Painting above show
The Manor House in 1951 under renovation, before becoming
used by Solihull clubs including Solihull Model Railway.
Early Club History
It was 92 years since Charles Darwin wrote the 'Origin of Species'. Queen Victoria had died 50 years earlier and it was 39 years since the sinking of the Titanic. Ernest Rutherford split the atom 34 years earlier and the first Labour government came to power 27 years ago. John Logie Baird invented television and A. A. Milne wrote 'Winnie the Pooh' 26 years before and women over 21 were given the vote 23 years earlier. The Second World War had ended 6 years ago, the National Health Service had started 3 years earlier and King George VI was on the throne. It was the year of the Festival of Britain and one hundred years since the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. It would be 12 more years before William Hartnell as Doctor Who hit the British screens, 15 before fellow William, the Canadian Mr. Shatner, starred as James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek. 18 years would pass before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Britain was about to see another important event...
The club was formed between October and December 1951, following a letter published in the October 1951 Model Railway News from R.W. Mewett of Knightsbridge Road, Olton, Solihull. In the December 1951 edition of MRN, Mr. R. Smith of Highwood Avenue, Olton, Solihull, the Honourary Secretary of the newly formed Solihull and District Model Railway Club, wrote to explain that the club had been formed as a result of Mr. Mewett's letter and that Mr. Mewett had become the club President.
In the Model Railway Constructor of December 1952, a letter from the club was published saying that they met every alternate Thursday evening at 7:30pm at the Manor House in Solihull. They had built a test track to 4mm scale in 16.5mm gauge that worked in 2-rail or 3-rail format and were adding scenery with a view to display at future exhibitions. They were holding a social evening on the 18th December for friends and were showing an exhibition of models and photographs. Prospective new members were invited to contact the Honourary Secretary, Mr. R. Smith.
In the MRC of July 1953, a letter says that the club was visited on June 11th by Mr. Prosser of the Tal-y-Llyn Railway Preservation Society who gave a lecture and film show about the railway. A visit to Mr. Woodward's layout in Handsworth had been arranged for the 25th of June. A meeting was planned for the 20th November when there were to be 10 minute talks from members and a 'track night'. Another meeting was planned for the 4th December which was to involve preliminary work for the meeting to be held on the 18th of December which was to be a social evening for friends and an exhibition of models and photographs. Potential new members were invited to contact the Honourary Secretary, now P.M. Downes of Dene Court Road, Olton, Solihull.
N.B. The club has only just begun its research into its early history and has much reference material still to examine and write up. The Secretary wishes to apologise for his obsession with science fiction and general silliness and would like to add that the views expressed are entirely personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the club members who are mostly sensible and well-balanced individuals.