The International Steam Pages

The Great Dorset Steam Fair (22nd - 26th August 2019)

This is one of a series of pages I have uploaded to illustrate facets of the steam rallies we have attended in the UK. Click here for the 2019 introduction and overall index.

The 50th GDSF in 2018 was my first, it impressed me and equally importantly Yuehong too who insisted we return in 2019. We stayed just north of Shaftesbury and commuted, any form of camping having been vetoed by joint agreement. We were blessed by excellent weather, especially on the Thursday when I did an initial inspection and recorded what was present. Friday morning was dull and was used to take photographs of subjects unlikely to be well lit by the sun at any time of day. With record shots in the bag, a sunny Friday afternoon was spent cracking off shots in the playpen, many of which decorate this report. There were meant to have been more on Saturday but by then the surface had been totally destroyed and no amount of sprinkling was going to make any difference, everything in the vicinity got covered in dust and it wasn't long before we moved on.

My report includes the best part of 300 engines, unlike 2018, I was able to photograph every one I recorded. Did I see them all? Maybe, but realistically probably not, especially as we did not attend on Sunday or Monday when we were first travelling home to rescue our garden and then journey on to Shrewsbury. Having been to Lincoln the weekend before, this meant I had clocked up some 450 steam engines in 10 days and currently, I'm not at all unhappy that I will be taking September gently. As always the programme was indicative as opposed to definitive, but I felt there were fewer mistakes in the steam section than last time. 

I was well satisfied with our three days, I found the size more manageable than in 2018 and a combination of a steep fall in attendance and better attention to detail especially for the car park management, access and egress and most of all the toilets made it a very positive experience. However, the fact that apart from the City of Lincoln exhibition there were very few 'new engines' for me (just five) means that I will probably give it a miss for the next year or two and let it join the group of rallies which I go to in rotation. Certainly, the absence of serious photographers in any numbers suggested that few 'gricers' would now consider that an annual visit to GDSF is worth the time and money. It's fair value but the cost of admission is more than matched by the cost of accommodation.

Last year, I was bailed out by a number of fellow enthusiasts but as explained above, these pages will be 'all my own work'. Whether you were a visitor or stayed away for whatever reason, I hope you enjoy the report as much as I did putting it together. (Rod Smith has mow pointed out that Clayton and Shuttleworth 37621 was in the City of Lincoln area, my notes agree but it seems I failed to photograph it...)

Choose the section you are interested in and within that, click on a thumbnail for a larger image. Then click again to return to the page.

David Collidge's Steam Scenes website ( is a fount of information and was a great help in compiling these pages.

Showman's Engines Friday Night Fever City of Lincoln Special Steam Wagons
Road Locomotives Steam Tractors General Purpose Portable Engines
Steam Rollers Ploughing Engines Working Steam

Rob and Yuehong  Dickinson