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Whatever happened to Hursley?


Guest jonte
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Dear All

 

Sincerest apologies if I've posted this on the wrong site but not quite sure where else to post it.

 

I've often wondered what happened to that nemesis of railway modelling - 'Hurley' by Martyn Welch - a very subjective matter I know but in my humble opinion it is :) - Although I didn't get to see it in the flesh, the photographs in MRJ and Railway Modeller looked absolutely fantastic (the poster accompanying the MRJ article bore the legend....'This is a model railway'). I recall its creator stating that he intended to exhibit only once due to the effort involved in disassembling/reassembling it so I think it safe to say it's no longer on the exhibition circuit. Shame really as I'd travel the length and breadth of the country to see it!

 

I'm aware from articles in the media that Mr. Welch is a regular attender at exhibitions with his modelling surgery, so I'm wondering whether anyone's discussed it with him and can therefore shed some light on its whereabouts?

 

It would be satisfying to know that it's still extant (or otherwise :( ).

 

Hoping someone can help,

 

Jonte :)

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nemesis

 

? I think you meant something else there ;)

 

the poster accompanying the MRJ article bore the legend....'This is a model railway'). I recall its creator stating that he intended to exhibit only once

 

Oddly enough, that poster (mounted) is on the wall by my desk barely a foot from this keyboard.

 

I think it was exhibited only once, at the MRJ show, with the now legendary 'queue within a queue' to get to see it for a couple of minutes. I was lucky enough to do so and to get some passable video footage at the time.

 

As far as I know it was sold privately not long after.

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? I think you meant something else there ;)

 

 

 

Oh you pedant, sir!!!! ;)

 

All my jottings are tongue in cheek I'm afraid - in my mind's eye, Mr. Welch is a hypothetical opponent, whom I fear I shall never surpass (as I haven't built a layout myself i'm not even in a position to equal him!!!). No harm in dreaming.

 

Thanks for replying.

 

Jonte :)

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Oh you pedant, sir!!!! ;)

I think a suitable description for 'Hursley' could be 'pinnacle of modelling'. Despite having been 20 years ago (and that in itself is no reason for a model not to be of superlative quality), it remains one of my favourites.

 

Apart from the MRJ article, there are a few photos of it and it's stock in Martyn's book 'The Art of Weathering'.

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Guest jim s-w

Never saw it I am afraid

 

Nor the MRJ exhibition. Those sound like exciting times from talking to those who were there. I wonder if such a show could ever happen again and perhaps more importantly are there a new generation of layouts good enough for it?

 

Yeah RTR is much much better these days but (and this is a big BUT) are the layouts?

 

Cheers

 

Jim

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Thanks All for your contributions.

 

As a last resort, have written to Mr. Welch directly. Shall apprise you of any results.

 

Best wishes,

 

Jonte.

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Hursley was there and IIRC, the queue to get anywhere near it was about half an hour.

 

That was the mother of all shows that one!

 

 

Same for me. I saw the queue for the queue and gave up. That's as close as I got to seeing this fabulous watershed layout in the flesh.

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I waited about half and hour to climb the stage and see Hursley and its team of operators in their white coats. Was it worth the extra wait? Of course! It was simply fantastic model making but I DO think the photographs published did it justice. That show was certainly amazing: for me it was the small part of Peter Denny's Buckingham GC and Chipping Norton that I spent most of my time in front of. In fact I must have spent two hours in front of Chipping Norton. I couldn't believe how beautiful its was, how perfect, yet how small and again like Hursley it worked faultlessly.

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I travelled to London to go to the MRJ show, which was for the time a complete contrast to the normal local shows that we were forced to endure. The Hursley phenomenon and the long queue of admirers reminded me of the lines of mourners shuffling past some dead Soviet leader. (for younger members Google USSR!). It was simply the most sensational model I had ever seen.

 

I thought it had been sold so it will be interesting to see if it is still in existence and if it can be tracked down. Wouldn't it be good to have these iconic layouts all on display in one place?

 

j

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I went to that show too. I still have the programme, and you get a better view of the layouts in that than you did at the show! I queued to see Hursley as it had recently been in the Modeller. After that I gave up and left. I felt claustrophobic, and that the venue was dangerously overcrowded.

 

Yes, I'd love to see that line-up again, but in a larger venue and/or with a limit on the numbers allowed in at any one time.

