Steam Happening Event In England


| March/April 1975



Showman's engines and calliope

Showman's engines and calliope in front of Beaulieu Palace in typical ''Happening'' scene. [Beaulieu photo].

An unusual event that draws crowds to the ancient palace of Beaulieu in southern England is a 'Steam Happening' that features showman's engines, a calliope, a monorail ride, fair organ music, a tour through the palace and the ruins of an ancient abbey, and a visit to Britain's National Motor Museum.

Beaulieu is the property of Lord Montagu, a young man who has transformed the estate into one of Britain's most popular tourist attractions. He holds two steam days a yeara Steam Festival in the spring, and the Happening in the fall.

We had often heard the term, 'showman's engine' but did not get its full meaning until we attended the 'Happening' at Beaulieu last October. A showman's engine is a mighty vehicle, brightly painted with its metal decorations gleaming, and a history all its own.

The showman's engine is equipped with a dynamo up front. Its original use was for hauling equipment for traveling showmen as they transported their entertainment paraphernalia from one country fair ground or show location to another. It could generate electricity for use at the shows and could be used in lifting the equipment as well.

Owners and their crew members proudly polish their engines, and extend minute care to fueling and firing. Many photographers take pictures of the engines and their crews. While we were at Beaulieu, a young man who said he represented a German magazine was taking many pictures.

Representatives of the National Traction Engine Club were on hand at the 'Happening' to enroll members and take renewals, and explain how the organization works. They said they were running out of our magazines and would have to order more.