Chairman’s Notes

Association News…Droitwich calling … February 2014

The death of our President. Professor John Hibbs, marks a significant event in the life of the association that he and Professor Theo Barker founded. An obituary is included in this edition. The Association was well represented at a very moving funeral service on November 24 at the Carrs Lane Church in Birmingham, at which Martin Higginson made an impressive and sincere statement citing John’s intellectual contribution to the world of transport economics and history. A donation for Guide Dogs for the Blind, John’s selected charity, on behalf of the association, has been presented.

The Show moves on

The committee had duly met on November 5, at the Kithead headquarters in Droitwich, following Philip Kirk’s translation from the Oxford Bus Company to that of Kithead Archivist [and indeed much else!]. Philip spoke of the Kithead Trust’s foundation and of plans for the future.

Whither the route and whence we came

The Committee focussed upon ways in which the association might now be developed with a view to offering guidance to the AGM in Coventry on Saturday, March 28. The committee tried its best to concentrate upon the practical. Preparatory discussions had already taken place in south Wales and Kingston, with the Omnibus Society, and Coventry Transport Museum, and it is hoped that therefrom specific ideas will be identified for the AGM’s consideration. The priority is to identify members willing to assume responsibility, however measured and limited, for running the Association. To minimise further the individual burden, it is anticipated that tasks could be shared. As agreed by the committee, each of these tasks need not be too onerous, the programme of events having been modified and our routines simplified. That said, however, it is, of course, essential for us to put on our ‘thinking caps’ so that we avoid any hiatus at the AGM! Your present chairman took on that task three years ago very reluctantly when it appeared that no one else was willing. We owe it to our late President to rise to this challenge.

A great accomplishment

The Association is delighted that the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has taken on the task of printing and distributing the Journal at no cost to the Association. This is very much an instance of a two-way relationship. The University, for its part, seeks to contribute to a learned journal in a discipline central to its work. Discussions are taking place to explore how the Journal might be developed realising that for many members the quarterly edition is the chief benefit of membership.

Dates for the Diary

As earlier advised, the Spring AGM and Conference will take place in the refurbished Coventry Transport Museum, which will surely be worth seeing, on Saturday, March 21, 2015, when the theme will be ‘Transport and the City Region, in History and in Prospect’. Devolution is making the topic particularly pertinent and it would now be useful explore what might now be appropriate taking on board the lessons of history. The programme and booking form are also included in the edition.

The Autumn Conference will take place in the Coventry Transport Museum on Saturday, October 3, 2015, on the theme of ‘Maps in the History of Transport’.

Until next time

As ever, should you suppose that, as far as you are concerned, the bus has taken the wrong turning, please ring the bell! The Committee would be pleased to consider your comments.

Robert McCloy, chairman and clerk pro tem.

 

Association News … reporting from Oxford … July 2014

Keeping the Show on the Road

The Management Committee met on April 24, at Cowley House, Oxford, courtesy of Philip Kirk.The committee was pleased to note that Pat Campany, having assumed responsibility as Membership Secretary, had already been very successful in recruiting new members and chasing up late payers to the end that it would now be necessary to increase the order for the print run of the Journal! With regret they learnt that John Ashley and John Howie would be standing down, respectively, as Events Organiser and Company Secretary at the year’s end. Royston Fisher had agreed to remain Treasurer whilst the quest continued for his replacement. That quest has now been successful and Maria Stanley, who read law at Cardiff, has very kindly agreed to take on the task.

Wales on Wheels

The Committee congratulated John Ashley on this year’s very successful Wales on Wheels event, a full report of which is included in Journal 77.

Whither the route and whence we came

The Committee gave further consideration to the draft discussion paper on the Association’s development, a summary of which is now included in this edition. It had been considered that it was appropriate to explore ways in which the Association might work more effectively with other organisations, and, in this connection, the attention of members is also drawn to the paper relating to the conference held at the Acton depot of the London Transport Museum. The Committee welcomed preliminary reports on possible collaboration with the Omnibus Society and the Coventry Transport Museum. The views of members, needless to say, would be welcome relating to the development paper and to any possible collaboration with organisations sharing, to some extent, interests akin to our own.

Dates for the Diary

The Committee, in reviewing arrangements for the Autumn Conference, confirms that it will take place in Coventry on October 4, John Minnis, of English Heritage, being the Conference’s keynote speaker. However, to minimise expense and inconvenience to members, the event will now be limited to a single day, incorporating luncheon, at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. Additionally, there will be an opportunity for members, in an open forum, to report on their current researches. Should you be willing to make such a presentation, would you please let us know. A revised booking form is is on the Events page.

Preliminary consideration was given to next year’s programme [2015], partly to accommodate the wishes of members who need to plan ahead.

