St.Albans and District Model Engineering Society

Jan 2023 Club Night Report

January 2023 club evening.

Our Chairman welcomed all to our film night also mentioning Peter and Bob as new members.  It was a horrible evening out, all wet and cold but it did not deter our members and the numbers are steadily growing.  I put my welcome hat on again and made sure I spoke to all our new ones and had a few conversations with the not so new.  Subs were paid and money taken by our Treasurer, it is so much easier now with the new card system that nearly half of our members had already paid.

Our projectionist for the evening, Frank Banfield, brought along and ran a small Sterling engine for our amusement while he set up his equipment.

We were called to order, there were some who wanted to know what films we were expecting, but it is always a mystery!  I found my seat next to Noel our longest serving club member and the lights were dimmed to a cheer from the cheaper seats.

Our entertainment began with 'The Dawn of Motoring'  a BP film about the evolution of the modern car from the early days of very crude steam carriages, through to the development of gas and petrol internal combustion engines. Then a British Transport Films  documentary about the wagons and rolling stock used for transporting raw and finished materials on the rail network. This was followed by a number of short Public Information Films and then a 'Quick Visit' to a metal foundry and crane manufacturer in the town of Letchworth.

The next short film was an amusing 'stop animation' film about urban sprawl starting from the bucolic image of John Constables Haywain which was gradually transformed into a nightmarish city landscape which we are all familiar with.

Come half time the lights came on and time for tea and biscuits, all ready and waiting for us, supervised by Jack and Neil.  Nice to see all relaxing and talking.  All too soon our Chairman called us back for part 2 and the lights were dimmed and back into the past we went.

My favourite was 'Night Mail' filmed on the overnight train to Edinburgh with the GPO postal service.  My dad was a Postman after he retired from a career in the Army and in my youth I was allowed in the sorting office in Kentish Town London NW5.  So I knew what was happening, I was told the night mail meant being on your feet the whole time and with the movement of the train quite tiring and you had to get a move on to keep up to the schedule.  But I love the part with John Betjeman reading from his own poem about the journey.

The final showing was a German  film "Um Das Blaue Band Der Schiene" about the building of a  very brutal looking but nevertheless very streamlined locomotive,  we all viewed it back to front, as it was meant for back projection, it was a bit confusing!  But interesting.

We ended with the lights going on and back to reality, our Chairman thanked Frank for bringing his films and clearing up started, my thanks as before to our workers who manhandle the chairs and tables back in place.  I had a few more conversations and a new member commented on how friendly the club members were, so a nice way to end the evening.

Roy Verrden. 12th Jan 2023