Meccano Show 2011

Saturday 8 October 2011
Eltham United Reformed Church

There was just a covering of white cloud on the morning of 8th October and it was not too cold (a complete contrast to the high summer conditions of the previous weekend) — perfect weather for our 33rd annual Meccano Show. I arrived at 7:30am, thanks to a lift from Ralph and Sue Laughton in their huge Transit van, to find Dave Taylor, Frank Paine and Richard Marsden itching to get into the hall and set up. John appeared from his flat above the hall at around 7:45am (after a bit of prompting) carrying his Henry vacuum cleaner and we were soon in and rearranging the tables to our own layout.

For the first time, I had drawn up a plan of the hall and had allocated tables to each exhibitor. This seemed to work quite well and there was only a minimal amount of rearranging of tables in the main hall. Another first was the hiring of an additional room, the Dobell Room, along with the Penford Room that we normally have. With our four extra tables and the use of half a dozen low tables for models we had an additional 44’ of table space this year. It also gave more circulating space in the Sherard Hall. We could have probably done with a few more signs directing the public down the corridor, but when I went along to have a look, the Dobell Room was quite busy.

There was a bit of concern early on when we discovered that the low tables we expected had been arranged in a small room at the end of the corridor for the Russian class; we thought we’d booked the whole complex and wouldn’t be fighting over tables this year! John then enlisted our help to move some similar (but more colourful) tables belonging to a pre-school group down to this other room, releasing the church’s low tables for Ivor Ellard’s railway models. He was in the Dobell Room with four other exhibitors; the Penford Room contained the refreshments as well as John Gay’s model railway and other three exhibitors.

Models in the Dobell Room
Models in the Dobell Room
Visitors look at the club history
Visitors look at the club history

The entrance lobby was adorned once again by Tim Surtell’s eye-catching Meccano Show logo and, underneath, a roundabout from Adrian Ashford. Tim had also provided a short history of the club on a banner that was along one wall in the corridor. Printed on several sheets of paper, it made interesting reading and brought back some memories with its inclusion of photos and exhibition posters from the last 35 years.

We may not have had the largest number of visitors this year, but still managed 233 through the door (a good number!), and with the additional room full of models those that came certainly got their money’s worth!

We did quite well with gaining new members, with one joining on the day and another a couple of weeks later, and several people taking information away with them; quite a few of these were for children. One woman said to me that she thought her son would like to join our ‘Junior Section’ of the club! If only…

There was no newspaper coverage of the Show this year, but we did get the usual announcements in various local rags.


During the afternoon of the Show we intended to stage a ‘test event’ of a Meccano ‘Push-of-War’ contest. This had been suggested by Ralph Laughton and Chris Fry. Unfortunately Chris had to be rushed to hospital for emergency surgery the day before which meant it was not possible to run the contest. (When last seen at Hildenborough a week later he was making a good recovery).

The table allocated for the demonstration was just used to exhibit the two models that Ralph brought — different classes, so couldn’t compete against each other — and the model that Frank Paine brought which used large gears as wheels causing Ralph to worry that his table top might be damaged. Hopefully the event will be staged in 2012 when it will be part of our ‘MeccanOlympics’ competition.


Grateful thanks go to all members and visitors who turned up with models, and those who didn’t have a model but helped out anyway. Special thanks to Peter Clay for sorting out the rotas and looking after the money side of things.

Special thanks also to our three tea ladies, Cathy Warrell, Rosemary Warrell and Cathy Claydon who spent the whole day serving the various refreshments to the exhibitors and public alike.

Cathy Warrell, Rosemary Warrell and Cathy Claydon
Cathy Warrell, Rosemary Warrell and Cathy Claydon

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