A traditional country steam show in the heart of the Cotswolds.
Nestled on a hillside in the Cotswolds, just on the borders of Eastington and Northleach, lies the showground for the Northleach Steam and Vintage Show. Whilst this may not be one of the biggest shows in the country, the show’s heritage and relaxed enjoyable atmosphere set in the idyllic Cotswold countryside gives it a uniqueness of its own.
The show was a feature in steam enthusiasts’ calendars from as far back as the 1950s, with rallies run yearly up until 2000 when the last show organiser, Ken Durban passed away. 13 years then followed without there being the smell of coal and steam mixed in the air and whistles blowing, or the “phut phut” sound of oil engines doing their thing around these rolling hills.
That was until late 2012 when Steve Freemantle, a Ferguson tractor enthusiast and resident of Northleach, decided to revive the steam show and pulled together a small rag tag band of volunteers to do just that. The plan was to provide a venue for everyone to enjoy in the spirit of old, with entry affordable to families, and where the show could be used to raise money for local charities, organisations and good causes. It took until the following April for agreement to be obtained from various authorities for the show to go ahead, then five frantic months followed to get everything in place, not an easy task for such a small bunch of novices…
But somehow they did just that, and September 2013 saw the steam engines and stationary engines return to the roads and fields of Northleach once more, along with vintage tractors; classic cars and commercial vehicles; military personnel carriers, jeeps and trucks; motorcycles and even pedal cycles, in greater numbers than Steve had imagined he could rally together in such a short period of time. In fact, so much so, that within the first few months of applications rolling in Steve had to relocate the show to the other end of town, to where the rallies had originally been run all those years ago.
Now steam engines can sit looking out over the fields and stone walls, or trundle round the arena tooting their whistles; live music gently drift around the ground as the ale flows; tractors, bikes, military and commercial vehicles, and classic cars be admired in their gleaming glory; with the sounds of the stationary engines powering up lights, pumping water or sifting grain clinking away in the background; and of course all the smells and sounds of the steam era can once again be experienced by old and young alike.
The last few years has seen continual growth with more engines and vehicles on display, lots more stalls, a variety of food and traditional confectionary to bring back memories of bygone days. Are large bar at the show houses live music throughout the wekend with many bands performing and for the children there will be additional entertainment including fun fair amusements, bouncy castle and many other rides.The lovely original “pink” Ransomes Sims & Jefferies Ltd Thrasher that was restored I 2013 will once again appear at the show along with the Steam Sawing Bench demonstrating how steam power was used to turn trees into wood planks .
Of course none of this would have been possible without all the help and support from the local community, especially Rich Wills and The Farmington Trust for providing the land to use for the show and to our many sponsors that make it all possible.
Northleach has been associated with Steam Rallies since as far back as the 1950’s. In later years it became known as ‘The Northleach Steam and Stationary Show’. There have been 3 generations of the ‘Nichols’ family associated with the rallies up to 2000, which included a period with Ken Darbon as Chairman in the last few years.
The current Northleach Steam and Vintage Show is organised by Steve Freemantle, email@example.com, 07765 692758.
The show is not run as a commercial operation, the organisers and volunteers take no payment for their time, all the proceeds from the show go towards next year’s event and local charities, organisations and good causes. Because of the Show’s success we have been able to help many Charities and good causes and will continue to do so for 2020 with the support of our sponsors and that of the public.
Northleach is a thriving small Cotswold market town made wealthy by the medieval wool trade of the 15th century. Although wool is no longer the main business of the town, the marketplace is busy with trade and the local pubs, cafes and hotels provide a lively service to both visitors and locals, and the town is steeped in history.
For further details, please Contact Steve on 07765692758 or browse around our website.
Myself and my Team would like to thank all our followers and Sponsors for making it all possible .
Steve Freemantle (Show Organiser)