Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Henley Gathering 2014

It was that time again last weekend. Time to pack up the car and head west into the wilderness. To that historic place that hosted the great Meccano exhibitions of the1970s and 80s. The place that was also home to that shrine to Meccano; MW Models. Yes it was time for the Henley Gathering and the annual meeting of the Old Boilers, who incidentally, seem to be getting younger. That can only be a good sign!

The day began with an early start. The art of Henley is to get there before the car park becomes full. That is before 8:00 am. We made it to the car park in time and then took a leisurely stroll down to the cafe where a full English is super sized to a Grande Breakfast. If you click on it, you may recognise some of the Meccano people caught by that intrepid paparazzi photographer in this shot - don't worry we will get our own back later...

Owen and Geoff inspecting and running the old boilers of1914
Me, Tim and Chris messing with Tim's 2014 gas fired engine
This and the cafe photograph by Richard Payne   
As usual the weather ordered earlier on in the week arrived and another fine day graces the proceedings. This is important at Henley as the annual gathering of 'Old Boilers' can only proceed if the weather is fine. This year we had a good gathering of Boilers both young (ish) and old. The real old boilers with their 1914 engines were made up of Geoff Brown and founder of this most enjoyable sub-event, Owen Roberts. they were having fun with some other old  engines as well as Roelf Valkema had brought his old boiler all the way from Holland to steam it here at Henley.

Chris Instone, Tim Gant, Richard Payne and myself making up the youngsters were happy playing with Tim's recently finished gas fired engine built from modern Mamod parts and a few bits of Meccano. Chris was powering his Meccano workshop, that featured a selection of workshop machines built from manual model instructions from the smaller sets, using his Mamod SP8 Beam engine alternating with another modern engine, SP7 I believe, driving the whole thing from the other end.

The Steam Wagon awaiting its turn out in the sun with Sue
explaining something to an interested spectator
The steam Wagon has not been fired up since Crossness back in June where it had its first outing. See HERE. So it was out with the oils and meths and off we go. Sue discovered the video facility on her camera a few months ago and has been playing about with it. The 23 seconds is a bit shaky but you get to see the little piston working flat out and a nice drift of smoke/stream coming out of the chimney!

From the archive, Richard in 2012 at Henley running his steam traction engine
Richard brought his steam traction engine and it ran nicely around the hard standings in the garden. Chris got some good footage of Richard's engine running again this year. There is a link to his video at the bottom of this post.

Inside there was plenty to see including some serious discussion about John Hornsby's enormous Gottwald AK680-1 crane. More details of this ongoing build can be found HERE. As you can see there was some serious discussion going on that was obviously going right over his head, as it would have been mine!

John, Michael and Roger discuss the crane while John poses for the picture
Lots more models can be seen on the NZ Meccano website HERE and there is a video, including Richard's steam traction engine, to be seen HERE. As usual the the time just flew by and before we knew it we were back in our car and heading back East! Another great day, and looking forward to 2015.


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