Dear All

The January meeting which opened up 2020 was witnessed by an excellent attendance of nearly 40 members and friends all were treated to a programme of high quality monochrome illustrations taken by a number of photographers whilst shed bashing around numerous depots scattered about the country in the 1950’s. Collated and presented by branch member Vic Drake this was therefore a production dedicated almost exclusively to the days of steam. Significantly the collection concentrated on locomotives of the smaller and more ageing varieties of workaday tank and freight engines originating from pre-grouping railway times. Big wheelers and namers were very much in the minority.

Much was seen of depots in the Northern territories of Yorkshire and Lancashire covering many of the sheds where locomotives of interest were to be found. Journeys into Scotland, the North East and Wales extended the variability of the motive power that was pictured. A number of visits to the works at Crewe, Doncaster and Darlington were to provide additional interesting sources of material and a sprinkling of engines from Southern and Western region sheds nicely complemented and expanded the range of the programme.

As a closing phase ot the evening the audience was shown pictures of Carlisle station and attendant movements taken during the rebuilding phase of the 1960’s. This then widened into the showing of illustrations depicting scenes from the North Western branches around Cumberland and Westmoreland plus a few colourful views of action on both Shap and the Settle & Carlisle railways.

Moving forward into the year the speaker for February’s meeting is to be Steve Armitage who will be presenting photographic recordings of scenes and action in the Calder Valley. As is usually the case with Steve his photographs go back decades illustrating much of steam day happenings stretching back into the 1930’s and earlier. Those from the early years will have been upgraded and given top quality treatment to be presented in the best possible light. Steve is an excellent restorer of old photographs and thus the programme is certain to be a thorough representation of railways in the Valley. It comes highly recommended. The meeting is scheduled for the evening of Thursday 20th February at our usual venue of Saltaire, commencing at 7.30pm.

A couple of weeks later, on the evening of 5th March, the Branch Annual General Meeting will take place at Saltaire, commencing at 7.30pm. I mention this now as there will not be much time to get the message across before the meeting takes place. Hopefully, with some luck, the business elements of the meeting not take up much time. That said there happens to be a vacant position on the Committee for which nominations are required. Nomination sheets will be at the February meeting and if anyone is willing to help out now is the time to step forward.

In conducting the after meeting entertainment it is not my intention to put the presentation of artefacts into the evening, at lease for this year, with the idea that this frees up more time for members’ presentations. I am now appealing for members to step forward and bring selections from their photographic collections to the meeting. A couple of members have already indicated that they have something for show but should anyone else be prepared to contribute would you please let me know at the next meeting.

Matters from HQ relate to the governance of the Society which is to be put to the membership at the 2020 AGM in Coventry. The proposal is that the Society be “governed” by a Board of Trustees as opposed to the Management Committee who, in conjunction with the Trustees, currently manages the operation. A change to the Rules is therefore necessary and the proposed changes will be circulated alongside the March RO. Totally unrelated to this change, which I fully support, please be aware that I am standing down as Society Secretary at this AGM.

Noted from within the details of the last Management Committee meeting is that the West Riding Branch has the highest number of members, 158. The area covered by the Branch is vast with not a change of a large number of members ever being able to attend Branch meetings in Saltaire!

As a final comment for this month, work is currently underway in setting up the Branch meeting programme for the 2020/2021 season. A number of presenters have already been lined up and have confirmed their willingness to partake in the programme. However until I am clear of the paperwork appertaining to the national AGM the finalisation of the programme will not happen as quickly as I would like. My apologies to all of you for this.

If anyone has any information or matter of interest for the members would you please let me know so that I can add the detail into this monthly newsletter.

With my kind regards


Last updated: 9th February