The UK Stationary Engine Forum operates a Public Liability scheme for its
members, insured through NFU Mutual.
Cover is £5 million, costs is £3 per year, January to December.
Registration is free, we cannot issue insurance to non-members.
Peter & Rita Forbes
That looks like a cheap and good deal. I must observe however that it will
inevitably be another nail in the coffin of face-to-face clubs.
Is the need for the latter passing with the people who founded them?
I hope the same but round here, and I doubt its any different elsewhere,
clubs are folding for want of members. The average age of my own club must
be late fifties with many like me not in the best of health.
Several fine local rallies have also folded because the organisers were
unable to pass the baton to younger members.
It seems that those under, say 30, do not feel the need for face-to-face
contact so anything that steers them away from Clubs can only weaken the
It may be that on-line-group based get-togethers will replace club-organised
events and perhaps the cycle of the last 40 years will repeat itself. I
don't yet see any enthusiasm for organising amongst "youngsters" and
certainly the various H&S/insurance/legal/cost barriers are far more onerous
than 40 years ago.
For myself I very much enjoy face-to-face chatting and spent far more time
doing that at Enstone than hunting bargains, much as I enjoy the thrill of
Over the years I've learnt a lot and enjoyed the company of older club
members. For me any on-line resource is no substitute for meeting folk and
being able to see the twinkle in the eye.
I feel much the same about SEM. I don't always like all the content but I
enjoy most issues and it keeps providing learning. Perhaps I am one of
Martin's old fogies but I don't think any forum can or will provide a
substitute for SEM.
A comparison with Wikipedia might be valid. A forum, like Wiki, is somewhere
anyone can post without leaving any information about his/her age, training,
experience or credentials. The contents of SEM have at least been subject to
expert scrutiny and ,most importantly BEFORE publication.
I cant disagree with a word you have written but like all clubs etc we have
to bow to "modern technology", for instance what did people think when the
telephone came along, letter writing started to die from that point on.
My club has about 15% of youngsters and some of them do it involved in Club
issues so I cant really complain.
On Sat, 24 Apr 2010 11:46:13 +0100, "Roland Craven"
It's interesting that the online boating community have two annual
getogethers - an open one and one for members of the Cutweb Internet
Boating Club - the only cruising club on the British inland waterways
without its own base.
Brian L Dominic
Web Site: http://www.brianscanalpages.co.uk
Newsgroup readers should note that the reply-to address is NOT read:
To email me, please send to brian(dot)dominic(at)tiscali(dot)co(dot)uk
I feel I ought to defend Wikipedia here (and I wrote a few of those
articles). Wikipedia is _not_ like a forum as it has articles, not
posts. An article is a collaborative effort over a considerable time,
and usually be many people. Unlike a post that's posted once and
that's an end of it, an article is up for continual review. If
something is wrong, there's opportunity to correct it.
In practice, this works pretty well. If the virtue of reputable
magazines is "peer review", then this can apply equally well to
Wikipedia. Of course this depends on the quality of the relevant
community: steam locomotives are very well handled, internal
combustion engines are rather more sparse. Regia Anglorum's not great
either! In general, Wikipedia usually produces excellent articles on
narrow topics, poor ones on broad topics because everyone's an
"expert" on spark plugs in general and there are too many cooks with
not enough editorial control to keep a broad article readable (Lathe
or four-stroke engine). Sometimes it does fail: Land speed record is a
travesty. Vandalism, despite first impressions, just isn't such a
problem. It happens, it gets fixed very quickly. A quite amazing
amount of it is just adding "poo" to articles - you really would think
they'd find more inventive depravity on the intaweb.
Some narrow articles of my own recent work:
The R-R engine articles are generally pretty good:
It doesn't seem to have attracted too many 'club' members, nearly all are
non-club as far as I can see, and from comments when we first proposed the
I still maintain my BBSEC membership with insurance included BTW, and receive
Martins (improving) newsletter.
Regarding clubs in general, there is a lack of free time which seems to affect
most folks these days, certainly I don't have any more time now than 10 years
ago, but seem to fit more and more into each day. Attending club meetings and
getting more involved was never a possibility for me.
Peter & Rita Forbes
It is indeed difficult to get members to take a hand in running the club. We
are down on committee members and the AGM was poorly attended. It's club
night tonight (I'm giving a talk on "Rolls-Royce Piston Aero Engines" and
I'm curious to see just how many turn up.
