Home to the Claude Jessett Collection – Steam Traction Engines • Steam Rollers • Fair Organ Museum • The Great Bush Narrow Gauge Railway • Miniature Railway • Historic farming and construction equipment
On Saturday 16th September the Park played host to fourteen children who were taking part in the National Traction Engine Trust’s South Eastern area Steam Apprentice day.The children’s ages ranged from 8 to 18.
To start their day they all had a ride on the ‘Apprentice Express’ which departed from platform 9 ¾of The Great Bush Railway promptly at 10:00am. They were then allocated to their different steam engines and crews for a full day’s activities.
To start with the young apprentices had to clean the smokebox, tubes and fireboxes of their respectivesteam rollers or traction engines. Then they were shown the correct way to light a fire after, which it was down to cleaning and oiling up whilst waiting for the engines to raise steam.
By this time the apprentices had started to look like real steam engine crew having transferred soot, oil and ash to theiroveralls and faces! Time out was taken to enjoy tea and cakes and then it was down to the serious business of learning how to steer and drive an engine.
Two things stood out to those watching the proceedings. The willingness of the participants to listen and learn, and the confidence and enthusiasm with which all approached the various tasks. It was also good to see the mix of ages and the fact that at least half of those taking part were girls, thus finally disposing of the myth that steam engines were merely ‘toys for the boys’!
A|t the end of the afternoon 14 tired, dirty, but very happy apprentices went home having learned a good deal, whilst having fun under the safe supervision of our engine owners.
Thanks must go to Claude Jessett Trust trustee Adrian Vaughan for organising the day and to volunteers from Tinkers Park and the Sussex Steam Engine Club for allowing use of their steam engines and for making it all happen .
The NTET steam Apprentice scheme is vital to ensure thatour steam and engineering inheritance is in safe hands for the future.
NOTE: if any attendees took nice pictures and would like to see them here. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org with a short description. Thanks.
On Saturday September 23rd Tinkers park threw its gates open to the public for the annual open day. The aim of the day was to show off the collection of steam engines, farm equipment and the Great Bush Railway to visitors in a friendly and informal way and to showcase the work the volunteers of the Claude Jessett Trust over the past 12 months.
The event attracted visitors of all ages, both local and from as far away as Suffolk, Cumbria and even Scotland, some of whom were on holiday in the area. Attractions included free rides on the steam railway and the ‘Green Goddess’ fire engine as well as the miniature railway and the ever popular traction engine trailer rides round the park. In addition there was a display of classic cars and commercial vehicles provided by two local vintage vehicle clubs.
A free bus service connecting both Buxted railway station and Uckfield bus station was provided by the trust’s own vintage buses, which included a 1940’s open top double decker.
There were displays of working steam engines and tractors showing timber saw-bench working and old-time road making. The latter featured demonstrations of a machine commonly known as a wacker, a lethal looking tool designed to compact the infillfollowing trench digging operations, which provided some amusement with volunteers trying their hand at squashing tin cans!
The organ museum was open and two of the trust’s fairground organs were also playing in the park. Popular exhibits in the exhibition hall were two larger scale model railways, one of which is owned by the trust and featured live steam locomotives. Light refreshments and local beer and cider were available and, with the sun shining for most of the day, visitors took advantage of our picnic tables to enjoya break whilst watching the activity gong on around them.
The following day saw around 20 steam engines set off from the park for the Sussex Steam Engine Club’s annual road run to Waldron. This has become a very popular event that also now attracts as good a selection of vintage cars, motorcycles and tractors as can be seen at at many a vintage rally.The Jessett trust entered four steam engines from the collection and, with a warm autumn sun still shining a great day was had by all.
The ex Brighton Hove and District open top bus owned by the Trust took part in the East Grinstead bus running day on April 30th. The bus is a Bristol K5G and was delivered to BH&D for use on the seafront service as an open topper in 1939 in an unfinished state, owing to the outbreak of war. It entered service in 1940 having been fitted out in the Holland Road works of the company. In the early 1950’s it was rebuilt as a convertible open top bus, with a removable roof, to enable it to be used on town services in the winter.
The old way of hauling timber has a number of advantages, used here so there was minimal disturbance to the ground. The wood floor is covered in bluebells in April. Here the volunteers team are using a timber tractor, tackle and block to work amongst the trees and to haul timber between them. Finally the timber is loaded onto a pole trailer.
As a volunteer for The Claude Jessett trust I attended the Volunteers experience day on Saturday April 22nd. The idea of this day is to give volunteers a chance to experience driving or operating as many items in the collection as possible as well as a chance to socialise with other volunteers who may not be able to attend the regular volunteer evenings or weekends. As a volunteer you get the chance to work on any number of on-going projects. You may change your project as time goes on or you may stick to one particular area of interest, traction engines, tractors or railways for instance. The Volunteer experience day gives you the chance to see the overall picture of what is currently being worked on, as well as items in the collection that have already been restored but that you may not have had the chance to get acquainted with.
Over the Easter weekend the Bluebell Railway was host to a particularly famous locomotive, Number 4472 ‘Flying Scotsman’. Appearing in its BR guise and numbered 60103 the Bluebell advertised the event under the title “Flying Scotsman Flying South”. The Claude Jessett Trust was approached by the railway to provide two steam road engines to form part of the display in the loco’ yard at Sheffield Park. They particularly wanted a showmans engine so the 1913 Aveling and Porter ‘Southern Queen’ converted by Claude Jessett and Owen Mitchell in the 1960’s fitted the bill and it was backed up by the Tasker roller ‘Little Giant’ originally built as a light haulage tractor in 1909 and shown as such at the Royal show at Gloucester in that year although later converted to a steam roller.
CAP 229, RF & RTSince the Claude Jessett trust was formed in 2003 several important new items have been added to the collection based at Tinkers Park these include two double deck buses which, like other vehicles in the collection, are often shown off to the public as working examples of our transport heritage. The buses are an ex London Transport RT double decker ( The original big red bus as seen in the film Summer Holiday starring Cliffe Richard) and an ex Brighton Hove and District Bristol K type convertible open topper dating from 1940. This was the archetypal seaside bus and used to run a regular Service along the seafront from Rottingdean, through Brighton and on to Hove. Both vehicles were donated to the trust by their previous owners who wanted to see them go to a good home where they would be enjoyed by enthusiasts and the general public.