The 2023 Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 22nd April at 2:00 pm, in the Conference Room of the Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX. A meeting of the Trustees of the Steam Plough Property Trust will follow the AGM.
The Museum opens at 10:00am and closes at 5:00pm. Members are free to tour the Museum facilities before or after the meetings within these times.
We have the offer of a guided tour of the museum before the AGM, and, a presentation by the Principal Archivist together with a display of objects of interest. Details will be available on the day. George King, Woodturner, will be displaying his scale model ploughing engine and implements which he showed at the Great Dorset Steam Fair last year. A selection of publications, books and DVDs may also be available for purchase.
Refreshments will be available from the café in reception. They stock a range of sandwiches & cakes. If you want something more substantial, hot and cold lunches are also available in the University of Reading bar “The Dairy” next door. Please note that “The Dairy” operates cash-less tills. Also, everyone is welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the MERL garden where several picnic benches are available for your use.
Please let the Secretary know if you are coming along so we can arrange seating and advise the café staff. Looking forward to seeing you.
19 February 2023
Arrangements are well advanced to hold a Hands On event over the weekend of the 9th-10th September, 2023, at Goblands Farm, Hadlow, Tonbridge, TN11 0LT by kind permission of the Pierce Family.
Participants will be given expert tuition on the handling of steam ploughing engines and the implements to be used. Numbers will be limited to 12 participants so everyone has the opportunity to drive and crew the engines, ploughs and cultivator. A note seeking expressions of interest was sent out in early January by email and social media with a healthy response back. Those who responded to this note should receive an email in the coming days.
Caravan space is available on site, lunch packs and soft drinks are provided, and an evening dinner will be arranged for the Saturday night. The weekend will conclude at 5pm on the Sunday.
The cost for the event is £250 with all fees going to the cost of coal and transport for the engines. For new participants, the cost includes an instructional DVD – “An Introduction to Two Engine Cable Cultivation” that provides detailed information in preparation for the weekend. Places can be secured for a deposit of £75 which will be returned in full should the event have to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.
This year, the Steam Plough Club has partnered with the Steam Apprentice Club to offer subsidised places for steam apprentices aged 16 and over to £25. It should be noted that membership of the Steam Plough Club is required for insurance purposes for all participants of the event.
If you would like to attend, or know someone who would, please apply as soon as possible to George Hawkswell, Gonville & Caius College, Trinity Street, Cambridge, CB2 1TA, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 07512181212.
18 February 2023
Arrangements are in hand to hold a Hands On event over the weekend 3 rd -4 th September, at Brineton, Near Shifnal, Shropshire, TF11 8NH, with grateful thanks to hosts Michael and Karen Stokes. (Please note that the original dates of 17th-18th September have been changed)
The event will take place subject to there being no restrictions on social gatherings and travel in place at the time, and of course, weather permitting.
Participants will be given expert tuition on the handling of steam ploughing engines and the implements to be used. Numbers will be limited so everyone has the opportunity to drive and crewthe engines, the plough and the cultivator.
The weekend starts with a safety briefing followed by an explanation of the working of the engines and implements. After raising steam, the participants will attach the implements and set off to the
working area for the day’s work. All activities are done under supervision.
Camping and caravan space is available on site, lunch packs and soft drinks are provided, and an evening dinner will be arranged for the Saturday night. The weekend will conclude at 5pm on Sunday.
The cost for attending the event is £250. This includes an instructional DVD – “An Introduction to Two Engine Cable Cultivation” that provides detailed information in preparation for the weekend.
Places can be secured for a deposit of £75 which will be returned in full should the event have to be cancelled. Alternatively, the deposit will remain valid for a place at a future Hands On.
Places are still available. Please apply as soon as possible to George Hawkswell, Gonville and Caius College, Trinity Street, Cambridge, CB2 1TA, email: email@example.com, tel: 07512181212.
[Message to Members 26 th April, updated by Dick Eastwood 1st July]
Thanks to some of the regular volunteers and a couple of new additions, the Club will be represented at the Great Dorset Steam Fair between 25th and 29th August – the first show since 2019. Thanks to Sean Symons who has secured sufficient helpers to manage the Club marquee. The team will be in the usual spot adjacent to the Steam Ploughing field.
In addition to Club sales, it is planned to have on display the Fowler Motor Cable Ploughing Engine which is on loan to the Club from the Leeds Museums and Galleries. In addition,George King, woodturner, will have on display a selection of his outstanding scale reproduction models including a Superba ploughing engine, plough, cultivator, mole plough, Living Van and Water Cart.
We look forward to meeting and greeting you and persuading you to purchase some of the items produced by the Club! We are always grateful to receive second-hand books for sale at the event – please drop these off anytime.
Anyone joining the Club at GDSF will enjoy 16 months membership.
Dick Eastwood, 1 st July 2022
The visit to Milton Keynes Museum for the Club’s Annual General Meeting was enjoyed by those who attended. Interesting collections throughout the Museum, excellent facilities, and friendly/helpful catering staff and volunteers looking after the exhibits made the visit all the more enjoyable.
The AGM was attended by 30 persons inclusive of officers, committee, members and their partners/friends. Reports were delivered by the officers. Serving officers and Committee members were re-elected and nominations of Peter Nicholas and Jeremy Davies to the committee endorsed.
The Treasurer advised those in attendance that there was a need to consider an increase in membership subscriptions effective from January 2023. The subs were last increased (from £15) to £20 in 2014. After discussion, a show of hands indicated 10 members were in favour of £30 and 3 preferred £25.
John Billard promoted his Excel spreadsheet indexing the contents – and where available, the authors of written material and credits for photographs – inside the Steam Plough Times from No.1 up to March 2022.