 

I've just had a thought. David Cheeseplant of this parish not only runs the best exhibition in an excellent venue, but he has links with Wild Swan, and hence MRJ. How's about it David? Should we start a petition?

 

Ed

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I remember the post show MRJ editorial and letters. A general theme was how crowded but how amazing and not to be repeated etc etc. However, I do feel 20 years later perhaps we are ready for another similar exhibition but as noted in a better environment. If London, Ally Pally perhaps?

 

Perhaps the thread/topic to start is which 20 – 30 classic layouts would you invite for a second MRJ show given that the last 20 years has seen so many new layouts created although I suspect Hursley would still be regarded in awe.

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I went to that show too. I still have the programme, and you get a better view of the layouts in that than you did at the show! I queued to see Hursley as it had recently been in the Modeller. After that I gave up and left. I felt claustrophobic, and that the venue was dangerously overcrowded.

 

Yes, I'd love to see that line-up again, but in a larger venue and/or with a limit on the numbers allowed in at any one time.

 

I've just had a thought. David Cheeseplant of this parish not only runs the best exhibition in an excellent venue, but he has links with Wild Swan, and hence MRJ. How's about it David? Should we start a petition?

 

Ed

 

I also went and saw Hursley - very nice. But a mess of an exhibition, and no we couldn't do it again - the H&S police wouldn't permit it. As an exhibition space it was poor - I have a vague memory of a tiny strip alongside Hursley which was nigh on impossible to move through - but my memory could well be at fault. From memory there was a lot of comment at the time that nostalgia wasn't what it was!

 

Having been to Wakefield on Sunday I suspect there were as many good layouts there as there were at the MRJ and a nice airy well lit hall which was easy to get around.

 

Paul Bartlett

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I agree with Ed. The MRJ exhibition was grossly overcrowded but on balance I'm glad I went along because it was definitely a show out of the ordinary. I did queue for Hursley for what seemed like ages before I got five minutes in front of it. A superb model by any standards, so I hope it's still in existence and operational.

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I waited in the queue to get in, and then in the queue to climb up the steps of the little gantry see Hursley and IMHO it was worth the wait (and it has been my inspiration ever since) quality, pure quality.

Funnily enough, I also still have the special issue of MRJ, the Program and my entry ticket as souvenirs.

 

In a strange sort of way I am glad I went but I would never do it again, it was nice to actually see the layouts that I had read about over the years but the exhibition itself was horrendous and I agree with the comments above re HSE, that that many people would never be allowed (nor would want to be I guess) to congregate in such a small area today.

 

Still, I have the memory of the good bits and that will do for me.

 

regards

Stewart

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I got to the show and got to see Hursley for an all too short period. I don't think the layout was just the “pinnacle†of railway modelling, I think the whole show was. After the event, I think there was a period were the quality of exhibition layouts fell, I am glad to say that they have now recovered. Perhaps it was that after the event, some of the modellers involved, turned to writing, rather than produce models.

 

I think the hobby is ready for a “showcase exhibition†and it would be interesting to see what layouts Rmweb'ers would like to invite.

 

 

 

 

Gary

 

 

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I've just had a thought. David Cheeseplant of this parish not only runs the best exhibition in an excellent venue, but he has links with Wild Swan, and hence MRJ. How's about it David? Should we start a petition?

 

Ed

 

 

I don’t think Paul at Wild Swan has any plans for an MRJ show number two, remember the MRJ show was a response to the lack of decent finescale shows and the dubbing down of IMREX, When I become exhibition manager of Railex it was built on the same ideas of the MRJ show with finescale quality layouts and trade, although I have to keep the standards up year after year rather than do it just once.

 

I can assure you hopefully you will see layouts at future Railex that have been booked via Wild Swan! But it does raise the point what layouts would you like to see in future.

 

David

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I was only 4/5 at the time of this show so obviously a bit young for it though I now have a copy of the special MRJ in my collection.

 

I do like the shots of Hursley and its a great layout.

 

The show and the special nature of the layout probably wouldn't work as well in 2010 though I feel as after that watershed standards of modelling have risen allowing shows like Railex and Wigan as well as the specialist shows to fit in more of that sort of quality.

 

 

Btw talking of MRJ, layouts and shows haven't you got the MRJ build 0 gauge layout tracked down to appear at Railex David? (Can't remember what its called now but it was for sale on eBay last year!)

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