Visitors from as far away as New Zealand enjoy Working Steam Weekend at Stotfold Watermill
- Credit: Archant
Thousands of people congregated at Stotfold Watermill over the weekend to see all sorts of steam machines in action, from crane engines to apple pressing.
There was live music, the Baldock Midnight Morris dancers and all variety of steam-powered engines, tractors and more at the Working Steam Weekend from Friday afternoon to sundown yesterday.
And visitors to the volunteer-run festival – the proceeds of which all go towards running the mill – came from across the UK and as far away as New Zealand.
New Zealander Daniel Crossen, who owns a 1908 Burrell engine, is spending a few weeks in the UK meeting other Burrell owners, and came to the mill as part of that.
“We had a very successful weekend,” mill vice-chairman, trustee and events team spokesman John Hyde told the Comet.
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“It was one of the best we’ve had. There were many thousands at the mill.
“Speaking to the people – I ran the vintage cider press as well, making about 750 litres from two tonnes of apples – I’d say about 75 per cent of the people weren’t from Stotfold.
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“We had people from Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, all over the country – even New Zealand, which is amazing.
“I can’t believe this for a small show like ours, but it’s quite unique what we do. You don’t find all these different things we do all in one place anywhere else.”
Highlights included the presence of a rare 1919 Burrell crane engine, one of only five left in the UK and boasting the oldest crane of its type in the country, dating back 1888. It was driven by David Ramshaw.
Harrison Saunders – grandson of the great engineer John Saunders, the mill’s chairman – was also on hand, driving a Wallis agricultural engine that he helped to restore.
John said: “We had all the traditional things – wood sawing the timber logs, vintage tractors competing, two big ploughing engines weighing 20 tons apiece.
“We had the threshing as well, making the flour completely from scratch. I think this is the only place that’s still done anywhere in the UK.
“We had a brilliant weekend. It was incredible how many people came.”
Visitor Jonathan Ellis said afterwards: “Congratulations to everyone involved at the Stotfold Mill Working Steam Weekend – what a great event.”
To find out more about the mill, see stotfoldmill.com or give them a call on 01462 734541.