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The Great Dorset Steam Fair is the largest event of its type in the world, held on a 600 acres site the show is the size of a small town and is the must-see gathering of steam engines and vintage machinery. Over the decades I’ve visited a number of times and every year at this time I have to make a decision about whether or not I’m going to attend.

Back in the 1970s and 80s I spent a vast amount of my time visiting steam and vintage rallies and other associated shows, mostly as an exhibitor, but very often attending an event as a paying visitor as well. Over the years, since the mid 1980s I have exhibited less and less and haven’t taken an exhibit to a show for at least fifteen years, but still attend the occasional event as a visitor. I still like to visit at least one show a year, if only to remind me of the wonderful years I’ve had on the rally field in the past, but unfortunately this year I’m going to miss out on an annual engine-fix.

Yesterday I hinted I might have some more photographs from a past GDSF to show you, these are from the same roll of film as yesterday’s picture. Shot with a Microflex twin-lens-reflex camera dating from the late 1950s, these photos were taken in September 1975 and are on 120 film. Back in those days I made no attempt to wait for persons in the frame to move away, I guess I knew even then that in the future it would be the characters in each photograph that would probably be as interesting as the main subject. The film I used was Ilford FP4 and my negative files sometimes inform me what developer I used but this one is blank. I have cropped into 3:2 ratio as otherwise there’s a lot of blank ground and sky in the square format frame. That year I obviously took three cameras with me as I have colour slides, 35mm b/w negatives and 120 b/w negatives.

Great Dorset Steam Fair 1975, copyright Michael J Stokes Great Dorset Steam Fair 1975, copyright Michael J StokesGreat Dorset Steam Fair 1975, copyright Michael J Stokes Great Dorset Steam Fair 1975, copyright Michael J StokesGreat Dorset Steam Fair 1975, copyright Michael J Stokes Great Dorset Steam Fair 1975, copyright Michael J Stokes Great Dorset Steam Fair 1975, copyright Michael J Stokes Great Dorset Steam Fair 1975, copyright Michael J Stokes

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