Cheltenham Model Railway Exhibitions

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Cheltenham GWR Modellers Group

GWR Modellers Group held its first model railway exhibition in October 1987 in the Holy Apostles Church Hall, Cheltenham. Ten layouts took part. Thereafter exhibitions were held at first every other year (alternating with exhibitions promoted by a Cheltenham 3mm group) and then annually. More recently, exhibitions have been held twice yearly, in April and October, and on two occasions a third exhibition has taken place.

GWR Modellers Group was started in 1974, when it rented a basement room in Lansdown Crescent. In October 1977, new premises were provided and a garage was converted into a clubroom. Space restrictions, however, were always a problem, which limited the number of members. In 1993/4 it was decided that the club should fold.

However, because of the success of its exhibitions, it was decided to continue to organise these in order to display other people's layouts and to benefit the charity CLIC. The exhibitions continue, under the direction of Secretary, Mike Walker.

Mike Walker's recollections of the first exhibition

It must have been around 1985 or 1986 that four of us were returning home after visit ing a small model railway exhibition in Evesham. From memory there were about half a dozen layouts and a couple of traders in a church hall.

"I am sure with all our contacts we could do something similar" I said. At that time there was an exhibition organised by the three millimetre Society held every two years in Cheltenham which alternated with the Gloucester Model Railway Club having theirs in Barnwood.

It was agreed to set a date for our very first show - 31st October 1987, Gloucester Club were happy as long as it did not coincide with their weekend.

Our exhibition was held at Holy Apostles church hall in London Road there were ten layouts, one of which was the legendry Hayley Mills, there were four traders plus Cheltenham Society of Model Engineers providing live steam rides outside.

Unfortunately mid-morning the heavens opened and the wind was so bad local radio were advising people only to venture out if absolutely necessary.

However despite all of this we still had 600 people through the door. We made a healthy profit and as the saying goes the rest is history.


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