Launching First Ever Rally in N.E. Scotland
The first ever steam gathering in the North East of Scotland was held at the Beach Boulevard, Aberdeen in 1969 – it was just a small gathering on a Sunday afternoon, and was orchestrated by the Donald C Stewart a local engine owner and steam enthusiast.
In 1970 Dod Sim a garage proprietor of Lemon Place and the Bill McConnachie a policeman of Faulds Gate, both in Aberdeen decided that they would set up a steam engine club.
In the spring of 1970 they arranged a meeting at the Range, Bridge of Don to form the club and decide on a suitable name. The club was initially affiliated to the Country Club, and the organisers of the meeting had already planned to hold a rally on August 2nd of that year.
More and more of these magnificent machines were ending up on the scrap heap, so the objective was to recruit like-minded people interested in maintaining interest in all types of self-propelled steam engines and vehicles. Working together to preserve them, a part of our history, for future generations. The Club also supports any moves to preserve portable and stationary steam engines.
The August rally was planned to take place on the 2nd August at the Royal Northern Showground, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen (currently the location of the remains of the old Aberdeen Exhibition Centre).
At that meeting, the Bon Accord Steam Engine Club was formed with Donald C Stewart as the President, Dod Sim as the Chairman, W Adams as the Vice-Chairman and Bill McConnachie as the Secretary and Treasurer.
Bill Barrack, C. Ross, G Duthie, W. Gill, W, Edwards and R. Gallagher also joined the management committee by the first rally.
Since those early days the Club’s annual Steam Fair has been held at various locations around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, for many years the event was held in Hazelhead Park in Aberdeen. In 2004 after several years without a permanent site the Club joined forces with the National Trust for Scotland to stage an all new event at, what was hoped would become a long term location, Castle Fraser Aberdeenshire.
The event, now called the Bon Accord Steam Fair at Castle Fraser, is usually held on the 3rd weekend of June and is going from strength to strength.
In 2006 it attracted 29 steam engines, over 100 tractors and about the same number of Stationery Engines.
By 2015, the 45th anniversary, numbers had grown with some 45 steam engines, over 100 tractors, two typical fairground rides, numerous smaller engines, entertainment and a wide range of stalls attending.
2020 would have marked the 50th Anniversary of the first event, and the club planned the Golden Jubilee Steam Fair celebrating 50 years of the Club’s history. Due to the COVID pandemic, the event has been postponed until 2022.
The event, now boasting over 400 exhibits and more than 3000 visitors over two days, the Castle Fraser Steam and Vintage Fair has become the largest of it’s kind in Scotland.
The Bon Accord Steam Fair
Since those early days the Club’s annual Steam Fair has been held at various locations around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. In 2004 the Club joined forces with the National Trust for Scotland to stage an all-new event at, what was hoped would become a long-term location, Castle Fraser Aberdeenshire.
Our annual event is now called the Bon Accord Steam Fair at Castle Fraser. We welcome more and more visitors every year and in 2020 were due to celebrate the Golden Jubilee exhibiting over 50 Steam Engines, however due to the outbreak of COVID, the Club had to postpone this momentous weekend. Instead there will be a bigger and better belated Golden Jubilee celebration in June 2022.
For more information on our Steam Fair visit the Bon Accord Steam Fair page here.