horse Country Park in Westbury, and those of you who attended the Vintage & Classic Car Show there earlier this year will know what a good venue it is, so I hope I can look forward to your support. Anyone wishing to help either with the organising or on the day should contact me or any other committee member, any help is welcome.


Would any member planning to attend the Whaddon Farm crank-up please note that with the Covid situation being so fluid it is possible that we may face further restrictions or even cancellation, so please keep an eye on this page and Facebook for the latest position.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members a very happy Christmas and look forward to a full calendar next year.


I’m sorry there hasn’t been a lot to report recently, but don’t forget to let Gordon know if you intend to go to the Whaddon Farm crank-up on the 29th December. Details on the events calendar.

The big news this week is that, due to a last minute change of heart by the landowner, we will be unable to use the Semington showground next year. The show will go ahead as planned but at another, possibly better, venue. We have several options at the moment and the new venue will be announced on here and on the show website as soon as it is confirmed.



Just the thing to blow the cobwebs away after Christmas. Gordon is holding another post-Christmas crank-up on the 29th December. Please ring him to let him know if you’re coming as it helps a lot with the planning.


Due to the high and rising number of Covid cases in Somerset, and Mendip in particular, we have decided to suspend face to face meetings until further notice. We haven’t had time to arrange any activity for the coming Monday but a Zoom link will be sent out for those wishing to meet online. We have a few regulars but it’s always good to meet other members and put names to faces, so why not pop in, if only for a few minutes? If any non-members would like the link please contact me,

We would be very pleased to hear from anyone who can suggest a speaker or other activity for future meetings, on Zoom or in person.


The Cranmore sale was a great success with over £200 being returned to the club funds, and lots of happy faces going home with their purchases. There will be two sales at Cranmore next year as usual if nothing gets in the way!

We have been invited as a club to exhibit at the Somerset Festival of Transport next year under our banner. Anyone wishing to take part can download a form now from this website. Please note that to join in the club display entry forms must be returned to me, not to the SFoT. We have also been invited to the excellent White Horse Classic and Vintage Vehicle Show again, but details have yet to be finalised.

The calendar for next year is now being filled and will be posted on this site as soon as the dates are set.


Last Monday we held our first “live” club meeting since the lockdown, at the Old Down Inn, Emborough. Once again Maxine gave us the big room and the ten people there were treated to what has been described as a “brilliant” presentation by Keith Sheppard.

Using film from past and present he described the country houses of Wiltshire such as Bowood, Longleat and many others; what they were and what they had become. Some still lived in, some being used for other purposes and others long gone.

Roy Sandford then gave a brief but entertaining account of how he and a handful of others spent three years renovating Rood Ashton House, which had been requisitioned by the War Office during the second world war and then sold to a new owner who stripped it and left it in a roofless and largely derelict state.

One of our members attempted to stream the talks on Zoom but found that the wifi signal was just not strong enough, so apologies to anyone who tried to join us online.

Details of the next meeting, to be held at the Old Down Inn on 25th October, will be given as soon as they are finalised. Meanwhile I hope to see a good turnout at the Cranmore sale to be held this coming Saturday, the 9th October, starting at 8am and signed from the main Frome Shepton Mallet road (A361). For satnav users the postcode is BA4 4QP

On a less happy note the organisers of the Charlton Park Festival, which some club members had entered, were extremely disappointed when out of some 30 stationary engines entered only two turned up.


You will see from the newsletter that the club meeting tonight is to be held at the Old Down Inn at Emborough. The speaker will be Keith Sheppard, and I believe he will be talking about JA Prestwich. Later on (9 Oct) we will be holding our Cranmore Sort Out, the first for some time. An opportunity to dig out all that rubbish and let somebody else have the task of finding room for it. Please support this event which raises money for the railway and the club.


Those of you who missed the White Horse Vehicle Show missed a real treat. The weather was beautiful, the venue ideal and the number of cars, bikes etc. amazing. I believe the bar hadn’t turned up but apart from that everything was fine and we all had a great time. David’s superb Lister generator setup was sounding wonderful and generating the power for the tea urn. What more could you ask for?

