Santa's sleigh

Next story>>>   Back to news index>>>   Go home ! >>>

6th November 2010 Telford and Ironbridge Meccano Society (TIMS) AGM.

It may seem a bit odd that a couple of Southerners, like us, go to all the effort of travelling to a club, miles away, at least four times a year. At 4.30 in the morning I sometimes wonder if we are mad. From where we live in South East London it is a long slog across town to get to either the M1 or M40. If you attempt it any later then 5 o’clock in the morning the traffic is so bad that it can take a couple of hours – or even longer – just to reach the motorway.

This is the view from the front of the B&B in Ironbridge looking out over the river Seven - A great place to visit with or without Meccano!

Our early starts mean we can sail across town unhindered by traffic. It can still take the best part of an hour to make the journey due to speed cameras and bus lane restrictions in places (even at that time of the morning). The congestion charge does not apply at the weekend and if we are in the Van, it is compliant with the Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) regulations so we don’t have to worry about that either. Gone are the days when you could drive through the centre of town, early in the morning, as quickly as the conditions would allow with your main concern being to avoid colliding with one of the fleet of newspaper vans making rapid deliveries…

We have taken to going Via Kidderminster to avoid the M6 and inevitable arrival at the Telford Services on the M54. Although they do sell a ‘traditional’ breakfast, it is expensive and the place, as well as the food, is cold. Not what you want after a long drive. Going the other way, we have found an excellent and very friendly Little Chef where we can get good food and unwind for an hour or so before completing the journey through the local countryside via the outskirts of Bridgnorth.  Ironbridge is spectacular at this time of the year, with the trees showing their autumn colour, it makes the early start worthwhile.

TIMS meetings, and that includes the AGM, are more like mini Exhibitions with the general public attending the Museum being invited to view the models on display. For this reason we have to be set up and ready for 10 o’clock, hence the very early start.


Ralph was obviously missing out on the attention as he tried to muscle in on the Meccanograph bandwagon by building a version of the original 1916 Meccanograph. MeccanographThe result of all this effort was to find out why they have got more sophisticated over the years. I am still modifying mine to improve the performance. His one just would not work very well at all compared with the modern examples to be found elsewhere in the hall… and mine, of coarse! It was dismantled almost as soon as we got home accompanied by a lot of muttering about building a more sophisticated version. Whether he will or not remains to be seen.

The updated race-A-Way game was finished a couple of days after the meeting - more details of this model will be posted in the articles section later...

We had intended to bring our modern take on the Race-A-Way game (originally featured in the September 1931 issue of Meccano magazine and up-dated in the January 1974 edition) however it was not finished in time so we decided to save it for another day. Our Meccanographs, Ralph’s climbing man and a selection of the new models we have featured on these pages in recent months made up our display.


Braiding machine

The idea behind Ralph’s Meccanograph was to let kiddies have a go but as he could not get it to work very well he gave up. Over on the other side of the hall it was a different matter. Three generations of the Sleaford family were showing off their latest creations as well as providing some hands-on entertainment with a Meccanograph and a very cleaver, simple, braiding machine that was fascinating to watch and operate even for big kids like me!


Margaret Massingham's contra rotating roundabout

Us lady-modellers were out in force this weekend. There were lots of models built on display giving the guys a run for their money. Margaret Massingham was showing her contra-rotating roundabout. Built from a ‘Spanner’ article published in th  March 1965 editiion of the Meccano Magazine (page 46). The model has been upgraded with a modern motor and modern flexible parts have been incorporated to make a fine looking model. Ann Nightingale had a nice model of a sleigh complete with Santa and load of wrapped presents. Leslie and Rob Mitchell were showing a model of their own house. I thought this was a novel idea and I liked the details such as alarm box and satellite dish. There were several other ladies in attendance also with models.

'Our house' well, leslie and Rob Mitchell's house - I bet it gets a bit draughty in the winter with all those holes

Other models

Hamish Ross was showing his manual models of steam engines built from immaculate looking red a green Meccano. The use of protective washers, to keep this Meccano looking crisp and bright, was much in evidence. Although we do not tend to build using green strips we have a lot of them but they all seem to vary in colour or are particularly scruffy. I think it is about time we did a bit more refurbishment…  

Beam engine
The immaculate No.7 set Horizintal steam engine (model number 7.16)

Dennis Backler’s work-in-progress is a super detailed train bogie. Dennis told me he managed to get to see the remains of the real thing during his research. I noticed Dennis and Roger West discussing such things at Henley earlier in the year and Ralph saw what Roger was up to at an RMG meeting back in October See HERE. I am looking forward to seeing both of these models. I have an interest in trains, the real thing, and am particularly interested in the East Kent Light Railway (EKR) and Southern Region having grown up in Kent. His nibs is the railway modeller but I do get involved sometimes – usually with the scenery…

Janet and Keith Way’s very nice looking carousel

…I digress, back to the important stuff – Meccano. Keith and Janet Way’s carousel built largely following Tony ‘No 10 set’ Parmee’s Model plan (MP 80), looked superb in a variety of colours.  Compared to Ralph’s mini version (SEE HERE) this is a monster of a model and full of action. I have been watching David Lacy’s D9 come together over the past months and it was good to see it in it’s entirety. This is a super model in every sense. The attention to detail is fantastic and it really catches the feel of the prototype.

Ken and Vera Wright made the journey from Sussex to be with us and Vera was collecting parts for a Meccanograph, after talking to us at the Holy Trinity meeting last month. See, this Meccanograph thing is addictive!

As Usual there were lots of other models to be seen and all had a good time. The time just disappeared and before I knew it we were back in the car heading for a pub/restaurant to have a meal with some of our local Meccano friends before heading back to the B&B for the night. The next day we were off to look at a large collection of Meccano for sale – but that is another story!



Next story>>>   Back to news index>>>   Go home ! >>>


Peter Sleaford demonstrates his braiding machine
The back of the Mitchell's house - who needs Google street view?!!
Dennis Backler’s super detailed train bogie