Train society’s bid to attract new members

Mr J G R Middleton, chairman of the South Shields Miniature Railway Socity  with members Joseph Long and Jim Robinson.
Mr J G R Middleton, chairman of the South Shields Miniature Railway Socity with members Joseph Long and Jim Robinson.

The recent picture spread featuring old photos of South Shields Miniature Railway Society members prompted the club’s honorary secretary to get in touch – with a plea to the public.

Jim Thompson said although the society is still going, it needs new blood, something which an open event, being held this weekend, is hoping to address.

“South Shields Model Railway Society is still in operation but now known as A19 Model Railway Club,” explains Jim.

“We are now operating at Jarrow Hall, Church Bank, Jarrow (aka Beds World) and meet twice a week on Monday and Thursday evenings.

“However, we are actively looking for new members, and as a result, are holding an open weekend in the exhibition hall at Jarrow Hall over the weekend of August 19 and 20.

“We would look forward to meeting the public and friends, old and new.”

The society’s website, a19modelrailwayclub.org, details the history of the organisation.

It reveals that the society, which was founded in the mid 50s, is one of the oldest model railway clubs in the North East.

“The club originally occupied the basement of Laygate Model shop (long since demolished).

“When Laygate was renovated we had to find new premises and moved to a room in the YMCA. After a short spell there, the club moved to the upper floors of the Old Customs House, at Mill Dam.

“In the late 60s, the club moved again to the Staiths Office, above the BRSA Railway Club, at Tyne Dock. These were great premises, but we had to leave when the BRSA closed. For over a year we had no permanent home. Finally the council offered us accommodation in Bolingbroke Hall, South Shields. This was our home for over 10 years. Unfortunately we had to leave Bolingbroke in 2000 as it was to be demolished.”

As mentioned earlier, the society eventually found it way to Jarrow.

“As to the original article itself, a number of the people shown, have long since died, but there are still a number of the younger people still members.

“In reference to Rippons, they did indeed stock model railway equipment as well as Scalextric.”