Dorset Steam Fair

The Great Dorset Steam Show

 A date for your diaries is the Great Dorset Steam Show which takes place yearly at Tarrant Hinton.  The Society is usually represented by Mr Jim Speed and his wife Judy and will feature regular appearances from local members.  Guest horses have also (see below) been known to make appearances on occasions.

There is is  a ploughing competition and a decorated harness competition on the Saturday, and
throughout there will be horses working and plenty of breweries represented with their turnouts. There are a lot of trade stands and always the opportunity to buy some old brasses, and new from Ali Garbutt.

A day at the show is heartily recommended as all the members who attended each year will testify.  (see below) so why not pop along? 

48th Great Dorset Steam Fair 2016


 It is Often mud or dust at the Great Dorset but this year just enough rain to lay the dust – perfect!! We arrived on Monday 22nd August a couple of days before the show and were met by Society member Sue Hart who with her husband Andrew were keen to help set up the display. The day before the show starts is usually reserved to scour the huge area of auto jumble stalls in search of horse brasses to be rescued.

There is an element of competition amongst those present to see who can boast the

 best find and this year Sue Hart was streets ahead with a box of goodies containing a fine strap of old brasses plus several loose ones purchased at the show auction held on the second day of the show off site near by all for the price of £50. The show opened on Thursday 25th August a week earlier this year ending on bank holiday Monday 29th, which brought in larger than ever crowds. To say the show caters for every taste would be an understatement, because as well as a multitude of working steam engines of every type beavering away at various tasks, collections or displays of every type of vintage equipment from blowlamps to buses are there to be seen. The show ground is spread over 650 acres with 25,000 people living on site before the public come in.








 This article relates to this year’s heavy horse section of the show organised by section leader Neen Macey ably assisted by her daughter Erica Macey-Bracken. Our NHBS display was perfectly placed on the main avenue looking on to the Sid Wallace heavy horse ring next to John Parker’s Swingletree horses and the Royal Mail Coach which is always admired by many. As usual many visitors came to have a look at us and we were very pleased to welcome Di Hanson, if you take a close look at her necklace you will observe it is miniature horse brasses with earrings to match!! A goodly number of society members also came in and these days often bring brasses or pictures to gather an opinion from the “Arthur Negus” of the horse brass world Peter Ferguson with occasional cautious interference from me!!!

 Left, is society member John Smith a regular attender of the show and one of our special characters always willing to support our cause by purchasing a pair of whatever special NHBS brasses are being sold. This year of course we have two on offer to help raise funds to support the award presentation scheme. This year’s specials are the Queen’s 90th birthday brass and more recently the magnificent sun burst 40thanniversary brass both available through Mary Fletcher. A full range of society publications were available at the show. My Wiltshire display is growing in number mainly nosebands from all over the county but I can now boast four farmer face pieces and a bridle with the noseband attached. They started the show in sparkling condition but the drizzle we had on the Sunday soon took the brightness from them. After a good polish they will be on display again at the Ipsden meeting Saturday 1st October 2016.















Above; Winner of the decorated harness class Charlote Webb with Silver 2016

And below: winner of the traditional harness class Malcolm Scurrell’s Flo.


The heavy horse competition day was Sunday the fourth day of the show in cold damp conditions not conducive to decorated harness but entries were up on last year from one to three but the traditional harness class was down to a disappointing three from eleven last year.  

The winner of the decorated harness was Charlotte Webb with Silver, in 2nd place came Erica Macey-Bracken with Jim, and 3rd Gawain Holmes with John B.  I was again given the privilege of presenting the prizes in this class. The traditional harness class was won by Malcolm Scurrell with Flo, Alan Langford with Monty 2nd, and Karl Harvey with Harveys George came 3rd The NHB supported both classes with an award brass and rosette.



 2014 Show.

This year we were not blessed with kind weather. It seemed apt, in a strange way that the show was remembering the outbreak of The Great War as the ground was reminiscent of The Somme.   However that will never put a real horse brass collector off. It was a pleasure to welcome quite a number of society members and visitors to the stand and another new member recruited. As part of the commemoration of the centenary of the start of WW1 The Wolds Wagoners were brought back to life with a wonderful re-enactment of the Wagoners and their horses and wagons and uniforms,  where the few pictures shown here once more bring to life the memory of these brave men and their horses who gave unstintingly in the service of their country. 





Our General Secretary, Mr Jim Speed, (above) presented our new society award brass to the winner of the decorated harness class with his usual aplomb. It was a splendid display of Lancashire harness.  The newly designed NHBS award brass fitted well with the WW1 theme of the 2014 show and the award went to Marion and Don Heap from Cheshire owners of 22 year old Bill, a magnificent Shire standing at 17.2 hands.

The Great Dorset apparently is the only show in the country that separates decorated from traditional harness and although Bill was the only entry in the decorated class, the award brass was well deserved for the two hours plus in preparation. The harness of course had to be presented to the usual high standard of traditional entries with the additional ribbons and bows, so well done Don.

The traditional harness class however attracts in the region of eight to ten entries which has led the NHBS committee to recommend an additional award brass to be presented to the winner of that class also at the Great Dorset Steam Fair in the future.

2013 Show.

This year the weather was much kinder to all who attended the steam show. We were visited by more horses, wagons and even steam rollers this year. We also had quite a few interested and interesting humans! The show layout was altered which placed the threshing teams closer to us with the result that the wagon taking straw (below) to the heavy horses visited us several times each day.


The decorated class was deservedly won by Monty (below), one of The Ringwood Brewery display shires. He looked magnificent in a harness with a lot of old brasses on it. He wore a society award brass and His owner was delighted to receive another to balance the display.


The N.H.B.S stand was run like a well oiled machine again by Jim and Judy Speed with Pete Lacey and Di Hanson to assist.  (Photographs by Diane Hanson)

If you still haven't been why not make 2014 the year to pop along and say hello?

 2012 Show

Although the weather wasn't too kind throughout there was much interest at The N.H.B.S stand which was assembled by Jim and Judy Speed with a little assistance from Pete Lacey. One highlight was a visit from Lad and Sinbad as they exited the ring from the decorated heavy horse class. This was facilitated with the kind help of Sid Wallace (director) and Nene Macey (section leader). The N.H.B.S presented a brass and rosette to Lad after he won his class on Saturday and this suavely presented by Jim Speed. If there is anyone yet to visit this show (and quite a few members did) then I would heartily recommend it.

Pete Lacey,