Widely recognised by many commentators as the World’s leading heritage event, this year’s Great Dorset Steam Fair is set to showcase Great Britain’s rich industrial, agricultural and leisure history.
For steam enthusiasts, the “City of Lincoln” Special Display will see a unique gathering of engines, equipment and implements from the five major steam engine makers of this famous steam manufacturing city, namely Clayton & Shuttleworth Ltd, Wm. Foster & Co. Ltd, Robey & Co. Ltd, Ruston Proctor and Co. Ltd and Ruston Hornsby Ltd.
Following the 100th Anniversary Commemorations of World War One at the Great Dorset Steam Fair between 2014-2018, overwhelming public demand has dictated that the area be retained for the foreseeable future as an historic and educational part of the show, along with the introduction of an area dedicated to commemorating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day during World War Two.
Steam Fair Managing Director Martin Oliver says: “The World War One area at the Great Dorset Steam Fair has been an incredible success for the past five years and it is definitely the correct decision to keep it. The area has been enhanced by the construction of 85 metres of underground tunnels and rooms which have been authentically built using sawn timber lining, period lighting and furnished with period items of furniture and everyday commodities, portraying the way the soldiers lived in the underground bunkers during the 1914-1918 conflict.
Visitors to the show will be able to access the WW1 tunnels where they will be escorted by Living Historians in period uniform who will explain the way of life underground. The existing and adjoining trench system which can be accessed directly from the tunnels, have been rebuilt where necessary and modified in places to retain authenticity.
This year in our World War One re-created tank park, we have the only three replica MK IV WW1 tanks in existence, from the film “War Horse”, the “Guy Martin” built tank as shown on Channel 4 in 2017 and from Passchendale in Belgium, the MK IV replica owned by the Poelcapelle 1917 Association. This will be the first time all three full size operational replicas will be seen together, we hope to have all three mobile in the main ring at the show with infantry and cavalry horses accompanying. The show has also been very privileged to have been offered some interesting and unique WW1 exhibits, not seen before in the UK including two fabulous statues, one in wood, the other in metal and part of an original MK IV Tank discovered buried in the battlefield near Passchendaele.
To mark the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings, we are introducing a World War Two themed area at this year’s show. This will be a re-creation of a post D-Day battle damaged French village square, complete with WW2 military vehicles and equipment, partially demolished houses and building frontages, rubble, timber and associated debris. It is hoped that this display will give a fascinating insight into how rural France looked 75 years ago after being liberated by the Allies.”
Constructed in the village square, as would have been done by Allied soldiers as a diversion from the rigours of war, will be an authentically constructed stage area to resemble an open sided farm building, flanked by rubble and period vehicles, on which throughout each afternoon of the show will be various performers singing and playing music of the WW2 war years. Headlining will be The Glen Miller Band UK and the D-Day Darlings, the latter appearing on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent a couple of years ago.
The construction of the French village has involved the delivery of approximately 500 tons of brick rubble including several loads of reinforced concrete slabs. Several period brick and rendered buildings have been built including a period café bar, a NAAFI canteen which will be selling period snacks and drinks, a garage/petrol station and a number of badly damaged cottages.
There will be a range of WW2 Allied military vehicles together with civilian and French Resistant vehicles, which will be parked in the village streets and village green. Allied vehicles will include plenty of the ubiquitous Jeeps and GMC trucks and a WW2 Chaffee Tank from Bovington Tank Museum.
The Steam Fair is far from just a heritage event! Martin Oliver says: “As well as the heritage and rural areas of the show, thrilling entertainment will be provided across the showground from renowned stunt performers and there is a large dedicated Live Music section”.
The Stunt Arena will see the stunning return of the Big Pete & Grim Reaper Monster Truck Show, the nationally acclaimed Bolddog Lings Freestyle Motocross Team (as seen on Britains Got Talent) and The Stannage International Stunt Team High Fall Show.
Live Music across the showground will see an actioned packed line-up of 90 acts performing on seven stages, both during the day and late into the evening, offering a wide variety of music to suit all tastes. The Outdoor Concert Stage’ attracts some of the country’s very best tribute acts as well as a number of chart topping older and original bands, with the ever popular “The Wurzels” performing on Friday evening 25th August. The other stages are housed within huge entertainment marquees (including the Real Ale Marquee) attracting a great line up of Artists ranging from the best party bands to a mixture of folk, country & western and rock bands.
The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2019 will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend from Thursday 22nd to Monday 26th August.