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 infill following 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 enjoy a 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.
Here for your viewing pleasure, The operational vehicles of The Claude Jessett Collection at the FOT (Festival Of Transport, Hellingly) 2016
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.