Festival Spotlights

Steam engines, signal boxes and vintage buses

We are always saying that our heritage is far more than stately homes, and this year we can certainly prove that. We’ve got an amazing range of events planned to celebrate our industrial and transport heritage. One of the latest additions to the programme is The Watercress Line – on Friday 8th you explore behind the scenes at Mid Hampshire Railway’s engineering hub at Ropley.

One of my favourites will be the King Alfred vintage bus service in Winchester on the afternoon and evening of Saturday 9th September, but you can also pull levers in Romsey Signal Box and get up close to magnificent steam engines in Ropley and old tractors and fire engines at Chilcomb House.  There’s even going to be a vintage car rally on the Saturday.

In Bursledon you will be amazed by the last steam-driven Victorian brickworks in the UK, whilst in Hockley and Winchester you can discover water mills. There’s a rare opportunity for you to see for yourself what was once a Spitfire factory but is now the home of computing innovation, and also a chance to glimpse Whitchurch Silk Mill’s exciting project to restore their machinery and buildings.

Most of our transport and industrial heritage events you can simply turn up to but there are two you will need to book advance. Please also note that none of our industrial heritage venues or transport events will be open daily and many are open just one day so plan your visit(s)!

Event & Venue Brief Description Opening Days Pre-book?
Behind the scenes tour at Chilcomb House (Hampshire Cultural Trust) A unique chance to peek behind-the-scenes and meet the experts who curate  the museum collections cared for by Hampshire Cultural Trust. Visitors will be able to see costumes, artwork, natural history, archaeology, historic transport and social history collections. Also on display will be a rare surviving Georgian  sedan  chair contemporary to Jane Austen’s stay in Winchester shortly before her death in 1817. Friday only Yes
Behind the Scenes Tours of Mid Hampshire Railway Come and explore behind the scenes at Mid Hampshire Railway’s engineering hub at Ropley. Find out what it takes to restore and maintain steam locomotives, and get up close to these magnificent engines in their workshops. Tours (11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:20) depart from outside the Viewing Gallery on Platform 2 at Ropley station. Friday only No but tours at set times
Free Vintage Bus Service in Winchester The Friends of King Alfred Buses will operate an evening of free vintage bus services, recreating some of the authentic ‘King Alfred’ routes and featuring several historic vehicles which ran in Winchester in the 1950s to the 1970s. Unsuitable for wheelchairs.

Currently main hub for the buses will be The Broadway but this is subject to change please sign up to our mailing list to be kept informed.

Saturday only No
Hockley Watermill in Twyford Hockley is an 18th century water mill with two sets of stones and other gearing powered through a horizontal beam. The mill machinery is currently too fragile to use, so Hampshire Mills Group will be there to explain the working of the mill.  Steep stairs to upper floors. Children must be accompanied. Sunday only No
Hursley House in Hursley – hourly tours A rare opportunity to see inside this Grade II* listed mansion, now owned by IBM. Special tours will reveal the fascinating history of the Hursley estate (Spitfires were once made here) and include a visit to the Museum which traces the story of IBM and the technological innovations which have been conceived at Hursley. Sunday only Yes
Romsey Signal Box Pull levers and be involved in operating the signal box. Attractive site with outdoor section of railway track, signals, and other railway items. Indoor Visitor Centre with photo display and miniature signal box in constant demonstration. Sunday only No
The Brickworks Museum, Bursledon Come and be amazed at the authentic sights, sounds and smells of the last steam-driven Victorian brickworks in the UK. Make your own brick, get close to the massive brick making machines and see how the men used to run 15 miles a day in the big drying sheds.  Thursday & Sunday No
Whitchurch Silk Mill on Tour at Hampshire Record Office in Winchester Whitchurch Silk Mill has been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to assist with the restoration of its machinery and buildings to preserve these unique gems of Hampshire’s industrial heritage. Closed from September 2017 the Mill’s Roadshow will give people a glimpse of this exciting project. Thursday, Friday & Saturday No
Winchester City Mill – Flour Milling Weekend This National Trust property dates back to Saxon times and is probably the oldest working watermill in the country. Rebuilt in 1744, it is a rare surviving example of an urban corn mill. Saturday & Sunday No
Winchester MG Owners Club Display One for all motor enthusiasts! A display outside Winchester Cathedral of MGs and other classic and sports cars spanning several decades that will rekindle fond memories for those of a certain age. Come along and have a chat to the drivers. Saturday only No

3 thoughts on “Steam engines, signal boxes and vintage buses”

  1. No pressure there then on the blog!!! We will miss you but do understand why it is a long way to travel, hope though you manage to find some fabulous #HODs events nearer home


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