Kent Heritage Show - Kent County Show Ground, Maidstone, Kent
on Saturday 31st March 2012

Held at The Kent County Show Ground, Maidstone, Kent on Saturday 31st March 2012 and organised by The Kent Agricultural Society. I said in last years show write up "It grows every year". This is true again as this year there were about a third more Tractor, Vehicle & Commercial exhibitors here than last year and just over 5,000 visitors to the show, not bad for a one day event. Adult Ticket prices wern't to unreasonable either at £6.50 pre-book & £7.50 on the gate with under 12's free.
The main Themes for this years show were Maidstone & District and East Kent Bus Company Club celebrating its Diamond Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of the MGB Roadster and the Massey Ferguson 35X as well as celebrating 100 years of AEC buses.
After setting up the FFA stand with Rodney, Wendy Gibson & Linda Vowell it was time for me to have a wander around the displays and gather my photos and information for the website.
Free vintage bus rides with stops positioned around the showground, were a fanatastic sight to see and Yes I had a trip on a London double decker bus, which reminded me of the "Harry Potter Night bus to Hoggwarts" and the "Carry on the Buses film".There was even a period dressed conductor who rang the bell when all were aboard.
The brightly painted with superb hand painted signwritting detail Bedford coach was originally used as a tour bus from Valletta to London, so I thought this would also be worth a trip on aswell.
This "Home Front Bus" mainly travels around schools giving the kids a chance to see and understand what the Home Front meant and did during the war. The inside of this bus had been converted to a living museum. You can view more information by visiting their website Home Front Bus.
There were many Vintage & Classic Vehicle Clubs here with their display area's full of Motorcycles, Commercials and Cars. VJMC - The Vintage Japaneese Motorcycle Club had a great stand with many classic motorcycles on it.

Kawasaki KH750 Triple - also nicknamed the "Kettle", Suzuki GS750 and the Honda CB750Four were bikes that my older brother and his mates had, while at 16 I blasted around on my Yamaha FS1E and had to work up to the bigger bikes.
Yamaha FS1E - Yup I had the bright yellow version
In the Commercial display area this 1950 Bedford Model K Camper Conversion caught my eye. It was originally in New Zealand and was purchased by a French Couple Nadi & Micheal who saw it while on holiday out there. They brought it back to France & restored it to its present condition. Nadi & Micheal were on a weeks touring holiday in UK and set off North after the show.
A International Roadmaster, 1961 Morris F.G Commercial which was built for Burtons Garage in Gillingham and a Leyland Terrier with a Triumph TR4A sports can on it's back, this even had the original winch and is still being used to take his differnet sports cars to all the shows.
The Kent County Show Ground Heritage Team, Lucy Hegerty, Bernard & Steve Pike have all been very busy since last year and there is a new hard surface area between the two display halls and this is where the tractors were on display.
Ian Bouchard's 1939 Oliver 70 RowCrop with a mid mounted tool bar for digging potatoes

Dave Bonner's 1961 KL Jones 15 Mobile Crane
The KL was the baby in the Jones range. Because of it's compactness it was often used in urban areas and know as the "Street Crane". It could straddle a trench, lifting excavated materials into dumpers and lowering pipes. The large winch drum of the KL15 could hold up to 150 feet of cable and this also allowed it to work at the top of tunnel shafts again lifting out soil and lower materials down to the miners below.
This fully working and unique Jones KL15 was restored by it's owner Dave Bonner, Dave travelled up from the New Forest to give the KL it's first showing since being restored.

While making my way back to the FFA stand I noticed this beautifully restored 1912 Hallford Omnibus.
As you can see from the original photos it started off as a total wreck and needed donor parts and bodies to complete the restoration. The finished restoration is a credit to the time and effort put into it by it's owner.
1912 Hallford made by J.E Hall Ltd from Dartford. It was found at Plumbstead in Easter 1983 and had been used by a fairground family as a caravan many years ago. It was moved back to Dartford August 1983 and the main chassis and steering were worked on. In 1985 a new radiator was cast and bonnet fabrications were completed, next the woodwork was restored and in 1989/90 new stairs were fitted.
Fully Restored
Arriving back at the FFA stand, Wendy Gibson & Linda Vowell were busy serving T's to Our members. Rodney was busy chatting away, selling FFA merchandise and signing up new members. The end of the hall had been set aside for tractors stands, Ford & Fordson Association, Garden of England, Kent Agricultural Club and S.E.V.A.C were all together and the place was busy with people chatting and enjoying the tractors on display.
Our Magic T Ladies Wendy, Linda and Marjorie Cheeseman ( Kent Agricultural Club) enjoyong 5 miniute break. Joan Allen and the Garden Of England Stand and FFA Member Peter Micham telling one of his "famous stories" to John Vowell and a couple of G.O.E members.
Our thanks go out to John Vowell, Des Boughton, Bob Griggs, Rodney Gibson & Ian Town for the use of their tractor for the FFA display.
What a fantastic sight early on the Saturday the morning as Des Boughton & John Vowell arrive at the Heritage Show.
Bob Griggs from Dymchurch displayed his nicely restored 1965 Petrol Ford 2000.
Ian Town & his father Leslie with Ian's 1963 Fordson Super Major.
Our thanks go out to All the FFA members who helped and made the effort to bring their beloved tractors along to the Heritage Show and to display on our FFA Stand. A superb and enjoyable day was had by all. Ernie & Rodney will be back next year and look forward to seeing you all, old & new at our FFA stand at the Kent Heritage Show 2013.

Words & Photos - Ernie

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