The Hollycombe Steam Collection is a collection of steam-powered vehicles, rides and attractions based near Liphook in Hampshire. The collection includes fairground rides, a display farm and two railways. The collection dates back to the late 1940s when Commander John Baldock decided to preserve some of the steam traction engines that were rapidly disappearing from British life. By the early 1960s he had acquired a significant collection of road vehicles and started to collect fairground rides. In the late '60s he extended his interests again into preserving railway equipment. The collection was eventually opened to the public and became a major Hampshire tourist attraction. At length the collection grew so large it became impossible for one person to maintain, and by 1984 Baldock decided he would have to close the operation. A Society was formed by volunteers to operate the collection. This was successful and the collection continued to expand.
The Edwardian Fairground is a complete steam fair comprising rides originating from the 1870s and later. The rides include a Tidman 3 abreast Golden Gallopers roundabout, a single Steam Yacht a Razzle Dazzle being a grand aerial novelty ride with a rotating and tilting movement. S Fields Steam Circus was built between 1868 and 1872 and is the oldest surviving mechanically propelled fairground device. The fairground also has a set of Steam Swings, a Set of Walker Chair o planes, a big wheel and a Bioscope Show which is an early travelling cinema. The rides are constructed mainly from wood and, where appropriate, are powered by steam engines. There are rides for all ages and the atmosphere is completed with a number of fairground organs and a range of sidestalls.
Current ride and attraction list: - Steam Yacht (The only steam yacht in the UK, Built in 1911) - Razzle Dazzle (The ever first ride with 2 movements that are tilting and rotating, built in 1906 by Howcroft Carriage & Wagon Works ) - Gallopers (3-abreast Steam Gallopers, Built 1912 by Tidman of Norwich) - Mr Field's Steam Circus (Built in the late 1870s, it the world's oldest surviving mechanically driven fairground ride) - Steam Swings (The ride consists of six boats driven by an overhead line shaft from a 1901 Brown & May portable engine) - Big Wheel (50 ft high and built by Hayes Fabrications) - Steam Chair O Planes (Once a set of gallopers, destroyed in the war. Now a set of chairs o planes built in 1910 by Walker's) - BioScope (The Bioscope is typical of the travelling shows which brought the very first films to the public) - Haunted House (Built by Orton & Spooner around 1915, the Haunted House) (Out of service 2015-2016) - Austin Car ride (Built by Supercar in 1948) - Juvenile Roundabout (Built by Orton & Spooner in 1930 and spent its working life at Chessington Zoo in Surrey until purchased by Hollycombe in 1985) - Children's Swing Boats (Built in 1990) - Juvenile Chair O Planes.
The farm includes a wide range of vintage steam-powered farm equipment including: ploughing engines, a threshing machine, a baler, and a stationary steam engine driving small machinery through a line shaft. The sawmill is used to cut much of the wood used on site and is powered by a large semi-portable Robey Steam Engine. Close by is the engine from the paddle steamer Caledonia. The whole range of machinery required to prepare feed stuffs for animals on a large farm is represented in the farm buildings. Driven by line-shafting, power is from a Robinson horizontal steam engine, built at Rochdale in Lancashire over 100 years ago and used to drive the well pump at Basing House for many years.
In a hollow at the lower end of the Lime Walk is a stone building adjoining a large overtype waterwheel. Inside is a beam engine, a type central to the development of steam power and the Industrial Revolution. This engine dates from around 1850 and has been restored to working order, in a setting similar to that in which it is thought to have worked when new. It was used by a large farm in the North-East of England where it was employed to drive a fixed threshing machine in a barn, along with other mills and equipment by means of a line shaft and belts. There are stories that the engine took over the task of driving a threshing machine from an older waterwheel, after augmenting it initially. The beam engine has been restored and is provided with low pressure steam from an adjacent egg-ended boiler, and is demonstrated regularly on open Sundays. The waterwheel came to Hollycombe from a farm in nearby Bramshott, prior to which it worked in Cornwall.
