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Dave at Honley Tank

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Well, perhaps not quite as "Christmas" as it once was!, but it's back.


In history, Manchester Model Railway Society's annual show was held on the last full weekend before Christmas, at the Corn Exchange close to Victoria Station. Oh! what marvellous memories.


When the Corn Exchange became no longer available there was a move to the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology (UMIST),a lovely old building close to London Road Station (now Piccadilly). I made a lot of friends there over the years.


I think our exhibition manager was glad when we needed to leave that venue because the lower hall had a large number of support pillars that made for difficulty in designing the floor layout.


We were able to stay with Manchester University , and indeed the same campus but now in the Renold Building. Well named at the time because our well remembered member Sid Stubbs served his apprenticeship at Renold Chain  & Gear Co. I think that it was at the last show there that "our ladies" all calaborated and bought large lapel badges quoting "I hate model railways"; -it was a joke, honest.


I can't remember what caused the next move but after only two (I think?) shows at Renold Building we moved back again to the vicinity of Victoria Station and utilized the Co-op buildings there.


This was an excellent spot but to retain these halls for our show we were persuaded by the owners to move the date to the first weekend in December. Even so, we eventually lost the venue when the co-op decided on new premises and told us the halls would no longer be available.


The move to  the sports hall owned by Manchester University and located at Fallowfield proved to be very unpopular to visitors, - well away from the city centre and indeed local bus stops. It also took us to a date in October, well away from Christmas.  A great effort by many members failed to find a suitable venue and there were serious thoughts about ceasing to have an exhibition. Indeed last year, not willing to use the Fallowfield place again, and unable to find a new venue in time to organise a show, we went exhibition less.


This year we're back near to Christmas (5th & 6th December),

also back to the UMIST campus, (although I believe that that terminology is no longer used). Another famous engineer is recalled in the fact that the new venue is The Barnes Wallace Building. This campus is on the edge of the city centre and close to Piccadilly Railway and Metro Tram station. There's also £2.00 per full-day parking even closer than the station. (week-ends only).


OK! There's a few memories of the various locations for Manchester MRS exhibitions.. For those of you who have visited in the past what are your favourite memories of the show?  Those big trams? Those live steam, electric locos? Demonstrations of the Alex Jackson coupling on the end of John Langan's 'Presson'? Sid Stubbs beavering away on a lathe? Dewsbury  Midland?


You must have memories, and I suspect that you will have been inspired too; I certainly have been over the years.


Dave Booth at Honley Tank

Edited by Dave at Honley Tank
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I've been to about six shows in the past at the Co-op and Fallowfiled. I didn't think the latter had a very good atmosphere and was not the easiest place to get to. 


I have lots of memories of great layouts at the shows, too many to pick a specific one, but what struck me the other day looking back at my photos is the way that the bar has been raised in recent years. I don't know if I am more selective in the shows I go to these days but the overall quality of layouts seems consistently good and there are some excellent demonstrations around.


What I have noticed at some venues is that trade support from small suppliers doesn't seem as high. I know they have to be selective because of transport and stand costs and some find it better to concentrate on internet sales. Perhaps some way could be found of making a co-operative marketing effort as I look for things then when I see am glad I didn't buy blind and at other times I spot small bits and think that's just the bit I need to make Project X  look right.


The date is already marked on the calendar so all being well i will be visiting again this year.

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The first Manchester show I attended would have been around '72 or '73 when I went with some of my 'new' Wakefield clubmates.  Eric Gresty was, at the time, the Wakefield club chairman and he had been an active Manchester member before that so he always 'persuaded' people to go to the Manchester show.  My abiding memory of the show (in the Corn Exchange) was the statics/showcase where Tony Miles' 4mm scale Irish 4-4-0 chassis was on display - with all the fabulous inside motion on show.  I found it almost mind boggling, I'd never seen such craftsmanship before.  And when it was finished and 'Adavoyle' was on the circuit it ran as good as it looked.


I exhibited myself in UMIST with 'Preesgwyn' which appeared in the Model Railway Constructor that month (Dec '82 I think).  Cyril Freezer came over and asked me if it had appeared in any magazines yet as he wanted it for the Modeller.  He was a bit put out when I told him Steve Stratton had beaten him to it!  I wonder if he actually read 'the opposition'?

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My first visit to the "Christmas" show was as a new member of Mickleover club, someone had organised a coach party up from the Derby area in a snowy 1983.

I remember it was only the second time that Slades famous number had been released!

It was a great show followed by a walk around the museum, I remember the awe I felt walking along a "little" narrow gauge SA loco that was considerably bigger than anything on our rails!

Little did I know that in the future, I would move north, join the organising society and help to put on some of the recent shows.

Discussion about the current exhibition here: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/104647-the-christmas-model-railway-show-manchester-2015/?p=2076812

Looks like a proper Christmas 'Cracker'!


John E.

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I only vaguely remember going to the UMIST shows but visiting the building last year with one of my children brought back memories of the pillars and massive stone staircases that took you to the upper halls away from the main hall exhibition.


Used to like the Co-op for it's free parking late night or on a Sunday not to mention the volume of layouts it could consume.


Fallowfield was a bit of a letdown unless you like mixing model railways with football and hockey which always seemed to coincide with the exhibition making parking a nightmare.

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  • 8 months later...
This year we're back near to Christmas (5th & 6th December),also back to the UMIST campus, (although I believe that that terminology is no longer used). Another famous engineer is recalled in the fact that the new venue is The Barnes Wallace Building.

Do you mean Barnes_Wallis father of the bouncing bomb?

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