The Spring AGM and Conference will take place in the refurbished Coventry Transport Museum on Saturday, March 21, 2015, when the theme will be ‘Transport and the City Region, in History and in Prospect’.

In the Summer, on a date to be negotiated, there will be a special one day conference in Oxford, in celebration of Professor John Hibbs’ 90th anniversary, on the theme of ’Regulation and Deregulation in Transport’.

The Autumn Conference would take place in the Coventry Transport Museum on Saturday, October 3, 2015, on the theme of ‘Maps in the History of Transport’.

Until next time …

As ever, should you suppose that, as far as you are concerned, the bus has taken the wrong turning, please ring the bell! The Committee resolved that their next meeting would be held on Wednesday, November 5, 2014, when they would be pleased to consider your comments.

Robert McCloy, chairman and clerk pro tem

 

Association News … reporting from Oxford … May 2014

Keeping the Show on the Road

The Management Committee met on April 10, once again at Cowley House, Oxford.The committee was pleased to note that Pat Campany had assumed responsibility as Membership Secretary, relieving John Ashley of one of his many tasks, but with regret learnt that Tony Newman, having resigned as a director, had also resigned as a member of the Committee. They were pleased to note, however, that he would remain Research Co-ordinator. Royston Fisher had also agreed to remain Treasurer whilst the quest continued for his replacement. The Committee, welcoming the news that Professor Mike Phillips, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Wales, Trinity St David, had agreed to serve as a Director, extended an invitation to him to join the Committee. Subject to the advice of John Howie, as Company Secretary, it was recommended for the next AGM’s consideration that no more than three directors be appointed and that the directors be requested to give strategic direction to the Committee from time to time by formaldirection. The committee noted that the arrangements for the AGM and Conference in Coventry had run smoothly and that the three presentations had been very well received by those present. The AGM had been advised that the membership would be consulted on draft proposals for the development of the Association.

Wales on Wheels

It was confirmed that the ‘Wales on Wheels’ event, which was to be repeated on May 17, 2014 in Swansea, in collaboration with FirstGroup and the Swansea Bus Museum, was being actively promoted by the City of Swansea and promised to be more extensive than last year. Readers are urged to view the web site! The Swansea Bus Museum would be celebrating the hundred year anniversary of South Wales Transport with the publication of a book and special events. A reception would take place at the Waterfront Museum followed by a Dinner at the Marriott Hotel on Friday, May 16, at which Professor Stuart Cole was to speak. The Swansea Bus Museum would be continuing their celebratory programme on the Sunday [May 18].

The Great Book

As for the ‘Companion’, Martin Higginson reported that sales were proceeding satisfactorily and the committee repeated its appreciation of the patience and industry that had been exercised, in particular, by Martin Higginson, Simon Blainey and Ken Swallow, but also by the Editorial Board generally and their many collaborators, in bringing this major aid to scholarship to completion. The launch, on April 2 at CPT’s offices at Drury House, had run smoothly, with addresses given, on behalf of the book’s sponsors, by Giles Fearnley, representing FirstGroup, and Mark Threapleton, representing Stagecoach; and the Chairman, who had alluded to the need for greater collaboration between the Association and other organizations with related interests. The Committee expressed their appreciation of the hospitality and arrangements made.

The Journal very much back on track

The committee was warmly appreciative of the fact that the Journal was now produced regularly and reliably on a quarterly basis and hoped that it would be possible shortly to expand its content. The request for additional copy was reiterated and committee members undertook to contribute articles, within their fields of competence, if commissioned by the Editor. The view was expressed that such direct commissioning, specifying subject, number of words, and submission date, would probably be more effective than a general invitation to the membership to contribute articles! Roger Atkinson’s new regular column was warmly welcomed. Philip Kirk undertook to contribute, on a regular basis, news of corporate members based on their newsletters/journals. John Ashley, Web Master, had reiterated the need for a regular supply of new material, especially comment.

Whither the route and whence we came

The committee gave preliminary consideration to a draft discussion paper on the Association’s development focussing attention upon our principal purpose. It was considered that, to some extent, the intention of establishing the Association as an umbrella body bringing together a range of organisations as corporate members, had necessarily been qualified by time, as individuals very reasonably obtained membership, and it became increasingly impossible to have a national focus on a particular university. In this context, it was appropriate to explore ways in which the Association might work more effectively with other organisations. The committee, having considered a preliminary paper prepared on archive policy by Tony Newman and Richard Storey commenced a listing of papers to be incorporated into the archive.

Dates for the diary

It was confirmed that this Summer 2014 event would take place in collaboration with London Bus Museum on the weekend August 1-3, and be held at Brooklands, withthe Association’s particular events: a formal dinner, taking place on Friday evening, with an optional vintage bus ride to Guildford Cathedral on the Saturday morning, and a programme of talks in the afternoon, on the theme of Transport on the Eve of the First World War.