Marine engines are among some of the largest steam engines ever built. The one at Hollycombe is from the paddle steamer Caledonia, a former London, Midland & Scottish Railway excursion vessel built for service on the Clyde. During the war, she served as an anti-aircraft ship, HMS Goatfell, and was crediteed with at least two enemy aircraft in the D-Day operations. Caledonia and her engine were built by Denny Bros. of Dumbarton, and launched in 1934. The engine is a triple expansion diagonal, with a low pressure cylinder of over 4ft diameter. Indicated horsepower was 1,750. She was retired to the Thames in London in 1972 and was used by Bass Charrington as a floating restaurant until a disastrous fire in 1980 after which she was scrapped. Luckily the engine and ancillary equipment were saved and rebuilt at Hollycombe.
Traction engines and steam tractors were employed on the roads to move goods from place to place. All types of loads were carried from light goods to heavy haulage. Usually goods would be loaded onto one or more four wheeled trailers which would be attached behind an engine. For particularly heavy loads, two or more engines would be connected behind each other to provide additional power, sometimes with another engine behind the load to provide extra braking.
Hollycombe has two steam rollers: a Wallis & Steevens Simplicity roller Christopher of 1932 and David, an Aveling & Porter 10 ton roller built in 1921. Steam Rollers are one of the best-known road engines. They would travel between jobs towing a living van for the crew to stay while away working on road building and repairs. Christopher is a Wallis & Steevens Simplicity roller, No. 8023 of 1932. It has an unusual design with a sloping boiler to ensure the firebox remains covered with water at all times. Only 15 of these light, three ton engines were built, intended for use on sports grounds, private roads and drives. Six survive with only a few in serviceable condition, Hollycombe's being one. David is a typical steam roller of its age and has been working on Hollycombe's roads and driveways since 1961. It was built in 1921 and worked for Islington Borough Council until 1955.
The narrow gauge Quarry Railway, is a 2 foot gauge steam railway running for approximately 1.5 miles through woodland and fields. The journey starts at the station by the visitor centre, and travels through pretty woodland until it reaches the old sandstone quarry. After a pause to take in the spectacular views across the Sussex Weald, the journey continues through woodland and alongside fields, where horses often graze. The railway has two steam and one diesel locomotives. Even the passenger carriages are historic, coming from the long closed Ramsgate Electric Tunnel Railway. One of the carriages has a wheelchair compartment, and a ramp is available at the station.
The miniature steam Garden Railway is always popular with visitors. Although originally aimed at the children, it seems that the adults find it just as attractive! The railway is a continuous loop of about one third of a mile and the tracks are set at 7.25 inch gauge. You will be amazed by the power of the tiny locomotives as they haul both adults and children around the scenic route. The station is located beyond the end of the fairground, near the sawmill. Trains pass between the fairground and the Woodland Gardens, around a loop near the Gallopers, and back past the engine shed to the station. The journey takes about five minutes. The miniature railway is supported by members of the Liphook Modellers Club who have a clubhouse at Hollycombe.
All visitors, purchasing tickets at normal admission prices, whether they Gift Aid their admission or not, can revisit the museum as many times as they like free of any extra charge for a full year from date of purchase. This is valid only for the people admitted on the original ticket. The ticket must be shown on readmission and the person who made the purchase must be present. Tickets are not transferable and identity will be checked on applying for readmission. Assistance dogs, as well as well-behaved dogs on a lead, are welcome. The cafeteria serves a range of hot snacks, light refreshments, ice creams and more. They also cater for most allergies too. A telephone is located in the Shop for emergency use and there is a First Aid Room. Baby changing facilities are available in the Disabled Toilet adjacent to the Souvenir Shop. There is wheelchair access to the Visitor Centre and train, and most of the site is fairly wheelchair friendly. However, by their nature and age, many of the fairground rides are accessed by steps and are not able to accommodate wheelchairs. There is a disabled access toilet in the building. Carers are admitted for free. All rides are included in the admission.
Location : Hollycombe Working Steam Museum, Iron Hill, Liphook, Hampshire, GU30 7LP
Transport : Liphook (National Rail) then taxi or 20 minutes. Bus Routes : No bus service.
Opening Times : Sundays until 9th October and specified summer dates 11:00 to 17:00; Saturday evenings until 8th October 18:00 to 22:00
Tickets : Adults £16.00; Seniors £14.00; Children (3 - 15) £12.00
Tel. : 01962 771305