Ramsbottom Model Railway Club’s Officials are as follows:-
Chairman :- Alan Garside
Treasurer :- Keith Cragg
Secretary :- Daniel Jones
Members :- Harry Dennis, Adrian Hall, Reece Hunt, Alex King, Mark Towers and Roger Wilson(R.I.P)
Ramsbottom Model Railway Club was established in the Summer of 1978 by four local postmen who thought it would be a good idea to try and get people with similar interests to come together and try and form a group. In doing so an advert was placed in the Bury Times News Paper and Ramsbottom Library looking for other people to form a model railway club.
An early photograph of members during an open day in 1993, From Left to Right :- Ron Anderton, Brian Morris (RIP), Roy Clarkson, Ray Price and Harry Dennis.
The first meeting was held in our chairman Alan Garside’s house in Ramsbottom in September 1978 with his back room full of people interested in joining together to form the club. It was here that Alan Garside spoke up and said that they should base the layout on Ramsbottom as it where they all mostly lived and was easy enough to get to for information and research without the need to travel very far.
The first AGM was held on the 12th September 1978 where 12 members were present. At this AGM the election of officers were chosen. The first chairman was to be Harry Dennis who is still a member to this day and was one of the founding members, Secretary was Norman Piper, Treasurer was to be Alan Garside who is now our chairman. Other items that came up at the first AGM was the Subscription rates ( which were £5 per annum plus 50p per week), Membership (The need for more members), Rent (at the time the club rented the building and were trying to agree a rent fee), Meetings (It were agreed that the club would hold weekly meetings of Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm), Publicity and Information(They had agreed to contact the Bury Times to get an article published and also contact the Ramsbottom Historical Society), Layout (A draft layout plan was produced by Adrian Hall and that he could get hold of baseboards to start building) and Administration (A bank account was opened to which the subscriptions could be placed in, to make a constitution and rules and to produce a list of members).
Our first club house was based in the attic of the Old Stubbins School located on Bolton Road North in Stubbins Village during December 1978 but 3 months later the school was sold and was due to be demolished when Harry Dennis came across our present home at the Old Patmos Hall on Bury New Road. (see below)
Left and Right :- Peel Brow with the junction of Bury New Road taken around 1930 and 2011 with the Old Patmos Church in the centre. Notice the houses and shops that are no longer around today.
This building was the old Sunday school to the church of the same name that was located on the corner of Peel Brow and Bury New Road but for some reason this building didn’t follow the church which was demolished in the 1970′s. The Club was able to purchase the building outright due to the members and friends all helping to collect waste paper and take it down to the local paper mill which at that time paid people for waste paper. This building must be over 100+ years old as has been owned by the club for the last 30+ years. The building has a small porch which houses the electricity cupboard and storage space for our open day signs. The main room has the layout which takes up most of the space but have had 30+ people in there at one time (17-08-2010), This room also has the brew making facilities, a sink, work stations and more storage space around the back and under the layout. In the north west corner of the building is the most important part of the building…..the toilet.
Ever since then members have come and gone, some going onto better things and some even returning for a second stint (Dan and Alex). Members came from all walks of life most were postmen but have had Firemen, Students, an electrician, a computer technician, a teacher and even a salesman!
Current Members taken in 2009, From left to right :-Daniel Jones (Secretary), Alan Garside (Chairman), Adrian Hall, Roger Wilson(R.I.P), Alex King, Keith Cragg (Treasurer).
We currently have 5 members which a usual turn out of 4 members during a Thursday evening. We are always looking to recruit more members to help us maintain and run the layout on a regular basis. Our age range varies from 16 – 60+ so we don’t have any limits.
If you would like to pay us a visit and see if you would like to join then get in touch or just turn up one Thursday Evening. We are a very warm and friendly group and are so laid back that we could fall over.
We are based in Ramsbottom about 2 minutes from Ramsbottom Train Station and have our meetings every Tuesday and Thursday 7.30 till 11pm
On the 17th August 2010 we held our first Open Evening for more than 15 years. This was partly to do with the completion of our extension of the layout which now shows the industrial side in Ramsbottom on Kenyon Street including Mills, Factories and Terrace Houses.
A video showing visitors during the open evening 17-08-2010
A video showing visitors during the last open evening 20-10-2011
Over 30 people turned up who were greeted to steam hauled services to Ramsbottom from Accrington, Bury and Rawtenstall all calling at Ramsbottom and Stubbins Stations. Tea, Coffee, Biscuits and Cakes were provided for all who attended. All in all I would of said it was a great success judging by peoples faces and the donations we received. Also all the thank you letters that i received by email and by person just made the whole event worth while.
