Nostalgia: Do you know origins of model railway club?

Some of the club's member back in 2011
Some of the club's member back in 2011

HELP is needed with putting together details on the history of a local Model Railway Club.

Despite its title, the Liphook and District Model Railway Club – which will be celebrating its 50th birthday next year – has been based in the Milland Valley for half its life.

Luke Cawley. seven, gets a close-up view of the model railway in action. Hollycombe steam collection, Liphook

Luke Cawley. seven, gets a close-up view of the model railway in action. Hollycombe steam collection, Liphook

Treasurer Tony Bettger wants the help of Down Memory Lane readers in researching its early origins.

He writes: As part of our celebrations we are intending to compile a short history of the club and present copies 
to local history archives in 
the area.

The club was originally called the Petersfield, Liphook, Liss and District Model Railway Club, but the title was changed to that still current, sometime before 1966.

The year the club was formed was quite auspicious in the model railway world as it was the year Meccano Limited, the original makers of the construction toy, plus Dinky Toys, Hornby and Hornby Dublo model trains, was put into liquidation

Members of the Liphook and District Model Railway Club

Members of the Liphook and District Model Railway Club

We do not know with any certainty whose idea it was to found the club or when and where the first meeting was held, although there is a club myth to suggest the first was held in, heaven forbid, a member’s house in Petersfield. An early photograph is of a meeting at a member’s home in The Close, Gunn’s Farm, Liphook.

We know that one or more of the early members were among the first 200 members of the Gauge 0 Guild founded in 1956 to save 1:43rd scale (0 gauge) modelling from extinction in the UK. The guild now has a membership of more than 5,000 with similar organisations, formed later, in Germany and France.

All the early meetings were in members’ houses and it appears the club’s first official regular meeting place was in a pavilion in the grounds of The Royal Anchor Hotel in Liphook. Lots of other buildings followed in subsequent years and we 
are now ensconced in the relative comfort of the committee room of the Milland Valley Memorial Hall.

Can we ask for your readers’ help in ascertaining further information on the club’s history? Have any got photographs, press articles or recollections of club layouts exhibited at local model railway shows put on by the club or by others or maybe they have saved programmes giving details of layouts exhibited?

We would like to borrow these items for a short time, scan them and return them to the owner.

You can find more information on the club at www.millandvalleyrailway.co.uk –we have a section called Club Memories which is a portion of the info we have gathered so far.

If you have any items which could help the club with its recollections, send them to 
Mr Bettger at Pennels Lodge, Rake Road, Milland, Liphook, GU30 7JS.