Chairman’s Report: 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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