Our annual rally went well last year & we are running another in June. In
the manner of these things, there were six of us on the subcommittee & the
whole thing was more or less organised by Eric Gay. Frankly, without his
drive it would simply not have taken place.
That said, crank ups are well attended & thirty engines and fifty members is
the true average. Our half-annual sort outs at Cranmore Station Yard are
always very well attended & this spring was no exception. Weather makes some
difference of course, but less than one might expect.
Nationally speaking, I only attend Enstone these days and no-one could say
it was badly attended this April! What are others experience of similar
sales around the UK? I am very curious to know.
In a Regia context, we are very much a peripatetic community and we travel
many miles to get to events. We set up on a Friday night & are gone by dusk
on a Sunday - Monday if it's a BH. There are about 650 of us with a UK
membership of about 500. If we turn out more than a quarter of that number
to any particular national event we are doing well. There are exceptions and
I believe that the event at St Ives in Cambridgeshire this coming Mayday BH
will be very well attended & might well exceed 200. The York event in
February usually sees two thirds of the adult membership present as we have
not seen each other since August BH the previous year!
My experience of organising and attending outdoor events over the last
thirty years is that membership attendance is fairly steady. I'm pleased to
note that our attendances are up year on year - not by much, but going from
prosperity into recession did not have the catastrophic effect that I
Finally, I'd like to consider communication. I have the uneasy feeling that
better communication by newsletter, SEM and the Internet to an extent
assuages our basic human drive to band together co-operatively. This desire
fulfilled, we can decide not to bother to go to club night as we've read the
newsletter, not attend the AGM because I've seen who is on the committee via
the agenda and then running the engine in the garden fulfills my mechanical
sense without further loss of time or expense. That leaves peer pressure and
recognition to wholly push us to get the heavy great thing out of the shed,
hitch it to the car and drive for a while so we can see and be seen. Is it
enough to maintain an esoteric little community like ours? Truly, I do hope
Basic communication by newsletter is VITAL!!
On the subject of "clubs", all of the clubs that I ever belonged to were
usually pushed along by one or two people (usually the founders). Not saying
this to blow my own trumpet - I joined a local classic car club around 12 or
so years ago and was almost immediately asked to join the committee.It was
clear to me that the club was built on very weak foundations, no
constitution, no aims, no elected officers, no organised agm, no membership
records. On the retirement of the founding chairman, I was elected chairman
by the rest of the committee. I instigated a constitution, produced a
monthly newsletter, funded by advertising, proposed a greater degree of
fomality for our monthly meetings (including speakers and quizzes, rather
than just sitting in the bar nattering, arranged for us to display our cars
at numerous local events etc. The biggest problem seemed to be that most
members were in other (single marque) clubs, which also drew on their time
and resources. After I was taken ill in 2002 I was in hospital for around 9
months during which time the club just about kept going. I then announced
that I could no longer commit the time and energy that I had previously and
the club collapsed to 3 or 4 people meeting in the same pub once a month for
a "pint and natter", now it no longer exists at all. Having got involved
with restoring two Douglas Stationary Engines I found that I was able to
"become involved" through the virtual world of the internet by setting up a
website to act as a virtual meeting point for other Douglas engine
enthusiasts. This fits in well with my present physical limitations and
gives me similar satisfaction to the car club in the past.
I was a member of the club for some years but thought the newsletter could
do with a brush up - too much blank space & nowhere near technical enough
for my liking. When the Chairman said he was looking for a new editor, I
seized the opportunity with both hands. I think I have been moderately
successful and John Rogers keeps them archived here
so you can see what you think ;o))
I was co-opted onto the committee & a bit taken aback to be asked to sign a
form but as the club is a Company Limited by Guarantee, the committee are
the Directors. A quick glance at the M&A and the Constitution gave me some
pause & I undertook to rewrite the latter into something which enfranchised
the membership, embraced the democratic ideal and was for the common good.
As once the membership officer for NAReS, re-enactment's professional body,
I had some experience of what was required. I must say that it did not make
me especially popular with the Old Guard but it really did need doing. The
next year I made myself even more unpopular by halving the amount the club
paid for TPL cover!
Just a thought - does your club's Constitution stipulate which officer is
responsible for calling the AGM? If it does not do so, the committee can be
self perpetuating as it is no-ones responsibility!
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