Chairman’s Report: October 2013

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.

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