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One of the things about moving house is that you come across items you own but have temporarily forgotten about. In the depths of one of my cupboards are a number of cardboard tubes, most of them hold rolled-up vintage maps but one of them has a large number of rally posters and car stickers. I couldn’t remember what posters were in this tube so unrolled everything to have a look. I thought it might be an interesting idea to let you see some of these old adverts for shows long-gone, along with a photograph or two of the event in question. I have decided to publish these on (or near) the weekends on which the show occurred and the first I’m going to briefly describe was a rally held on the weekend of 18th & 19th June 1977.

Car window sticker for the 25th Andover Steam Rally in 1977

Appropriately, the 25th Andover Steam Rally was held in the same year as the Queen’s 25th year of her reign, the Silver Jubilee Anniversary. This was a rally that I’d heard about and which was considered by others to be worth visiting, so applied to exhibit my Lister type D stationary engine. They had a cut-off date of 1940 for the age of exhibits, so thankfully mine had been made in 1935 and I was accepted as an exhibitor to the show.

The boys with my Lister D at Andover Steam Rally in 1977This was in the period when I worked at the children’s home in London and I had arranged for the three regular rally boys to attend with me; in the event only two came as the oldest lad was unavailable that weekend. On Friday after the boys came home from school we left London and drove the couple of hours to Andover, in the rain, it looked like it was going to be a damp weekend. I wasn’t wrong, after assembling the tent in the rain whilst the boys sheltered in the car we then settled down for a noisy night with the wind and rain hammering on the canvas. Thankfully though, the following morning it was mostly dry with a few showers and we made a shelter by the engine so we could sit under it and keep relatively dry whilst we watched over the exhibit during the daytime. The torrential rain in the night had made the ground very wet and muddy making wellington boots essential, but it was also very cool for the time of year, hence the parka and duffle coat. Here we see the boys in the make-shift shelter looking dressed as though it was winter not the summer we were supposed to be having. That was the one and only time I exhibited at this show and when it dried up on the Sunday a pleasant time was had by all at a very interesting and comprehensive rally.

The front cover of the souvenir brochure was printed on silver foil card so this has not scanned well. Alongside is the page on which my exhibit, No 82, appears. The following two pages are photographs of the first Andover rally held in 1953 which were also included in the booklet.

The cover of the 25th Andover Steam Rally programme Look for exhibit 82 in the 1977 Andover Steam Rally programme.Photographs of the 1953 Andover Steam Rally in the 1977 programme Photographs of the 1953 Andover Steam Rally in the 1977 programme

Finally, here is a photograph of the rally plaque that was given to all exhibitors. Unlike the cast or engraved brass that was the more usual rally souvenir, this one was chromed brass and very difficult to keep clean as can be seen by the watermarks. It measures 75mm square.

The souvenir plaque for the 1977 Andover Steam Rally

I’m not sure when the Andover rally was last held, the latest event information I can find is dated 1978 just one year later. Tomorrow we will be looking at another event, the 1981 Stationary Engine Rally at Longleat.

You can also view a number of photographs taken during my time at the children’s home in a set on my flickr photo site entitled The London Years.

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