Full steam ahead for Balls Cross Vintage Show

This year the Balls Cross vintage show proved to be a steam extravaganza with seven full size steam engines proudly on display. Organised by Tony and Sylvia Haydon, the show donates all proceeds to Macmillan, raising over £10,000 last year.

The show welcomed two new steam exhibits this year. Wallis & Steevens ‘Mistress’ is owned by Gerald and Julia Whittaker. Built in the 1890s, it worked for Carter Brothers in Wisborough Green, near Billingshurst, West Sussex. The 6nhp single crank general purpose engine was used for haulage and wood sawing duties. It was completely restored to its superb condition by Gerald and Julia. Gerald is a well known signwriter  who’s known in the steam movement for painting and lining steam engines, trailers living vans, commercial vehicles to an extremely high standard.

Another addition to the steam section was a 7nhp, double crank compound, Burrell traction engine ‘Surprise’ owned by Peter Mellersh. This engine was ordered from new in 1922 as a special build and supplied to a sawmill where it would have powered a saw bench. It was fitted with a road locomotive boiler, firebox and special governors for wood sawing. Peter also displayed his Marshall threshing drum, showing how a steam engine would have powered such equipment years ago. Threshing drums were invented to thresh grain and remove the seeds from the stalks by bashing the plant to make the seeds fall off.

All of the engines that exhibited last year returned this year. Our Workshop Manager, Simon Rawlins, displayed his half size Burrell road locomotive ‘Molly’ and helped crew ‘General Scrumpy’ a 6nhp Marshall traction engine, which is local to the area and spent its working life at Carter Brothers (agricultural engineers) in Wisborough Green. Surprisingly, the engine still resides in Wisborough Green, in the ownership of Paul Stickland.

The image at the top of this post shows Simon Rawlins and Richard Stickland crewing’ General Scrumpy’.