28th March 2015
The 23rd annual Little Downham Bygones & organ Extravaganza featured over 140 tractors, however, most of them were in miniature with a complete set of Universal Hobbies tractor models on show inside the hall. Outside around a dozen full-size tractors joined approximately the same number of cars, a handful of fairground organs and a trio of stationary engines in the yard behind the Village Centre hall. Outside, a pair of local lorries joined the Ruston engine 'Success' to help draw in the public.
As well as the two tables of miniature tractors, other models included a collection of model Issetta bubble-cars and 3-wheelers, several large-scale model lorries, a scale model of a threshing machine, Meccano, and a collection of model aircraft dioramas modelled to reflect local history interest. Bygones included a collection of pocket watches, Tilley and other pressure-lamps, the perennial teapots with their transport theme, miscellaneous household displays, 2-gallon petrol cans, haberdashery and house-hold tins including an Oxo-themed display, petrol company memorabilia, old tools, musical boxes of various types and the compositors printing display.
The number of small hand-turned street organs remained about the same as before, which for those of us who displayed within the hall, I think is about right as when it used to be crammed with around a dozen or so, just to be quite raucous especially when someone was a bit keen and couldn't wait their turn to start up. Outside, Froment's Pell organ Fenlander II, The Los Tubas dance organ and Caladriel plus another very traditional ornate organ (details not noted) were the main entertainment.
Vehicle wise, the two lorries were a Dennis Condor and Bedford S-type, both locally owned, plus the Land-Rover ex-military ambulance. The cars consisted of a couple of Morris Oxfords & a Wolseley 16-60 Farina, Hillman, large Austin, possibly a Hereford in military staff-car guise, Morris Minor traveller estate, saloon cars, van & pick-up truck, Austin 1100/1300, Triumph Toledo & 2000, Vauxhall Wyvern & Cresta, another Wolseley, Ford Cortina Mk I and a Lilkamobile steam car replica which seemed and go throughout the day.
Full-size tractors included examples of Farmall BMD, Field Marshalls, Fordson Dextas, Allis Chalmers Model B, consecutively re-registered Nuffield 3/42 & 4/60, Universal, grey Fergie, Farmall F12 tricycle & John Deere model B. Stationary engine son show were a John Deere, rare Gilson & a Ruston Hornsby PB, plus a trio of old-school road thumpers. As well as the full-size steamer, a couple of scale models were on show to delight the children with informal rides.
As usual the volunteers in the kitchen kept everything flowing and a joint family effort in drawing the raffle meant that all kept moving but thanks to the generosity of the village, exhibitors and visitors, it still took almost an hour, such is the scale of the number of prizes. Visitors themselves seemed plentiful and this year I think the mix of displays inside the hall was particularly good with several new collections being given a run out. No doubt we'll hear about next year's date and the amount raised in due course. See you there.