Vintage vehicle show offers taste of life from 80 years ago

Steam vehicles on show at Weald & Downland Open Air Museum
Steam vehicles on show at Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

Take a step back in time and experience the nostalgic sights, sounds and smells of an era when steam and world-class engineering powered the country.

The Vintage & Steam event at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum will appeal to anyone who wants to experience a taste of life from 80 years ago when some vehicles didn’t start at the turn of a key.

This wonderful event will showcase a huge selection of classic, vintage and steam vehicles on August 16 and 17.

A favourite attraction at the event is the steam-powered carousel gallopers, the most popular fairground ride of the steam era, which will be powered by a Fowler Showman’s engine – just like it would have been years ago. The gallopers will be at the centre of a small traditional vintage fairground.

Another popular exhibit is the St Giles horse drawn steam fire engine. Visitors will have the chance to watch it being operated.

Richard Pailthorpe, museum director, said: “Lots of the vehicles on display have been lovingly restored and will reflect how transport has evolved since the beginning of the 20th century. The fascinating power of steam has a great deal of focus at this event and a range of arena displays will provide entertainment for all members of the family with a vintage theme.”

Alongside the selection of 17 full-size steam engines, there will be a wide range of exhibits, including more than 30 commercial vehicles, classic cars, military vehicles and more than 30 miniature steam engines.

Arena displays will include the ever popular ‘steer a steam engine’ and continuous ringside commentary throughout the weekend.

Other attractions include: wood sawing, winching demonstrations, living vans, vintage caravans, live music and entertainment, a vintage tea tent and local craft, trade and food stands.

A ride-on narrow gauge steam railway will run around the edge of the lake while a steam powered gramophone and steam bicycle will be on display in one of the museum’s buildings.

On Sunday, August 17, the Jaguar Enthusiast Club will be hosting their Portsmouth region annual event at the show.

Visitors will also be able to listen to vintage music and enjoy traditional refreshments while browsing the local craft, food and trade stands around the museum site.

The museum is open for the event from 10.30am to 5pm and every day this summer from 10.30am to 6pm.

Normal Museum admission includes entry to the Vintage & Steam Show.

The lakeside café will be open, plus there are indoor seating and outdoor picnic areas.

Dogs on short leads are welcome and there is ample free parking.