Hollycombe Steam Collection

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Part of the Fairground viewed from the top of the big wheel

The Hollycombe Steam Collection is a collection of steam-powered vehicles, rides and attractions based near Liphook in Hampshire. The collection includes fairground rides, a display farm and two railways.

History[edit]

The collection dates back to the late 1940s when Commander John Baldock decided to preserve some of the steam traction engines that were rapidly disappearing from British life. By the early 1960s he had acquired a significant collection of road vehicles and started to collect fairground rides. In the late '60s he extended his interests again into preserving railway equipment.

The collection was eventually opened to the public and became a major Hampshire tourist attraction. At length the collection grew so large it became impossible for one person to maintain, and by 1984 Baldock decided he would have to close the operation.

A Society was formed by volunteers to operate the collection. This was successful and the collection continued to expand. At the beginning of 1999 a charitable trust took over the majority of the collection, funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The collection is now operated by a charitable trust.

Attractions[edit]

Edwardian Fairground[edit]

The Razzle Dazzle

The Edwardian Fairground is a complete steam fair comprising rides originating from the 1870s and later. The rides include a Tidman 3 abreast Golden Gallopers roundabout, a single Steam Yacht a Razzle Dazzle being a grand aerial novelty ride with a rotating and tilting movement. S Fields Steam Circus was built between 1868 and 1872 (Currently undergoing restoration, expected to return during the 2015 season) and is the oldest surviving mechanically propelled fairground device. The fairground also has a set of Steam Swings, a Set of Walker Chair o planes, a big wheel and a Bioscope Show which is an early travelling cinema. The rides are constructed mainly from wood and, where appropriate, are powered by steam engines. There are rides for all ages and the atmosphere is completed with a number of fairground organs and a range of sidestalls.

Current ride and attaction list: - Steam Yacht (The only steam yacht in the UK, Built in 1911) - Razzle Dazzle (The ever first ride with 2 movements that are tilting and rotating, built in 1906) - Gallopers (3-abreast Steam Gallopers, Built 1912 by Tidman of Norwich) - Mr Field's Steam Circus (Built in the late 1870s, it the world's oldest surviving mechanically-driven fairground ride) *Currently unavailable* - Steam Swings (The ride consists of six boats driven by an overhead line shaft from a 1901 Brown & May portable engine) - Big Wheel (50 ft high and built in 1914) - Steam Chair O Planes (Once a set of gallopers, destroyed in the war. Now a set of chairs o planes built in 1910) - BioScope (The Bioscope is typical of the travelling shows which brought the very first films to the public) - Haunted House (Built by Orton & Spooner around 1915, the Haunted House) - Austin Car ride (Built by Supercar in 1948) - Juvenile Roundabout (Built by Orton & Spooner in 1930 and spent its working life at Chessington Zoo in Surrey until purchased by Hollycombe in 1985) - Children's Swing Boats (Built in 1990) - Juvenile Chair O Planes

Farm[edit]

The farm includes a wide range of vintage steam-powered farm equipment including: ploughing engines, a threshing machine, a baler, and a stationary steam engine driving small machinery through a line shaft.

The sawmill is used to cut much of the wood used on site and is powered by a large semi-portable Robey Steam Engine. Close by is the engine from the paddle steamer Caledonia.

Railways[edit]

There are two railways: narrow gauge and miniature railway. A third standard gauge line formerly operated but is now abandoned.

Narrow gauge railway[edit]

Jerry M running at Dinorwig before preservation at Hollycombe
Narrow gauge station at Hollycombe

The narrow gauge railway at Hollycombe started in 1967 using equipment purchased from the Dinorwic slate quarry in north Wales. The quarry had recently abandoned its extensive internal rail system and Commander Baldock acquired the steam locomotive Jerry M along with a quantity of track and several wagons. Construction started in 1968 and reached the sandstone quarry by 1971. The 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge line was later extended to include a loop, which brought the track length to its present 1½ miles. The second steam locomotive Caledonia was purchased in 1968.

