Show Visit, Wolverhampton Bantock House 1940′s Show, Sept 2009

Congratulations once again to everyone at Bantock House Museum for another brilliant 1940′s Weekend. Held over the weekend of September 5th/6th at the Bantock House Museum, in Bantock Park in Wolverhampton, the event was part of the museum’s 1940′s month. There are various events going on during the month including a Make Do and Mend event, a 1940′s Room set up and a 1940′s Dance at the House on September 26th. Visit the link below for further information. The enthusiasm of all the team there is brilliant and there are many displays of wartime items within the Museum, including newspapers etc 

Although only a small event in comparison to others, the atmosphere here is really electric, where you can feel the enthusiasm of all taking part. Some may even say a wartime spirit prevailed ! Led by Helen Steatham, the Curator and Manager at Bantock House Museum along with Jane James, the Education Officer, the event has been going for quite a few years, at least five to my knowledge.

There are many displays of the various aspects of the homelife during the Second World War, from rug making from worn out old clothes, to a display of Wren’s, the women’s branch of the Royal Navy. Another had a display of Home Guard equipment, or Dad’s Army or even LDV’s as they were first known as. LDV stood for Local Defence Volunteers. Most I understood are run by small groups of enthusiasts that come together for the event.

Another area ran by two very enthusiastic ladies, with one looking really smart in a WAAF’s uniform, was the 1940′s Room, where you could dress up in 1940′s clothes and have your photograph taken in a replica of a 1940′s dining room. We have an example below, where the three ladies were really enjoying themselves dressing up with wigs as well as the clothes and accessories of the time.

The Museum cafe was doing a roaring trade and many took advantage of the nice sunny afternoon to sit outside and enjoy a cup of tea and some nice cake. There were many live performances singing 1940′s songs and also a mid-afternoon sing-a-long of wartime hits took place. Many of the visitors were from the wartime era themselves and really entered into the spirit of things by dressing up in wartime civilian clothing. On the Saturday afternoon, a much younger generation were dressed as Land Army girls and had a fun time dancing to wartime music that was being played over the speakers. 

On the vehicles front, we saw a nice Willys MB Jeep and Harley Davidson WL750 with sidecar on the Saturday and then a Dodge Weapons Carrier with two more Willys MB Jeeps on the Sunday. One of the Jeeps was an early Willys Script Jeep converted to an SAS jeep used in North Africa, complete with jerrycans, machine guns etc. With so many people attending, it was difficult to get a clear shot.

There were also a few re-enactment chaps there showing uniforms and equipment of German, British and US paratroopers. At least three of them were camping out on Saturday night armed with a bottle or two of bourbon whisky to keep the night cold air out, as they told me.

So to sum up, a super friendly event that is highly recommended. Usually held on the first weekend in September, pop it down in your diary for next year. I know this year the event on the Sunday, in particular was so popular, that by mid-afternoon the Museum carpark was so full, that cars were being turned away to find alternative parking in the roads nearby.  Have a look at the photos below to see what a great event it was.      


Held in the charming town of Kington, this annual show was cancelled last year due to heavy rain and flooding, and so the organisers of the show needed good weather to keep the club in funds. After all the cold and rainy weather of recent weeks effecting many shows up and down the country, the organisers must have been relieved when the weekend was dry and sunny and sometimes quite warm as well.

Held over two days, on the 15th and 16th of August, the show caters for all types of classic vehicles. Kington is situated approx 15 miles East of Leominster in Herefordshire on the A44. At Trimpley show a couple of weeks earlier we’d been recommended that the Kington Show was good but we hadn’t been prepared for the number of vehicles on show. There must have been about 200 classic cars from not only the 1950′s, 60′s, 70′s and 80′s but also some superb pre-war cars as well, including a couple of wonderful Sunbeams. Lots, probably over 100, of other stuff from trucks, buses, tractors and steam traction engines. Another highly recommended show and we must congratulate the organisers for a wonderful day out. Put it in your diary for next year.

