Great Dorset Steam Fair 2022

I have often heard it said that it’s either mud or dust at the GDSF and this year it was dust in abundance probably due to the dry summer but we did enjoy the late summer sunshine and the crowds came in!!!  Another thing that has been written in previous years is its sheer size of the show and despite two years absence due to the Covid 19 pandemic it was heartening to see that the various sections of the show were once again well supported

Its amazing the amount of work that has to go into the preparation of the numerous exhibits before the show opens, in our particular case after twelve years of use some of the display boards needed refurbishing and at least three hundred brasses selected, polished and transported to the showground at Tarrant Hinton.  My collection has evolved over a period of time since 2005 when joining the Society at the GDSF. 

It was the last year that Mick Robinson represented the Society with an exhibit of brasses.  It was my ambition to put together a collection of brasses worthy of displaying at the show, this ambition was far from being achieved but I did re-establish a presence at the show for the NHBS in 2009. It is interesting to note that at the 2009 show Sue Hart joined the Society and the pair of us have progressed to the offices of General and Membership Secretaries




Being new to the hobby I had a stroke of luck in the early days and managed to purchase through Terry Keegan, Ron Baldwin’s collection of Society membership brasses, Ron passed away in 2004, he had been the other half of the KB brand of horse brasses, it did however put me in a position to continue to build a complete collection of NHBS brasses.  I also started collecting brasses connected with my home county of Wiltshire and as my ability, Knowledge and confidence grew started finding pattern brasses so the whole exhibit is a mixture of antique and modern examples which makes a good talking point.

The greatest reward we could ever achieve as exhibitors occurred this year when the Reedy family came in clutching a brass they had found on one of the traders stands to ask questions about it.  From the diverse display we were able to explain the various types of brasses and what to look for, full of enthusiasm they scoured the huge array of traders at the show returning to us with their finds.

A workshop then ensued with Peter Ferguson at the helm talking them through their new found treasures.  By the end of the five days of the GDSF they had signed up for family membership of the NHBS and baptised with the collecting bug.  Could one of them follow the trend and become the third committee member joining at the show!!

The heavy horse section was well supported though entries for the ploughing competition held on the first day were down on previous years.  The usual working demonstrations took place in the Sid Wallace Heavy Horse Ring during the week and competition day was on the Sunday.  Entries for the harness classes were good with eleven in the Traditional Harness Class, the winner being Mr B.Yeates from Stonehouse in Gloucestershire with Cowerslane Hamlet.  An impressive five entries took part in the Decorated Harness Class the winner being Mr B.Coffen from Burton on Trent with Clovelly Jed.  NHBS Membership Secretary Sue Hart presented the Society award brass to the winners of both classes.  The award brasses had been especially designed this year depicting an image of Her Majesty The Queen in her Platinum Anniversary year. 

















 Sue pictured here on the right with Neen Macey (left) section  leader of the Heavy Horse Section of the show.  Neen was made an Honorary Member of the NHBS this year for the support given to the Society's presence at the GDSF over many years.







Age and health prevented me getting around the showground this year as I would have wished, but a new feature for this the 52nd show was a second world war display adjacent to the trenches of the first world war display.  The display depicted a village green with a bomb damaged church into which a stage was erected where live music of the era was performed and it was business as usual at the Seymour Arms!!










Always a must for me was a visit to the threshing area, it takes me right back to my childhood on the Mendip hills just after WW2.  Food rationing was still in force and farms were obliged to grow a certain amount of corn for the war effort.  As a child I could not wait to get home from school when the contractor with the threshing machine and stationary baler came in after harvest this machinery looked absolutely huge at the time!!!

Jim Speed

PS; A few more pictures for you to enjoy from aroudnd the heavy horse ring.