Four of the five passenger coaches were bought from the Ramsgate Cliff Railway when it closed; the fifth coach was built at Hollycombe to the same design.

Locomotives[edit]

Name Builder    Type    Date Works number Notes
Jerry M Hunslet 0-4-0ST 1895 638 ex-Dinorwic Quarry. Originally named Vaenol, later renamed Jerry M after a successful racehorse belonging to the quarry owners (in service)
Caledonia Barclay 0-4-0WT 1931 1995 ex-Burnhope Reservoir railway, later at Dinorwic Quarry where it was named No. 70 (out of service, boiler at the Severn Valley Railway)
Jack Ruston Hornsby 4wDM

Miniature railway[edit]

The miniature railway at Hollycombe is set at 7 14 in (184 mm) gauge.

Route

The miniature railway starts at its station opposite the saw mill and begins with a climb up past some crossing gates and into a cutting it then reaches the top of the hill and bends round slightly to the left. The railway then runs with the bottom of the fairground on the left and the woodland gardens on the right. It then heads up into another cutting before doing a 360 degree loop round onto an embankment. On your left there is a pond. Then you meet with the outward line that heads back towards the station. the line then passes some bushes before you come back into view of the station. The line then runs parallel with a 5 inch gauge line and rounds back up a hill passing another pond and on the other side the engine shed and back into the 2 platform station.

Engines
  • Bob 0-4-2 Tinkerbell (currently the most used engine on the line)
  • Pauline 0-4-0 Romulus
  • Tess 0-4-0 Bagnall
  • Jenniffer 0-4-0 vertical boiler engine

Standard gauge railway[edit]

Hawthorn-Leslie 0-4-0ST Commander B

The standard gauge (4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)) railway ran for ⅓ mile between the sawmill and the farm, passing the fairground along the way. The railway had one steam locomotive:

  • Commander B, 1899-built Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST, named after the collection's founder, Cdr. Baldock. The engine was originally purchased by the Admiralty for use in Chatham Dockyard, and was brought to Hollycombe for restoration in 1985, several years after withdrawal from the docks. Currently stored in the open on tracks of the abandoned standard gauge line, out of use and in deteriorating condition, due to unaffordable heavy overhaul and boiler repairs.

Steam engines[edit]

The collection has over 30 different steam engines of various types.[1] Some of the engines are not on display as engines which in some cases are 100 years old require regular maintenance work to keep them in service.

Traction engines[edit]

Hollycombe has a large collection of traction engines and some are used on open days either to plough a field, work a threshing machine, give rides or work a fairground ride.

Showman's engines[edit]

Emperor showman's engine driving a dynamo

The showman's engines are used to power the fairground rides.

  • Burrell No. 1876 "Emperor" built in 1895. The oldest showman's engine in the world. Operational, powers the lights in the fairground and sometimes runs round the site.
  • Garrett No. 33348 "Leiston Town" built in 1918. Operational and used to power the juvenile rides.

Steam tractors[edit]

The light steam tractors (a small design of traction engine) are used for giving rides.

  • Burrell gold medal tractor No. 2 "Sunset" built in 1951. Out of traffic awaiting a major overhaul.
  • Mann Steam Tractor No. 1260 built in 1917. Out of traffic awaiting a major overhaul.
  • Aveling and Porter traction engine "Jasper". Undergoing major overhaul

Agricultural engines[edit]

These engines are used for ploughing or driving a threshing machine.

Portable engines[edit]

This type of engine was used for driving agricultural machinery.

Road rollers[edit]

Centre and organ engines[edit]

  • The museum has a number of these rare compact portable engines that powered fairground rides and organs.
  • M. Savage & Co – 6 examples
  • Tidman – 4 examples
  • Walkers – one example

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Old Glory no.229 List of Engines in Museums February, 2009

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°03′26″N 0°46′53″W / 51.0571°N 0.7813°W / 51.0571; -0.7813