It was also confirmed that the Annual Dinner and Conference would take place in Coventry on the weekend October 3/4, John Minnis, of English Heritage, being the Conference’s keynote speaker. The dinner would take place at the Ramada Hotel, on the evening of Friday, October 3, the conference at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum on Saturday, October 4.

Honouring an obligation

As for the Tilling Group History Project, the Committee agreed that all arrangements should now be made to facilitate proceeding to printing as soon as sales of the ‘Companion’ had met the Committee’s requirements.

Kindred Spirits

The Committee received reports on the Transport Heritage Conference held on March 1 at the London Transport Museum Acton Depot. Attendance by representatives of the Association had been worthwhile, it being observed that, in many respects, the Conference had constituted a further positive attempt to effect a higher degree of co-ordination amongst organisations with related interests.

Until next time

As ever, should you suppose that, as far as you are concerned, the bus has taken the wrong turning, please ring the bell! The Committee resolved that their next meeting would be held on Thursday, July 24, 2014, when they would be pleased to consider your comments.

Robert McCloy, chairman and, so it seems, clerk pro tem

R&RTHA November 2013 Report

The Management Committee met on 13 September, 2013, at Cowley House, Oxford with a goodly attendance.

  •  Members agreed to confer with a view to nominating a director, with effect from the AGM, in place of John Howie. John Howie agreed to remain company secretary which members warmly welcomed. The committee noted that the office of membership secretary remained to be filled, albeit the committee was pleased to note that Keith Roberts had volunteered to assist in recruiting new members.
  • Arrangements for the Autumn Meeting Annual Dinner and  Conference, on 18 October and at Coventry, were confirmed.
  • It was agreed that Coventry Transport Museum be asked to promote the Association’s events, inviting interested visitors to attend sessions, on their website, in appropriate leaflets, and in a prominent notice displayed in the Museum on the day of any Association event and for a few days proceeding, such copy being provided by the Association to specifications  acceptable to the Museum. It was further resolved that the Museum be asked to permit the erection of a small cabinet displaying information for visitors about the Association,  stressing  its collaborative role with the Museum,  detailing its programme and giving advice about joining.
  • At the request of the Waterfront Museum, in Swansea, the ‘Wales on Wheels’ event will be repeated, albeit in a modified form [displays and stands, but no lectures], on 17 May, 2014. The Committee requested John Ashley to incorporate a Dinner into the programme.
  • As for the Association’s finances, Roy Fisher, treasurer, reported that balances were reasonable.
  • On the publications’ front,  Martin Higginson and Ken Swallow reported that plans for the ‘Companion’ were being finalised, the editorial board had held its final meeting, and that it was firmly resolved to publish in the current year. The committee expressed its appreciation of the patience and industry being exercised, in particular, by Martin Higginson, Simon Blainey and Ken Swallow.   The committee noted that, on the recommendation of the editorial board, a cover price of £50 had been agreed. The design of the flyer was the subject of appreciative comment. As for the Tilling Group History Project, the committee  agreed that since it was a highly specialist book a conservative estimate for sales should be initially assumed. Further planning would take place on this basis. The committee, however, resolved that no orders for printing should be made prior to the successful launch and assurances of income for the ‘Companion’.
  •  The committee was pleased to note that membership was once more increasing and stressed the need to follow up any lapses in membership.
  • Peter White, Editor of the Journal, reported that  he would welcome the assistance of a committee member in checking the text of the Journal prior to passing it to the printer. Philip Kirk kindly agreed to take on this task.  Martin Higginson reported that he had commenced the production of a comprehensive index.
  • John Ashley, who had undertaken a comprehensive overhauling of the website,  sought from committee members observations and contributions, and  reiterated the need for a regular supply of new material.  The committee were very appreciative of the work undertaken and comment was offered to the effect of its high standard. Members are urged to examine the site and offer comments and contributions.
  • The committee once more turned its attention to the recruitment of new members and considered a number of initiatives.
  • On research co-ordination, Tony Newman presented a listing of road passenger transport archives. The committee warmly welcomed this aid to research and it was agreed that copies be circulated to committee members and that, suitably edited, it be published in The Journal and on the Web site.
  • The committee resolved to establish an archive policy and thereafter make arrangements for the secure custody of the archives. Tony Newman undertook to confer with Richard Storey with the aim of producing such a policy.
  • It was confirmed that the Spring AGM and Conference would take place on 15 March and the conference theme would be Vehicle Design Past and  in Prospect.
  • It was confirmed that next year’s  Summer 2014 event would take place on the weekend 2/3 August, subject to further consultations with LBM, and be held at Brooklands, in association with LBM’s programme, with the Association’s particular events, on the theme of Transport on the Eve of the First World War, and a formal dinner, taking place on 3 August. John Ashley and the chairman would be visiting Brooklands on 28 September to finalise arrangements.
  • The Autumn 2014 event: The Annual Dinner and Conference would take place at Coventry embracing the theme of the highway and motoring organizations. On the recommendation of Peter White, John Minnis, of English Heritage, would be asked by Peter White to make a presentation and, if necessary, the date hitherto chosen, 17/18 October, would be altered.
  • Swansea Bus Museum: The chairman reported that John Ashley was in discussion with officers of the Swansea Bus Museum with a view to establishing how the Association might be able to assist the Museum in obtaining accredited museum status. John Ashley, meanwhile, had requested the committee to consider possible lines of approach. In a preliminary discussion, the possibility of effecting links with other bodies who had sought accreditation, of hosting such discussions, of helping to draft submissions, and of supporting any submission, were cited.
  • The committee gave preliminary consideration to the possibility of revising the Association’s name.  In addition to the suggestion made in The Journal, the ‘Highway Historian’, and one submitted by a member in response, Ken Swallow suggested the possibility of simply shortening the title to ‘The Road Transport History Association’. It was agreed to give the matter further consideration notwithstanding  general agreement  to retain the existing title for official and legal purposes. [ii] On the recommendation of John Ashley it was agreed that he should prepare a plan for digitizing The Journal.
  • The Committee resolved that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on Friday, 10 January, 2014, at Cowley House, Oxford.

