Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Great Dorset Steam Fair (3 of 6): The Showmans Engines...

Hi guys. Walking up from the Threshing Section and across one of the access roads, we found the Great Dorset Steam Fair's prize exhibits: the Showman's Engine line. Now, when you go to rallies, depending on which one and where, some consider their selves lucky when they have ONE Showman's Engine on the books. These engines are very large, very attractive and very interesting in that they have a strong history and are very versatile. Not only were they perfect for hauling Fairground Rides and Living Vans around the country, but they were also fitted with Dynamo's to allow them to generate a large supply of AMP's to power the rides once in operation. As well as powering rides they also powered lighting (both their own and other things around them). Some engines were even fitted with cranes on their back end in order to help with ride construction. To make them fit in with the fun of the fair, and to arguably make them more attractive, Showman's Engines were fitted with a lot more brass work than other engines and were often named and polished until they gleamed. Here at Dorset, in the famous line up, I counted over 35 engines ranging from Showman's Engines to Showman's Tractors. The latter engines were the smaller, work-horses of the fairground but were still fitted with dynamo's and ALOT of brass! The Showman's looked marvellous all together, with some generating power for some of the vintage rides that were in action. Behind the Showman's stands the main fairground which includes some vintage rides (including two Steam-Powered Carousel's) and then a huge modern fairground too. Below, Maise tries her luck...
Showman's Engine manufacturers ranged through many, with Burrell and Fowler seeming popular as you look through them. An Aveling & Porter Tractor was spotted amongst them, as was a huge McClaren Road Engine, masquerading as a scrapped sister that was once converted for Showman's use ("Gigantic"). So, here they are, the fabulous Dorset Showman's...
One of the engines in the line that I found particularly impressive was "Dolphin". She is a large Burrell Showman's, probably a Double Crank Compound by the look of her, and was perfectly immaculate. The dynamo can be seen on the front end headstock above her name, and the belt which drives it off the flywheel is also plain to see...
 "Dorset Perfection"
Having admired the many Showman's in the line, with their gleaming brass and wonderful conditions, we moved on to the Haulage Area (see next post) before returning later on. Further around the show, there were yet more Showman's! There must have been over 40 (at the very least!!) at the show, dotted around the site and in the famous engine line...
As can be seen below, the engines often display the names of their former owners from their 'past lives'. The name of Anderton & Rowlands; which still continue with modern travelling fairground operation today; adorns one of a pair of beautiful Showman's in the Organ section...
Later in the day as the sun began to set we returned to the Showman's line. I was very much impressed with them. They were just beautiful. Below, the latter five Showman's in the line can be seen. These are Showman's Tractors, as you will note from their smaller size compared to the large engine to the left of them...
Below, a little Aveling & Porter Tractor sizes up to Burrell Showman's "Ex Mayor", both generating...
Though we were both very tired I decided to wait into the evening a little more until the sun went down slightly. The following scenes were taken at about 7:30pm, with the engines generating to the tunes of the countless organs...
Well guys, they are the Dorset Showman's. They are beautiful, they really are. I can honestly say, also, that with my hand on my heart you will NEVER see that many together anywhere else in the world. This is the Great Dorset Steam Fair...the best in the world. Cheers guys, read on into the next post for more pictures...Sam...

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