29th Apr - 1st May 2017
The layout at the 39th Rushden Historical Transport Society's Cavalcade Rally on 29 April - 1 May 2017 changed again. It was noticeable that there were less stalls and trade stands which is the norm everywhere these days although I think there will always be a hardcore following for attending rallies, but the only standee in the field where the public come in was the sweet van. This allowed several of the car clubs to have their displays where the 1940s awning displays used to me and these moved up to a line in-between the military and commercial vehicles. The rest of the awning displays and stationary engines had to vacate the end of the field near the A6 and were pushed into a dead-end avenue over the hedge in the back field.
As the usual last arrival, we had plenty of room to slot in but the motor-mover on the new caravan came in usual in the foot-long grass. The number of barn-engines on display seem to reduce slightly each year, as I guess a few more had departed back to Stradsett to check out the changes there, but whether others were unhappy or just only wanted to stay for two days, several more were absent by Monday morning. Elsewhere the military displays had vacated the far end of the field to face the fire engine lines near the main avenue through the site, where they had two rows back to back.
The military stores group had restocked and were back at full strength in their marquee, and as usual there was a vast mixture of vehicles including French Berliet, Swedish Volvo & Czech Praga. Heaviest item was probably the Foden DROPS. I sort of hoped there would be a few more commercials as the HCVS's London-to-Brighton run was not until the following weekend this year, but it didn't appear to be the case. However, the exception might have been the WWI-era Leyland with its open cab, a true veteran motor. The Double Diamond ERF A-Series is now being shown with a period trailer and living container.
The total number of buses and coaches exceeded what was listed in the catalogue but you had to search them out over all three days, but it wouldn't be Rushden without buses. It's such a pity the Society's own Bristol RLE coach was destroyed by fire a few years ago. The steam section had a good selection of pretty much all types of engine, including Foden & Garrett steam lorries but no Sentinel, Stanley steam car interspersed with a selection of living vans, commercials and tractors. As previously mentioned, the miniature steam were along the edge of the A6 with plenty of room, and again, a very diverse mix of sizes and styles.
Cramped up in one corner where the Midland Bernese Carters used to be, the East Northants Landrover club were a bit short on space. At the opposite end of the miniature steam, the tractors were also a bit cramped up so phots of some were difficult to get, and they needed an overflow area opposite to the fair, again an area where previously there would have been trade stands. The beer and entertainment marquee, craft and model tents were in their usual positions at the back of the second field. The real ale section here is a good-sized beer festival in its own right and my favourite tipple of the weekend was Phipps Gold Star 5.1%.
The model tent had a distinctly circus feel to it this year with lots of circus displays, including one I hadn't heard of, Lord Peterfield's Circus. More common names were Chipperfield's, Billy Smart, Pinder, Robert Brothers, Bertram Mills and the American Circus. Northants Model Makers had their usual stands and good to see a few other faces I know dotted amongst the exhibitors. Monday was also a poor day for the cars with the back field almost decimated, but Saturday and Sunday were both good days to be fair, with a good selection of different vehicles each day. Highlights were the Skoda Felecia convertible (no, not the 1990s version) and the Auto Union (forerunner of Audi) but there were other unusual cars such as the Wartburg estate and Citroen Bijou dotted around.
We lost the line of 1930s cars up near the Control cabin, but the Society's display of industrial trucks grew with some dumpers, however, the Euclid quarry dump truck was not on show this year. Motorcycles stayed in the same place as last year, and I just love the boat-style sidecar on one machine with its polished wood, helm & rudder, brilliant. The vintage fairground included Savage's steam gallopers, an Orton & Spooner Waltzer, Dodgems from the same maker, a Lakin Skid and Big Wheel, plus several juveniles and sideshows.
What trade stands there were offered a reasonable selection of goods, and having dropped a wing-nut in the bottomless grass in our awning, I was pleased the engineering supplies stall still travels as I could immediately obtain a replacement and some spares for next to nothing. Sunday was absolutely heaving with people, so hope all is well for next year, the 40th Anniversary show. Quite how this will pan out date-wise I don't know as the Bank Holiday is very late on 7th May.