Robert McCloy, chairman

28 October, 2013

 

February 2013

Margaret and I met up with Dr and Mrs David Hamer, old friends from the States over here on a brief stay in London. David, an international scholar of cryptology (and one suspects much else) was ostensibly attending a conference at Bletchley Park. Our day’s programme in London, as I recall, included the Tate Modern (loved the Bookshop), a meal at the Reform Club (judgement withheld), and a ride on a Routemaster (apparently, the visit’s highlight). Of the latter, David was to write in his specialist journal, link to the article below. You, of course, know that the photograph is not of a Routemaster, which just goes to show you that spies don’t always get it right, or, possibly, Bletchley Park knows something that has hitherto been kept secret …

Routemaster Redux pdf

 

January 2013

A full complement of members attended the November committee meeting, in the Managing Director’s room of the Oxford Bus Company, for which we were all very grateful to Philip Kirk. With a prompt start, much immediate ‘give and take’, and a determination to keep to time, like all good transport specialists, business was completed within the allotted two hours!

The Autumn’s Coventry Annual Dinner and Conference were deemed to have been successful; Royston Fisher was appointed Treasurer with effect from the next AGM, and John Ashley was appointed, with immediate effect, Events and Publicity Officer, Membership Secretary, and, significantly for this entry, Webmaster! The Committee remains ever appreciative of Nigel Furness, who hosts the site.

Thereafter, programmes were confirmed for the Spring meeting: AGM, Museum tour and briefing, and speakers [16 March, 2013, Coventry Transport Museum], and the May ‘Wales on Wheels’ event in Swansea [17/18 May, 2013]. Next year’s Autumn Meeting is scheduled to take place in Coventry on 19 October, with pre-conference Annual Dinner on 18 October.

Needless to say, the imminent publication of the Companion to the History of Road Passenger Transport was a crucial item. The project is on track, thanks especially to the work of Martin Higginson and Ken Swallow, and it was agreed that we should aim for a launch in London in June, 2013. Negotiations were put in hand to establish an appropriate venue, date and time.

Peter White, the Editor of the Journal, reported that the December issue would shortly go to the printers. The Committee is very appreciative of the fact that the regular cycle of four editions a year has been resumed, that its quality is being progressively enriched, and that Dave Bubier was now assisting in the production of The Journal.

An ongoing topic of major importance is recruitment to the Association with the concomitant issue of how best to serve our membership. A start has been made as we seek to establish more effective links with ‘sister’ organisations. Initially, we agreed to focus upon those universities specialising in transport studies and with maintaining effective links with ATOC. We intend at out next Committee meeting to give more attention to this broad subject.

As indicated above, renewed attention is focussing upon the Website, the subject of another item elsewhere. Tony Newman, our Research Co-ordinator, drew the Committee’s attention to recent developments at the British Library’s Newspaper Collection at Colindale. This invaluable resource to transport students merits wider publicity. Tony also writes elsewhere on the site of this facility.

The Committee has given further careful consideration to the publication of Nigel Furness’ study of the Tilling Group. It was agreed that Tony Newman, on behalf of the Association, would collaborate closely with the Author resolving any queries and safeguarding the integrity of the text, whilst John Howie, Company Secretary, would work up a financial plan, covering printing and distribution, to the end that no financial burden ultimately fell upon the Association.

The Committee’s next meeting will take place, again in Oxford, on 22 February.

Meanwhile, any Member with thoughts on any of the above is invited to get in touch with the Chairman Robert McCloy or the WebMaster John Ashley.

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