Chairman’s Report: 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.

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