Charlton Great Get Together 2010

Saturday 10 July 2010
Charlton Park

Following on from last year’s successful Great Get Togethers, organised by Greenwich Council, we were invited to come back again this year to fly the flag for the Meccano hobby and SELMEC at more of the popular events — laid on free for the public.

The General Election meant that the organisers were not able to give us much forewarning of the details, or even whether we would be able to participate in all the events. As it turned out we did have a stand at all three Great Get Togethers. Hopefully, we’ll be invited back next year.

Each Great Get Together has various community groups attending, the council’s departments have a presence, and free drinks were available from the council in the Talk Café where you can ask your councillors questions or, at least, send them a question. There was also a main stage with music of various types and an arena for big demonstrations.

Just three members attended the final Great Get Together at Charlton House on 10th July: Tim Surtell, Brian Leach and Peter Clay. When I arrived, and had recovered from the walk from the bus stop, I found Tim been there since 9:00am and had set up and covered the tables already. The event went well, in swelteringly hot weather, the shade of the marquee being a relief from the open air. As ever with these events much interest and enjoyment was derived from our stand by toddlers, children, parents and grandparents. Many expressed an interest in our forthcoming show. The group next to us represented a toy library — not a single toy was in evidence! Maybe this helped draw attention to our exhibits which, if not toys, had enough movement and appeal to attract many back several times during the day.

Brian Leach and Peter Clay manning our stand
Brian Leach and Peter Clay manning our stand

The models were as follows:

Brian brought a dragon! More precisely, its head and neck, based on a model in Constructor Quarterly but much enlarged. When viewed at a distance through one eye, moving from side to side, the face and eyes appeared to be following you. The illusion was very effective — so much so that whenever I looked up from my Meccanograph I could see a line of spectators craning their necks, all with one eye covered, shuffling from side to side! He also had two interesting drive mechanisms: A three-speed and reverse gearbox with H gate change, and a variable drive unit.

Peter brought his ‘Spiralograph’ Meccanograph which produced spiral designs, many taken as souvenirs. He also displayed a woodpecker, two Calais motorbikes (one from the new Editions range), chess set (minus a rook thought to be left in the grass at the last Great Get Together, and making its last appearance!), simplicity sports car and three small and one large of the robots from the robot-in-a-tin sets.

A boy examines the intricate workings of Peter Clay’s Meccanograph
A boy examines the intricate workings of Peter Clay’s Meccanograph

Tim had his laptop continuously playing his DVD of last year’s October exhibition. With the posters and hand outs (which he designed) they were good publicity for this year’s show. He also had his teacher/strongman animated figures.

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