The object of the society is to further the knowledge of the preservation of vintage machinery and to provide members with opportunities for the interchange of ideas and experiences. We are affiliated to the National Traction Engine Trust.
In 1974 a handful of enthusiasts set up the nucleus of the Lambourn Vintage Machinery Society under the Chairmanship of Mr. Peter Barrenger and another well-known local farmer, Mr. Richard Manchester, as president.
More than a decade has passed and, what was then created has grown surely and steadily with an ever increasing enthusiasm and with a membership from a wide spectrum of ages and occupations. The Society is dedicated to extend and further the knowledge of preservation of machinery of a fast disappearing age and the art and craft pertaining thereto.
Apart from its monthly meetings which incorporate films, talks, and competitions, the main annual event is the 'Spring Working`. The first of these was held in a meadow near the turn from Shefford Woodlands to Lambourn and although open to the interested, the Society did not expect that many more than its own members would attend. The response was astounding - the public literally poured in and the interest in the work and aims of the Society have very happily continued. The annual show is now held at Lambourn Woodlands by kind permission of the President and comprises a wide ranging exhibition of vintage machinery and farming memorabilia. Tractors of all makes and ages with allied machinery can be seen, together with threshing machines, straw balers and a host of the small single cylindered engines used for a multitude of purposes before the wider use of the electric motor, caused their demise. A venerable stationary Steam Engine takes, perhaps, pride of place. Made at the turn of the century, it was dismantled and removed piece by piece from the pump-house of a local estate. Re-assembled on a transporter base, it is now in full working order and a tribute to those who worked so hard to save this great engine from the oblivion of the breakers yard. It is an education to see this leviathan which epitomises the steam age and it should, on no account, be missed.
The Rare Breed Society has also been taking an increasingly important part in this Spring Working exhibition over the last several years. More of the older breeds of sheep, goats and pigs can be found and, it is a joy to see them in 'the flesh` rather than as a reference or a reminiscence in an agricultural magazine. The thanks of many are due to the enthusiasts who are ensuring the survival of these interesting breeds, instead of watching them disappear in an era of modernisation and conformity. Both you and I tend to forget that the sun is not always shining on Show Days, how is the air always full of the scent of flowers, but, in spite of the rain, wind, cold and the numerous adjectives describing our English weather, the dedicated few continue to delight us with their showing of these fine animals so well known to our forebears.
A profusion of stalls are to be found in the showground, dealing with many aspects of the country way of life. The making of corn dollies, the art of the Shoeing Smith, now turning to decorative iron work, model making and making and spinning and weaving with wool from your chosen fleece can be seen alongside jam and pickle making and flower preservation.
Over the past few years there has been an increasing interest in vintage motor cycles and there is now a very good display of these, some dating back to the 1920s.
The Lambourn Vintage Machinery Society is more than a collection of machinery enthusiasts and mechanical cranks. It is above all, a gathering of friends, who all share the desire and interest to pass on a tangible reminder of the skills and achievements wrought by those, who, in their time, have made the country, and the way of country people, of such great importance to the wellbeing of their fellow men