About us

The Saffron Walden Crank Up is organised annually on behalf of the East Anglian Traction Engine Society. The show is run by a small committee of dedicated local volunteers each with a keen interest in vintage vehicles and the way of life associated with them.

Each year at the Crank Up we are pleased to welcome a growing number and variety of different exhibits, these include:

Steam Engines

Each year we welcome a variety of steam engines from the humble steam roller to the majestic showman’s engine. Each different type of engine was designed to do a different job.  Come along and experience the sights and sounds of these gentle giants as they move around the site.  Take a look into the world of an engine driver, see how they lived in one of the living vans – a wooden home on wheels which was towed along behind a traction engine or steam roller if its work took it further away from home.  Many living vans have been lovingly restored to accompany the engines along with different trailers and other equipment that were used along side the steam engines.


Vintage Tractors

Tractors come in a wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes, each with their own charm. Saffron Walden has held a market since 1141 and has always had strong agricultural links, some of the tractors on display were sold by Cleales of Saffron Walden, spending their working lives locally. Now finding new homes with enthusiasts who lovingly restore them along with the implements they were built to use to work the land.


Military Vehicles

With the strong military links of our site Carver Barracks, it is only fitting we include a display of military vehicles.  Come and marvel at some of the huge vehicles in this section, many painted a similar colour but all different shapes and sizes, ranging from the tiny Willys jeep to the huge recovery vehicles – each one built with a purpose in mind, many were a basic vehicle then adapted to perform a special job. Take a walk along the line of WW2 vehicles and imagine what it was like on the spot where you stand when Debden Aerodrome was in full swing with aircraft taking off and landing in the runway where your car is now parked.

Stationary Engines

In a world before electricity the stationary engine was commonplace, from the small engines that worked a single piece of equipment possibly on a farm to the huge Ruston with its twin flywheels that ran Barnard’s Mill locally in Station Road, Newport.  See all the different shapes and sizes, discover how many different fuels where used and how each changed the design. Ask the owners what job each one performed, listen to the hypnotic beat of the larger engines or the fast-paced patter of the smaller ones, each with an individual sound.


Classic Cars

Henry Ford introduced his Model T to the world in 1908, since then cars of every shape and size have been manufactured all over the world. We welcome many different shapes and sizes dating from the early 1900s up until the mid-1980’s. Walk through the rows with you parents or grandparents, they will remember what it was like when cars were slower. Each one built by hand many in this country giving them a charm of their own. Many of their owners will be near at hand to answer any questions you may have, they will only too happy to talk about their vehicle and give you a sense of what its like to tour through the countryside in a bygone era of motoring.

Vintage Fun Fair

Ride the galloping horses of the Carousel, feel the wind in your hair on the Swing boats or have a gentler ride on the toys of the roundabout. The travelling fairground is an English tradition dating back to the 1800s. Travelling showmen would haul their rides & stalls from town using horses and manpower, setting up on the village green or in the town square. During the Victorian era steam started to be used as a means of transport, replacing the horse. Notably Fredrick Savage of Kings Lynn founded his firm Savage’s developing steam driven rides until in 1891 the English Galloper was born. The machine at Crank Up dates from 1893 is owned by the locally-based Rule family – only the second family to own it!  Although still driven by steam and man power the fair is hauled by modern lorries and the electricity is generated using diesel engine rather than a Showman’s Engine of days gone by.

Vintage Commercials

Marvel at the commercial vehicles of yesteryear with their bright liveries and sign writing still reproduced on their modern equivalents. On display at Crank Up we have vehicles dating back to the 1900s, petrol engine lorries were first used along side steam, as time moved on they took the place of steam in road haulage and continued to be available in many different shapes and sizes depending on the task they built to do. Many of the vehicles on display have been meticulously restored by their owners who enjoy bringing them out for us all to enjoy.

Fairground Organs

Enjoy tunes old and new on the array of organs also old and new. The fairground organ first appeared in the early 1800’s these mechanical music making machines were first man powered later being driven by small steam engines on larger organs. Today many are displayed separately to the rides they were once apart of. They still entertain the public with their unique sound playing traditional tunes and modern pop songs alike. Organs were not only found on the fairground but also in concert halls and on the continent in cafes and bars as well as in the street.

Bar and Catering

Whilst you are enjoying your day if you feel in need of refreshment then head to our bar and catering area, we have an array of food on offer to suit every taste and requirement. All produced by our caterers who love what they do and personally prepare their food freshly on site. Our licenced bar championing locally produced ale along with wines and sprits as well as the name you know and love. We also have a Picnic area which you are welcome to bring your own food to sit in and enjoy the atmosphere of our show.


Model Steam

Model steam engines first appeared when steam rallies started in the 1950’s and 60’s. Traction Engines came in many different shapes and sizes, in the mid to late 1800’s many different manufacturers were trying new inventive designs, unfortunately many of these were not commercially successful. Model makers up and down the country have been reproducing the lost engines of the steam era for us to experience and enjoy.

Many of the popular steam engine designs have also been reproduced in miniature as the desire to own an engine is in many people, but the practicalities of a full-size engine ownership are beyond the capability of many.


Trade Stands

To accompany the exhibits, we also have an array of trade stands selling everything from a locally produced spirit, to the vintage hand tools your grandfather had in his shed all restored and ready to use.  Many of our stall holders make their products or they are passionate about them, they will be happy to talk about them. You will also find some local charities and organisations who we love to welcome along to help them fundraise and promote themselves.


The East Anglian Traction Engine Society  is one of the premier regional steam clubs in the United Kingdom.  To find out more about them, visit their website www.eates.org