Whilst displaying models at the Thornbury Model Engineering show in August 2018, we were approached by the Treasurer of Radstock Museum with a request to co-operate on a 3-month exhibition in the Spring of 2019. This came to be known as “Model Engineering; Micro, Macro, Meccano”. This was a “first” for the Club in terms of the length of time the display was to last, and the mutual benefit to the Club of publicity and the Museum of a free display.
The Exhibition comprised 3 elements;
- A 3-poster display of the history of Meccano. This was compiled by our Chairman, Sam Medworth and printed up on A3 card by the Museum. The posters were eventually given to the club for use at future meetings, particularly those open to the public.
- A hands-on Meccano modelling session for children during the Exhibition week. Richard Smith provided the small sets and instructions that he and Neil Bedford had previously used with the Scouts, and he staffed it with the help of Sam and Linda Medworth. With the aid of Neil’s detailed photo instructions, several children completed scooters or jeeps from the equivalent of an old set 1. Much fun was had by all!
- A display of 10 models on the theme of Coal Mining. As the main hub of the Somerset Coalfield, Radstock has major features on the history of mining in the area in its Museum. We were able to complement their displays with working models of a waste tip railway, disc coal seam cutter, sieving machine and pithead gear – the latter with sequenced motion operated by an Arduino computer. Philip Bond had the idea of building a series of coal trucks in the different liveries of Meccano down the years, and visitors were encouraged to line these up in the correct historical sequence. Alan Perry built a wonderful model of his father’s Austin K2 lorry which had been used to transport coal from Marlborough station to the school. Ian Jeeves provided a working model of a Newcomen engine used to pump water out of mines, and Philip Drew made the Set 10 coal wagon tippler. John Day laboured to get the Set 7 Ship’s Coaler working, but it proved rather unreliable, and Pete Evans provided a model of the very early steam loco Pen-y-darren; sadly the gearbox of the electric motor stripped its teeth after long continuous running.
- In addition to all this, Pete and Barry provided a wonderful cabinet display of historical Meccano sets, motors and parts – many in their original packaging!
The Museum organisers, all of whom are volunteers, were very pleased with the co-operative venture and felt it had drawn in many visitors who would not normally have come. To crown it all (!) we had a Royal visitor in HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who came to Radstock for the 150th anniversary of the Radstock Co-operative shop!