Ok now down to the green stuff. Miliblog attended on the Sunday and below you can see the lovely vehicles that were there. One Willys MB Jeep I recognised right away was EJW 816, which was the Jeep featured on the cover of the Brooklands Books Collection No1 book published in 1983. The book’s a collection of articles and photos of Jeeps from 1942-1954. The Wye Valley branch of the MVT were there and with my wife happily reading the Sunday Times along with a coffee, I was able to have a chat with a couple of similar enthusaiats from the club. One opened up his S3 Lightweight so we could get the army registration number for us and the other turned out to be the Chairman of the branch itself. Apologies for not getting your names, but we enjoyed a chat on shows and vehicles which is what it’s all about ! Now we’ve able to fix the link to the Wye Valley website on our Links page so you can also meet the guys !

Definitely one for the diary for next year !

A fantastic show with a wonderful atmosphere. Run by enthusiasts for fellow enthusiasts. Based in the middle of glorious countryside, just North of Kidderminster in Worcestershire and just South of Bridgnorth in Shropshire, it was a one day event held on Sunday, August 2nd. After all the rain in July we had been having, the day was bright and mostly sunny and I think that many enthusiasts, particularly with the classic cars, had thought let’s have a day out.

The Black Country at War Group were there with two nice Land Rovers as well as lots of kit and equipment. They also had a nice Sankey trailer, that the one member had converted to look even more military. He’d certainly made a very professional job of it.

Further along were Dave Spruce’s Austin K5, a Moggy 1000 Traveller, a Champ and a Hothkiss M201 Jeep. Then I spotted an Austin 10hp Light Utility which belonged to Tony Whitehead and his charming wife, who I hadn’t seen for over 25 years, so it was great to catch up.

A most unusual vehicle was the GKN Alvis Simba Armoured Car, which I think was a prototype for the Saxon APC. The interior looked similar, but with a side door instead, while the driver’s seat looked straight out of the Saxon. The owners wasn’t available to ask, but I remember reading somewhere that it had been almost abandoned up a corner of the GKN factory and a chap who worked there had managed to buy it. Maybe someone could confirm this or not ?

Any way a superb show and we’ll be back next year. Maybe there will be more MV’s next year ?!!!

The Wolverhampton Steam Fair and Transport Rally has taken place for a number of years now on the first weekend in June and includes a cavalcade of vehicles through the city centre on Saturday luchtime. Held in West Park in the centre of the city, it normally has a nice selection of military vehicles, steam engines and traction engines, classic cars and bikes etc. Last year had glorious sunshine with a huge turnout of people enjoying themselves. However, this year wasn’t so good, with a constant steady downpour of rain.  This year, the show’s first day was on June 6th, the 65th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy in World War, where many military vehicle owners and historians were ‘over there’ taking part in the many commemorations that were taking place to mark the event. Many of the public were put off attending the show as well, due the weather, which was a shame. Despite this, Miliblog donned their raincoat and cap and ventured out to seek out green machines.

First we met Davis Spruce who amongst other things, had two military motorcycles on display, a BSA M20 and a Matchless G3. Both in lovely condition, I know if they’d been mine I wouldn’t have wanted to get them wet !   Chatting to David, he mentioned his superb Austin K5 3 tonner was also on display. Last year I visited the show on both days just to look and drool over this lovely classic British wartime truck. It has a certain smell that captures the whole character of the era of British wartime stuff. It had originally been advertised on ebay, I remember seeing it at the time, and David and a colleague had bought it between them. David hinted he might know of another K5 to add to their collection soon !!!  

Phil Palmer was also in attendance with his lovely Dodge WC-51 Waepons Carrier in US Navy colours along with his Hippo 10Ton looking superb as ever.

Also we chatted to Vince, who’d brought along his Willys MB Jeep for the first time and was enjoying the show. In nice condition, it was a genuine Willys that had been worked on by the French Army and had been upgraded to 24 volt, radial tyres and a dash starter button, rather than the usual will-it-won’t-it original 6 volt floor button. Vince was originally a long distance tanker lorry driver who went all over Europe. He asked me what did I think was the biggest challenge in driving a tanker ! The weight ? No.. the surge from the liquid in the tanks !!! You could pull up  sharply to a halt, and the surge of the liquid could push your lorry forward another 2 meters !!!

Finally had a nice chat to the guy who owned the James 125cc motorcyle, who even started it up and gave me, as a very novice motorcyclist, a demonstration of where the clutch is on a bike and how you stop it. A lovely little machine and he even gave me some tips of how to tell the difference between a wartime and a postwar rebuild. Apparently, James based in Birmingham, bought up all the ex-army James bikes they could after the war and converted them for the civilian market.

So enjoy the pictures below……………

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