Nick's hand and bender...
...what else can I say?

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18th April 2009
The Magic of Meccano Show
at Kew Bridge Steam museum

This was our first time exhibiting at Kew although we did attended as visitors last year. What a magnificent venue! The display tables are distributed between the museum exhibits over several levels and in different parts of the museum, making it somewhat unique.

Mike Fallows replica of the Skyrider display model and who's that in the background?

Kew is relatively local to us being just 14½ miles by road, according to Tom, Tom and Jane (Jane is the irritatingly polite voice that ‘assists’ us navigate to Meccano shows). Anywhere else this would be a simple journey. In London it has to be a well planned assault on the ever increasing ‘We gotchya’  devices installed to extract money out of the road-legal driver. The Sat-Nav reckons the journey should take 45 minutes - maybe so at 4am on a Wednesday! We gave ourselves an hour and a half to make the trip - it took an hour and a quarter and we managed to avoid any  electronic snoopers - A wheel in the bus lane can cost you (at the last count) a £120.00 fine! That is a lot of Meccano…

On arriving at Kew we parked in the Museum’s car park to unload and then moved the car to our allotted car parking space a few hundred yards away. They also have allocated parking for vans - I must remember that.

Display models

We decided that we would show some our dealer display models. The star of our display being our newly refurbished crane that we believe to be a trade fair model built by the French factory to promote the special edition crane set. We were allocated a couple of tables in a side room along with some other displays including Frank Payne’s display of dealer models and other interesting Meccano collectables. Our models worked faultlessly all day and the crane, which is battery powered, ran for the whole day without needing a recharge -and it still seems to have lots of power left!

Sue paid the tables of Dave Taylor a visit and came away with a set of the new Meccano Micro kits. Another joint sortie on the stand of Mike Rhoades netted an Electronic control set from the 'seventies and four more Elektrikit bulbs… You have to be quick to get in before Sue!  Mike also had a nice selection of other rarities for sale on his stand.

Lots of goodies for sale on Mike Rhoades stand

We also collected A dealer display ripe for refurbishment from our good friend, fellow TIMS member and king of the Meccanograph; Mike Fallows. (when you have finished reading this you can go and have a look at the website he runs for the NWMG. Sue will tell  you where to find his site later - can’t have you running off too soon.

The museum fills quickly and there is a good buzz about the place as exhibitors and visitors mingle and discuss their models. Sue was off with her box brownie and magnesium flash making the unsuspecting exhibitors blink.


What I saw

While his nibs was talking cranes, I left him in charge of my replica Ferris wheel and the other models and went off and took a few photographs to show you what was around. I first came upon Mike Fallows display with his replica of the Skyrider dealer display model that he build following the one we now have for restoration - Thanks Mike! (see header photograph) He was also showing his fantastic meccanographs off. Just behind Mike, hands on hips was Colin Bull. He had the railway crane that I shot at the TIMS meeting in February but at least this time he and Ralph did not spend the day discussing cranes or funicular railways - Oh sorry Colin, I said I would not mention that! Just to the side of Mike's display was a super tower crane built by Brian Elvidge.


Peter Goddard's models

A wonder off to have a look at Mike Rhoades stand is always interesting with lots of unusual goodies for sale, yes it was me that bought all the bulbs - again. Back to the models and I found Peter Goddard’s model of the Sunderland and Wear blocksetter and his festinating Rushton-Holt Tractor - a combination of all sorts of parts including plastic and replica bits made a very interesting model. David Collins’ Live steam shovel featured a very nice working steam engine.

Live steam shovel

Downstairs I found Eddie Oatley’s 0-6-0 tank loco, no sign of Eddie, probably chin wagging with Nick Rodgers somewhere… Back upstairs again only to find His Nibs discussing bending machines with Nick… no sign of Eddie.

Eddie's 0-6-0

I couldn’t pass Chris Bourne’s Meccano jigsaw without getting a couple of shots. There was a nice little beam engine built by Roy Pickering that caught my eye and although Darren was looking at something else, I had to have a shot of his immaculate blocksetter. Darren also had his latest model of a William Forster 7HP Traction engine ( I read the label!). 

Meccano jigsaw

A very nice beam engine in DBDY

Darren Bonner's latest model looks good in all silver

There was lots more to see, some old and some new models it was an enjoyable day and the time just disappeared. before I knew it, we were all packed up and on our way home. Although this is a two day event we could only attend for one day due to pressure of work.

Finally, Ralph asked me to give you the website address for Mike Fallows North West Meccano Guild site, so click HERE and I'll give you a lift over there.


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Brian Elvidge's tower crane
Darren and his blocksetter