50th GDSF SPECIAL

This year we’re celebrating the 50th Great Dorset Steam Fair!

The very first event (then known as "The Great Working Of Steam Engines" )was organised by Dairy Farmer Michael Oliver with a few friends and enthusiasts, and held on farmland at Stourpaine Bushes near Blandford from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st September 1969.

Michael Oliver

Michael sadly passed away in 2009, and will be fondly remembered this year. Back in 1969, he could never have imagined that his small show could have grown to be the world’s largest – or that it would be breaking all records again by exhibiting 500 engines on its 50th anniversary!

The show remains a family affair, with Michael’s son Martin now Managing Director of what has become a very large concern!

Special Hourly Feature on Steam Fair FM

This year we’ll be remembering that inaugural year of 1969

Creedence Clearwater Revival

As the show opened on September 19th 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival (above) were no.1 in the charts with their second single "Bad Moon Rising". We’ll be playing this, and many of the other great songs from 1969 in our hourly feature, including a no 2 chart hit that was actually banned by the BBC!

What was Britain like in 1969?

Harold Wilson

Harold Wilson was Prime Minister of the Labour government. Much of industry was nationalised, including coal, steel, railways, British Leyland Motors, British Telecom and BOAC/British Airways. The BBC had resumed its monopoly of radio broadcasting after pirate radio had been outlawed in 1967. Currency was pre-decimal Pounds, Shillings and Pence – 12 pence to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound.

Key events in 1969:

Man is Walking on the Moon
  • Man walked on the Moon for the first time
  • The 50 pence coin was introduced (called the "10 shilling piece")
  • The first test tube fertilisation of human eggs was achieved
  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus first broadcast
  • British Troops sent to Northern Ireland to keep the peace
  • The Beatles played their last live gig on a London rooftop
  • Woodstock Festival featured Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin and many more
  • In Britain, the Who played the Isle Of Wight festival along with Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker and the Moody Blues.
  • The year’s best selling single was "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies – a studio band, portrayed by cartoon characters! It was no 1 for 8 consecutive weeks.
Sugar Sugar by The Archies

Do you have a special reason for remembering 1969? Were you, or a relative at that very first Dorset Steam Fair? Get in touch and let us know, as we prepare to celebrate the amazing heritage of the Great Dorset on Steam Fair FM!

1969 Great Dorset Steam Fair