HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY
The York City & District Society of Model Engineers was founded in 1929 although Micklegate modellers’ shop owner, Mr H.P.Jackson, had tried to get a club going six years earlier. Finally, 36 like-minded people met up at his premises and a new society was formed. It was originally called The York City and District Society of Model and Experimental Engineers. The word ‘Experimental’ was dropped in 1946.
For many years they met up in pubs and for a time in Rowntrees factory dining room. But their dream was to have their own premises complete with a club track. After the second World War they rented some farmland in Stockton Lane for the building of a raised track circuit. At the suggestion of the CME LNER, the York Carriage Works would make the rails which was then assembled in the LNER workshops and club members were given access to the York Loco Repair Works. Then, Erection of the track at the Stockton Lane site began in 1947. Sadly, almost immediately the farmer needed to sell that land, so the track was dismantled and put into storage.
Another site was found at Bishopthorpe, society membership gradually grew, and the general public enjoyed various open days and exhibitions. Eventually that site was also sold, but the Society were fortunate in that local builder, Jack Birch of Messrs. Birch & Co. allowed them to use part of his land at Moor Lane, Dringhouses.
Over the next 18 years they remained there, developing their facilities until that too was sold. Fortunately, the Society were able to negotiate the purchase of their own piece of land. At that time British Rail were electrifying the East Coast Mainline and were using an old section of sidings at Dringhouses for contractors’ storage. Once British Rail’s work was finished The York Engineers completed their purchase and started the massive task of clearing the site of ash and metal going back to Victorian times and from NER and LNER locos shedded at York, as well as clearing areas through the woodland for the track, and the building of a clubhouse. Fittingly, their new permanent home was officially opened by Councillor Jack Birch.
For more details: www.yorkmodelengineers.co.uk/history. html