Bath Railway Society

Brake Van outing Evercreech Junction 26th September 1959 Society visit to Bass Worthington Brewery, Burton-on-Trent 21st May 1960 How it all began - Swindon Works outing

The following is gleaned from the book ‘The Bath Railway Society - A brief history’ by Fred Lawrance OBE who was Chairman from October 1961 to September 1970

The Beginnings                                        

Following several enjoyable outings to Swindon works by groups of railway enthusiasts living in Bath an informal meeting was held at the Midland Hotel on 24th April 1957 to discuss the formation of a Railway Society.  Twelve gentlemen attended and apologies for absence were received from two others. An initial meeting to set up a temporary committee and consider the activities of the Society was subsequently held on 9th May.  The first general meeting was held on 30th May 1957 at which the title “Bath Railway Society” was decided on and it was agreed that regular monthly meetings would be held at the Midland Hotel.

How it all began - Swindon Works outing.  Ron Hurst founder secretary third from left

Photo Ivo Peters

The first permanent committee elected by the Society included:

Chairman:Mr P J Williams

Secretary:Mr R Hurst

Treasurer:Mr R W Croft

Members: Messrs. T R Hopping and R G Thomas

O S Nock the well known railway writer accepted the honorary office of President of the Society, a position he held until his death in 1994.

The committee then met on 20th June and drew up a programme of events for the rest of the year.  The first programme card indicates the close affinity the Society held with the Somerset & Dorset Railway and that railway luminaries such as Kenneth Leech were invited in its first year to speak to the Society.

Brake Van outing Evercreech Junction 26th September 1959:  Photo Ivo Peters

Notable Members

In Fred Lawrance’s introduction to his book he notes the varied background and professions of the founders: a clergyman, a schoolmaster, a member of the Press, two civil servants, a businessman who was an eminent railway photographer, two professional engineers who were keen railway modelers, and a retired professional railwayman.

Putting names to some of these indicates the pedigree of membership the Society has held since its inception.   They included a trio of notable photographers: Ivo Peters, Norman Lockett and Rev Alan Newman; Guy Williams of Pendon fame and Harold Morris who was shedmaster at Green Park locomotive depot.  The Society can also claim to have subsequently elected a Vice Chairman who had travelled in a Great Western broad gauge train!

Following O S Nock’s death in 1994, David Shepherd CBE, FRSA, FRGS, OBE became President of the Society.   Our Vice President is Pete Waterman OBE.

Eminent Speakers

From the earliest beginnings of the Society it has welcomed eminent speakers on railway matters.  In Fred Lawrance’s book he recalls presentations  given by distinguished speakers such as Cecil J Allen,  C Hamilton Ellis, T W E Roche, Bill Hoole, Teddy Boston and also Richard ‘Dick‘ Hardy, who presented The Hardy Annual each year from his first visit in March 1961 to 1976.  The Society has also been blessed with a wealth of home grown talent and in addition to the notable members referred above should be included the likes of Kenneth Leech, Hugh Ballantyne, Colin Maggs and Russell Leitch.This tradition continues to this day and our current programme can be found on the Programme page of this website.

Society visit to Bass Worthington Brewery, Burton-on-Trent 21st May 1960:

Photo Ivo Peters

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