Following conclusion of the AGM, there was a meeting of the Trustees of the Steam Plough Property Trust chaired by John Rhead. John outlined the purpose of the Trust and the role of the Trustees, and, advised that he was satisfied that the Club’s assets were being well cared for.
There was no High Tea to the disappointment of a good number present.
Dick Eastwood, May 2022
The Annual General meeting of the Steam Plough Club will take place at the Milton Keynes Museum on Saturday, 9th April, at 2:00pm. A meeting of the Trustees of the Steam Plough Property Trust will follow the AGM.
Prior to the meetings, members can tour the Museum facilities and enjoy the recreated street of shops, school, Victorian parlour, scullery, kitchen and laundry, servants’ room, parlour, print room, hall of transport and the barn! The museum’s excellent collections cover agriculture, transportation, archaeology, telephones, printing, rural crafts, domestic and shopping so there is something for everyone!
Further details can be found in the March SPT page 6
Dick Eastwood, 16 March 2022
Steam Plough Club ‘Hands On Weekend’ 4th – 5th September 2021 & ‘Mole Ploughing’ 11th September 2021
On Tuesday the 31st of August, a post went up on the Steam Apprentice Club Facebook, offering a SAC Member over the age of 15 a place in the Steam plough Club ‘Hands On Weekend.’ I entered and was surprised when I was chosen. We arrived at Joe Nourish’s Farm on the Friday at 11:00 am as we were told there would be plenty to do, we met Archie and andrew. They said to speak to Joe Nourish, he would say what we could do. I was allowed to unsheet and clean Joe’s Fowler BB1 15182 ‘Achilles’, later we were asked to light it up and then take it to the field ready for the weekends ploughing, while we were getting steam Howard Boltons BB1 15337 turned up. After we had taken Achilles around to the field, Kev Mills brought Brain Knights pair of BB1’s 15451 ‘Victory’ and 15452 ‘Dreadnought’ around to the field. Later Peter Wilson’s Fowler BB1 15183 ‘Ajax’ and Hal and Guy Debes single 2528 ‘The Chief’ appeared and went into the field. The Implements were a 6 furrow plough, 4 furrow plough and a cultivator. There were 12 participants including another SAC member, Cameron.
I woke up bright and early ready to go and light up the engine I had been told I could the night before, Achilles was the first in steam ready to get set up for cultivating. 9:00 am was the safety briefing, then we were put into 3 groups. Group 1 went with ‘The Chief’ and Howard Boltons BB1 15337 with the 6 furrow plough, Group 2 with Brian Knights pair of BB1’s ‘Victory’ and ‘Dreadnought’ on the 4 furrow plough and Group 3 with Peter Wilson’s BB1 ‘Ajax’ and Joe Nourish’s BB1 ‘Achilles’ on the cultivator. I was in Group 2 with ‘Victory’ and ‘Dreadnought.’ Kev showed us around the oiling points on a ploughing engine and on the ploughing gear. We then took them over to where the 4 furrow plough was. We used ‘Dreadnought’ to take the wire rope over to the other side of the field and then we winched it back to us at ‘Victory.’ We attached the wire ropes to the plough and got ploughing, Kev showing us what I had to do. After about an hour on ‘Victory’, I went and had a go on the Plough, it was good fun but was difficult with the steering going the opposite way to what you think it should on one of the pull’s. We then had a 1 hour lunch break and a group photo in front of one of the engines, we then got back to ploughing where I stayed with ‘Victory’ until it was time to pack away.
I was up early as I was asked if I would like to help light up ‘Victory.’ So we got there for 7:30, Unsheeted ‘Victory’ and ‘Dreadnought’, swept the tubes of ‘Victory’ and emptied the ash pan. Then I lit the fire and started polishing. When most of the engines were in steam, we were told where we would be going. I was able to stay with ‘Victory’ for the morning. After Lunch, I was told by Joe Nourish to go and have a go on Hal and Guy Debes 14NHP Single ‘The Chief’ on the 6 furrow plough, Then I went to ‘Achilles’ to have a turn at pulling the Cultivator, Which was good as Andrew, one of the instructors, said I had the Cultivator going at the right speed for cultivating. Then I wandered back to ‘Victory’ and steered it back to the top of the field with Cameron driving. Then I was lucky enough to be asked by Kev Mills if I would like to drive ‘Victory’ down into the farmyard and down the steep track and into the shed.
Many thanks to the organising team at the Steam Plough Club and all the input from the Instructors and Engine Owner’s and all the kind words from experienced plough men who I had never met before.
The Next weekend I was lucky enough to be invited back to the Farm to do some Mole Ploughing with Kev, Victory and Dreadnought. We arrived at 8:00 and was asked to light ‘Dreadnought’ with Fraser Cruickshank. Then we took the engines to the field, set ‘Dreadnought’ up, set the Mole Plough up and tried to understand how it worked. They Set ‘Victory’ up halfway across the field for a couple of practice pulls. We then put ‘Victory’ on the far side of the field and did the full field. I stayed with ‘Dreadnought’ for most of the day pulling the Mole Plough back across the field while ‘Victory’ did the hard work pulling the plough through the ground. I then swapped engines and had a go pulling the plough through the ground. It was hard work for ‘Victory.’
Many Thanks to the Steam Plough Club and the SAC for this chance of a lifetime at the age of 15 and a Special thanks to Kev Mills who invited me back the following weekend to do some mole ploughing.
I was pleased to read in The Steam Plough Times that the club is looking into doing a ‘Hands On Weekend’ for the younger generation, as youngsters like Cameron and I, are the future of steam ploughing.
Jack Potter, Steam Plough Club Member