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Crossness Pumping Station Model Engineering Day 2013

Report by Peter Clay

Nine intrepid exhibitors turned up to this display, on a fairly hot day. It was my first time here; I found the working beam engine — all three stories of it — very impressive. Crossness has a functioning sewage processing plant, as we were made aware of when the wind was in the right (wrong?) direction!

To start with — exhibitors and models:

Allen Berman had a four-wheeled robot controlled by a computer program. Visitors were impressed by its facility to travel forwards, backwards, sideways or diagonally, or to spin on its axis. His SMEE Rover 1 also impressed, running on tracks and able to sense obstacles. He also showed the SML railed steam excavator powered by a live steam engine he had built himself.

Allen Berman demonstrates his robot
Allen Berman demonstrates his robot

Douglas Windibank brought his usual immaculate display in contemporary colours, comprising Everglade one man hovercraft; Meccano multimodels set motorcycle; Dragster from a set from the 1990's; Meccano multimodel fork lift truck; three-wheeled motor scooter; Renault F1 racing car, as issued by Renault.

Guy Loveridge displayed an entire train. A diesel locomotive pulled a flat wagon, coal wagon and tank wagon. The track was 3½" gauge.

Alan Wenbourne demonstrated his Heatherwick Rolling Bridge.

Brian Elvidge brought a marine engine, and a steam power plant designed by Andreas Konkoly. To complete his display he showed a 25 pounder gun, limber and tractor in khaki Multikit livery.

Frank Paine had, as usual, a complete exhibition. The 10 set motorcycle engine worked at the push of a button, with lights showing the firing sequence. His SML 1 car chassis and Tower Bridge were also working, as was his steam engine. A factory built display model with lights drew the eye, and a display of vintage Meccano sets added historical interest.

Frank Paine's Meccano display
Frank Paine's Meccano display

Tim Surtell provided hands-on amusement with his "Lightning Leap" game. His Spanish Knight made an attractive display model. He also had a maraca from a SELMEC challenge.

Ralph and Sue Laughton brought a display big wheel. A saw bench with genuine Circular Saw Blade (watch those fingers!) was powered by equally genuine 1929 Steam Engine. A mini motorbike and figures set off their display.

John Gay and Cathy Claydon collaborated as follows. John showed a working model of an early beam engine with parallel link motion, electrically driven at the push of a button. Also, a working model of a road sweeping lorry from May1952 MM. Drive ran from electric motor to rear wheels and road cleaning brush. Cathy showed an armoured car in red and green with plastic road wheels, built from 1950's set 6 manual. Also her lovely ambulance in army green based on an Austin K2/Y 2 ton army ambulance, built from 1940-1945.

Models by John Gay and Cathy Claydon
Models by John Gay and Cathy Claydon

Peter Clay had as his main model a Meccanograph "Super Universal Design Maker" based on a Konkoly model in a much enlarged frame with an enhanced range of design variables. It kept the public amused churning out designs. Peter also had some small models - a tricycle cart, small Xtreme car and "pinhole lens" magnifying glass and railway crane.

So much for the models — what about "front of house"?

All the tables were well set out, with posters about our club and October exhibition. Our club banner was hung up. It's so easy at an exhibition to see as we are, "backstage." Of course, we can all take credit as exhibitors for what the public saw from the front — but what about "behind the scenes?" Nothing just happens — it takes a lot of work from people who deserve to be credited. In this respect I shall mention Tim Surtell, Ralph and Sue Laughton, Frank Paine and Chris Warrell who came for a couple of hours and helped set up. To this list I must add Brian Elvidge, who gave Douglas and myself lifts to and from the station. In addition Ralph took my heavy Meccanograph in his van, making it possible to exhibit it.

Furthermore several visitors turned up from SELMEC and West London Meccano Society to visit us. Unfortunately, I did not get all their names, but their support was much appreciated.

There were also model railways, ships and "real" (live steam) locomotives and road locomotives — one was being steamed up outside — as well as bookstalls (one with issues of Meccano Magazine for sale).

All in all, a good day to which our club contributed, flying the flag for the hobby as well as ourselves, and attracting interest from visitors, fellow exhibitors and museum staff alike. A tip here — wear your club badge! One of the staff asked me who we were and I was able to point them in our direction.

» This article appeared in the September 2013 issue of SELMEC News.

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