We are planning to hold another one during a steam event so watch this space!!
We have also been in the local papers not just in the early 1980′s but also recently as well with 3 local papers all within 3 weeks of each other.
We have also had a photographer turn up and do a full days shoot from Model Rail Magazine, We are just waiting for it to appear in the magazine…..to which it did appear in Model Rail edition 162 (October/November 2011)
RAMSBOTTOM MODEL RAILWAY CLUB – HISTORY IN MINIATURE
Ramsbottom Model Railway Club began in August 1978 with an idea from colleagues at work with a mutual interest in model railways. A notice was displayed in the Library and in early September twelve enthusiasts met at the house of one of the proposers. After a lengthy discussion it was decided to form the Ramsbottom Model Railway Club with a view to building a model layout of Ramsbottom and a Committee was duly elected.
At this stage we had a Club with a Committee and a purpose but no premises. Over the next few weeks a number of options were discussed and investigated but proved fruitless. Then it was discovered that a room was available at Stubbins Church, but unfortunately it was in the roof of the Church. However, after taking some measurements it was decided to accept and planning began.
The original idea of a model of Ramsbottom from Nuttall Tunnel to Stubbins was discovered to be rather an ambitious project. In fact to model this distance in the scale of 1 inch to 1 foot would require a length of some 40 feet (our room was roughly 18 feet at the most). However, by using a little “modellers licence”, we were able to condense the layout and by making the model triangular we were able to fit in the major details. This enabled us to form storage sidings at the rear, giving us continuous running. Fortunately, one of our members had a certain amount of experience in building model railways and was able to advise us as we proceeded to construct our layout.
Space in our loft was limited and access was difficult, so it was with relief that we discovered an alternative venue at Patmos Church Hall. A meeting was arranged with the Trustees and an agreement was reached on tenancy. Some work was necessary to make the building habitable and acceptable for our needs and finally, in December 1978, we moved premises and this has been the home of the model railway for the last 12 years. The size of the building enabled us to enlarge our original plan and work began once again on the construction of the layout.
We appealed through the local press for photos and memories of the Railway and its adjoining buildings and area, but it was found that very little was available. Because little had changed in the area around Stubbins which we were to model, a start was made there from photos taken by members. Ramsbottom station and surrounding area proved more difficult, but with the help of some old photographs in the Ramsbottom booklets published by Tower Press, the recollections of some of our members and a cine film of the demolition of the station, gradually things began to take shape. It was not until 1980 that the first phase of the model was operational and since that date alterations and modifications have been continually taking place.
The layout was designed in sections with the long term view of exhibiting at other venues and in our earlier years we staged fund raising Open Days at St. Paul’s school. We also went along to St. Andrew’s Spring Fair in 1984 andon one memorable occasion we were invited to Bleakholt Spring Fair where we shared a stable with a braying donkey – what a hilarious experience that was!
After long consultations with the Patmos Trustees over the next few years we were finally given the opportunity to purchase the building. In 1983 work ceased on the layout for some months whilst more repair and maintenance was done on the premises.
During the period of our existence we have had numerous members, sometimes as many as 30 adults and juniors together on one evening. Present membership stands at nine adults and one junior member. Three of the adults are founder members. Although we try to encourage juniors, many of them soon realise that joining the model railway club is not just a night out playing with trains.
There are many skills attached to railway modelling which some youngsters find boring and sometimes complicated. The skills which can be taught include design and planning for baseboard construction which also includes joinery and basic carpentry; electrics and simple electronics; modelling skills for making buildings and rolling stock; and artistic ability for painting and finishing the models. Trains can be kept running by two people but need a minimum of five people to operate at Exhibition times. Trains are run to a programme which is a series of moves (43 in all) involving all locomotives on the layout at some time. This ensures something moving at all times on the tracks and typifies some of the standard moves which would normally have taken place. The whole operation takes 90 minutes from start to finish by which time each train is back to where it started and the whole process begins again.
At the time of compiling this account we are negotiating with the Bury Metro Tourist Board with a view to becoming part of the Ramsbottom tourist industry. Should this become a reality then the Railway Club will probably be open on Sundays, Market days and other occasions when we have sufficient members available. In addition to being a local society whose story is of interest in its own right, the Model Railway also preserves, in miniature form, an important part of Ramsbottom’s heritage.
Harry Dennis, Vice Chairman, RMRC
Written in Summer 1991 for the Ramsbottom Heritage Society