The Society was formed on 27th February 1956 by a few stalwart steam enthusiasts which has grown over the years into one of the largest preservation societies in the country. Its first steam rally was in 1957 (in conjunction with the National Traction Engine Club) at Woburn Park where it was very well attended by engines from all over Bedfordshire and surrounding counties.
Since those early days, the Society's annual rally's have grown considerably as has interest in the steam preservation movement. Over the years the Society has since expanded its activities to accommodate for today's changing steam engine movement and actively participates in encouraging interest in steam preservation through, for example, steam apprentice activities and road run gatherings. The main event of the year is still the Society's rally in the grounds of Shuttleworth House, Old Warden in Bedfordshire during September each year.
Many of our members are owners of steam engines of varying sorts, some of which have been rebuilt from a derelict state and all of which require some degree of maintenance and repair. Read about some of these projects in our Member Activities pages.
To commemorate our 50th anniversary, the Society commissioned Roger Newbury to film the various celebratory events we held throughout 2006. The above video clip is an extract of the final production.
In 2006 we celebrated our 50th Anniversary with a series of commemorative events, starting with a Birthday Party attended by over 400 members and friends. This was followed by a very successful Steam Apprentice driving weekend in April, where over 100 children learnt how to safely drive and maintain steam engines, even cooking their own breakfasts on shovels. Midsummer brought a new event, a Village Day in Blunham joining the community for a fun family day out and incorporating a road run to the village of Tempsford. The Annual Bedfordshire Steam & Country Fayre, held over 3 days was the Society’s biggest ever event. The “Made in Bedfordshire” display gathered together a diverse variety of exhibits from Steam Engines to Classic Cars, Horse Drawn Ploughs to the World’s Oldest Tractor.
*Organised by the National Traction Engine Club in conjunction with BSEPS
**Organised by BSEPS and the Bedfordshire Agricultural Society
JC John Crawley organised 9 events
CN Cyril Norman organised 8 events
CP Celia Pentlow organised 1 event
FH Fred Harris organised 4 events
PW Paul Worbey has organised 34 events
All with the assistance of ever changing rally committees and their commitment.