Does anyone have any pictures from Sweet’s? Please let me have them and I’ll put them in the gallery as a permanent record of the event.


Things have been a little quiet on here lately as we have begun to get back into the swing of attending crank-ups and shows. Herb held another successful one at Sweet’s Tea Rooms, Wedmore, a couple of weeks back, not only attracting a variety of engines but also some unusual cars, vintage and classic motorcycles and even a couple of tractors. This has now become one of our favourite venues with Sweet’s providing excellent sustenance. Once again a worthwhile sum was raised for charity. This coming weekend sees some 20 of us heading for Westbury to join the Trowbridge and Westbury Lions at their Vintage and Classic Vehicle Show. With over 400 cars plus all other kinds of transport and entertainment it promises to be a cracking do. It’s on the White Horse Country Park, for satnav users that’s BA13 4LX, and opens to the public at 1030 am.

Eric is planning to hold the next club meeting at the Old Down Inn but as yet we have no firm plans for entertainment. Watch this space.


Our friends at Westbury Lions have asked us to let you know that there are still autojumble places left at their White Horse Vehicle Show on 5th September. Contact Geoff Curtis on 07597 949318 or go to


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 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


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 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.

To see it in greater detail go to:


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


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,


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 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.



Wedmore Crank-up

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
Replies to


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

Thank you



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.

You can email David at or me at

Thank 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 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!


12 December

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.


26 November

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


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.

Crank up at Sweets, Nr Wedmore – 2 June 2019
Once again, what a difference a day makes! After the unusually hot temperature on Saturday, Sunday dawned with the threat of rain. Nevertheless there was a good turnout for Herbie’s rally at Wedmore where 18 engines were on display. 
Bryan Coles brought along his Rushton & Hornsby XHR diesel injection engine now fully restored and working well following bits sourced from India.
Phil Harris showed an interesting Frank Hartop  model S 1hp which runs on gas/trembler coil ignition together with a rare 1963 Rickman Metisse scrambler motorbike.  [Any information on the history of this bike will be gratefully received.]   It was good to see Brian Verrall’s 1961 AJS in original condition alongside.
Exhibits included an interesting Gardner lorry engine, a Victoria 5HP engine presented by Don and William Rogers, Roger Pike’s Rushton & Hornsby IP 3hp on its second outing since being restored,
John Allen’s Amanco Hired Man 2¼hp running a water pump complete with frogs and a lily pad.  Kevin Phillips’ Fairbanks Morse 1½hp was running a very impressive dynamo outfit by Frampton & Co Ltd, Herbies Bulldog, Roger Kempson’s Norman T300 Mark 1, John Emery’s Madison ½hp gas Engine and a Wolseley WD2 1½hp with lighting set presented by Mike Andrews from Glastonbury amongst others.
Michael James of Puxton brought along his 1973 ERF Cummins diesel lorry.  A 1/3 scale model road locomotive was also being put through its paces on the field.
The visiting car line consisted of an Austin A35 van, a Morris 1000 traveller, a Triumph Herald estate and a Mini pickup. There was an interesting collection of sports cars in the car park, obviously another meet up.
Having seen the event advertised on Facebook several tractors arrived: a 1212 David Brown, 6610, A Ford 3000, a Massey Ferguson 135 and a Fordson Dexta with a trailer full of children. A Massey Ferguson 168 running a Lister diesel CS twin 10hp, John Deere 3130 and a Fordson Super Major advertising the Sedgemoor Vintage Show 13/14 July TA9 3RH, and a neat little McCormickB-275 diesel.
The tea and coffee stall did a very brisk trade with bacon baps and sausage baps welcomed by exhibitors and visitors.
Despite the showers the weather didn’t put people off and there was a good turnout of public who supported the raffle in support of the Alzheimer’s Society, ably run by Carol Phillips assisted by Jackie Coles and Wendy Gane.
A total of £166.78 was raised, £110 from the raffle and £56.78 donations.


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.