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Heath Robinson Museum Meccano Workshop 2016

Brian Leach reports on a Meccano workshop at the William Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner on Tuesday 31st May organised by Mike Gleen of the West London Meccano Society:

I set off from my home in Eltham before 6:00 am on a gloomy day. I arrived in Pinner at 7:30 am, way before the start and so had a rest in my car. At just before 9:00 am we entered the building and met Claire Linge and Sophie Smith from the museum.

The Meccano men for the day were Peter Clay and Brian Leach from SELMEC; Mike Gleen, Matt Goodman, Raymond Raven and Peter Harwood from WLMS; and Charles Pappenheim who is not affiliated to any club.

Six tables were set up for the children. There were three children and one adult to a table. The adult would help the children with the model as needed.

The table layout at the museum
The table layout at the museum

The model to build was the 1957–61 No. 0 set Bucking Bronco, also featured in the 1970’s No. 1 set. This is probably the most difficult of the models in this set because it needs lock-nutting three times.

Mike had produced a single sheet showing a picture of how the finished model looked and extra diagrams of the three lock-nutting arrangements.

In my opinion those diagrams were not clear enough. On one it was not at all clear if there was one nut or two nuts together.

The children came in at about 10:00 am and were at first shown the models we had brought, and then it was on to building the horse.

They had about four hours to do it in and, not surprisingly, most of them did it a lot quicker than that. Times were about 40–90 minutes. The most trouble they had was the lock-nutting. Holding the model and tightening the nuts at the same time was difficult. I helped out sometimes.

The Bucking Bronco model
The Bucking Bronco model

We then had a sandwich lunch and, being so ahead of time, a load of Lego was placed on some tables and the children built two bridges and also other models. While they were doing this, all the adults went into the building works for the museum proper which is slated to open on 3rd September. There was a lot of work still to do. Once completed visitors will pay £6 to see Heath Robinson’s works.

Everything wrapped up shortly before 3:00 pm.

A few of the children had their models videoed on my camera carousel, which makes a 360° sweep of the model. They were all allowed to take their models home.

Mike, Matt and I retired to a pub and then went to Mike’s home for some pizza. Then just Mike and I went back to the museum where there was a Heath Robinson 141st birthday party. His grand-nephew cut the cake.

It was altogether a good day, and hopefully we will be invited back.

Models we showed were:

Peter Harwood's garden wasp trap
Peter Harwood's garden wasp trap

Raymond Raven's car chassis
Raymond Raven's car chassis

One of William Heath Robinson's many contraptions
One of William Heath Robinson's many contraptions


Museum information can be found at

» This article appeared in the Autumn 2016 issue of SELMEC News.

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