SEAMS News Archives

My time with Stationary Engines Part 3

by Ian Sampson

Another trip to collect engines in the early days was to a small pump house across a couple of fields at Lower Beeding. I was told by a friend that there was an engine driving a deep well pump which was available for a small price. I met up with my mate one evening and we went to have a look, yes there they were, a tank cooled Lister A type belt driving a Climax deep well pump. Next job was to arrange collection. It would not all go in my van so we went away to think. Well a couple of days later I went with another friend to have a look, it was just on dusk so we parked nearby and started across the fields. After a short while we looked around and noticed a torch light back near the road!

We thought who could that be as we had not told anyone else about our trip, thinking that it might be the local bobby we nipped up the field to a hedge line, getting through the hedge we landed up in someone’s garden, quietly going across the garden we got back to the road and shot home. Later we found out that the light belonged to another mate who had somehow got the idea we were going to look, anyway a week later the engine and pump were recovered in the back of a Morris Minor Traveller and small trailer.

As I have said in the past that I have been rallying for a long time and seen some sights! I used to sleep in the back of my van sometimes, then I bought a tent. It was a blow up tent called an Igloo, you just used a foot pump, all was ok till it sprung a leak one day so that got ditched and a proper tent acquired.

In those early days of the 1970’s and 1980’s people brought out some very large engines, big Crossley’s, large Ruston’s and Hornsby’s. They would arrive on large trailers and some had good ramps but some a pile of old railway sleepers were laid down and with a good team of strong helpers the engines were manhandled off. None were on wheels or trollies, health and safety would have a field day if they were around in those days.

Another show I went to was the 2nd Blandford Rally. I was with a group of friends all who wanted to go to the show, so to save on transporting a number of engines in separate vehicles and trailers, John one of the party said that he had a spare Commer van, so we decided to put all the engines in the van and I drove it down to Dorset. We had some great fun at those early shows as you could just go in and out of the rally whenever you liked so most evenings we nipped up the local pub a couple of miles away for a few drinks and crawl back around midnight some days.

Another great show was held at Rushmoor Arena an old military base. The rally was held in the display arena which the public could watch from all the concrete seats that were up most of the side of the arena. They were very good shows there with up to 150 Stationary Engines and a large number of Steam Engines and all the other sections had good numbers. Great shows.     To be continued.