Tyneside Society
of Model and Experimental Engineers
The 1940's
The 1950's
The 1960's
The 1970's
The 1980's
The 1990's
The 2000's
The 2010's

Lindsey Oliver has been coming to TSMEE since the 60's, initially as a child with his family, his dad Bill being the model engineer. Below are some photos from Lindsey, he's the one with the fishing rod seated to the right is his mum.



Recently Paul Boothby contacted me with some of his memories of TSMEE in the 60's please see below.

In the early 1960’s, whilst still at school, I was a keen aero modeller and joined The Novocastria Model Aircraft Society.  We flew on the town moor, and in competitions at various airfields up and down the country.  Club meetings were held in an attic room in the RAFA club in Lovaine Crescent, somewhere behind the Civic Centre. When the area was demolished, we were “homeless”, TSMEE came to the rescue, and all members joined TSMEE.  We became the “Model Aircraft Section”, although we still kept our original identity, mainly for competitions.  I was thrown into a new world, and one I’ve never really left. Over the years, I’ve written several articles for Model engineers’ Workshop I attended most meetings of both TSMEE on Wednesday nights and the “Novos” on Friday nights (but rarely at the track – model flying came first on Sundays!).   Does TSMEE still have a Model Aircraft Section? 

On Wednesdays, I met a whole new bunch of great guys: JED Scott, Ron Burgess, Ernie Clark the Librarian, Charlie Cully, Jack … (forgotten his surname- a big chap with bandy legs- who was an expert boiler maker),  “big” George .. (again forgotten his surname)- a BR driver and a buddy of …. your own chairman- Jimmy Stevenson.

Do you still have club Christmas Dinners?  I remember those wonderful evenings in the upstairs restaurant of Bainbridge’s, overlooking the Bigg Market, on a Friday night, usually toward the end of November each year.  One meal in particular really does stick in my memory- not so much as what happened there, but more what happened elsewhere: after leaving the Restaurant, two of us, amply filled, ambled toward our bus stop in Pilgrim Street, when a small army of newspaper sellers came by selling a special edition of the Chronicle. The headline read: “Kennedy Dead”.  That was Friday, 22 November 1963.

I remained an active member of TSMEE until 1969 and spent most of my time with model aircraft and making various bits and pieces, heeding plenty of advice mostly from Charlie Cully, JED and Len Brough.  In 1969, I went to University, and met a girl from London. We married, lived a three months in Newcastle, then left for good…. Bye bye TSMEE…

We’ve now moved into a new century and a new life.   Now retired (more like, fired with cause- ‘cause you’re too old!), I’m able to enjoy model engineering again, but this time in the Isle of Man!  I’m now a member of the Manx Steam and Model Engineering Society, and spend two days a week helping to run a half mile 7¼” track through a wildlife park… Model aircraft?- I still have some engines, but no aircraft. Those days have gone and I doubt if they will return.  

I offer you some happy memories- but alas, no photos- at least of the track or members …sorry…

Best wishes to you and all

Paul Boothby 

More from Paul - After sending the email, I could have kicked myself! I’d forgotten to mention where TSMEE met: we occupied a couple of waiting rooms at Manors Station. We had no heating there and I will always remember the smell of three paraffin heaters we ran there! Also, on Wednesday nights, we had to listen to the constant whine of an ex-forces/WWII? rotary converter supplying 240VAC to run the transformers on the OO gauge and Scalextric tracks- Why? for some wacky reason, BR had wired the entire station to 240 VDC!!

You mention George Jennings: That name does ring a bell somewhere, so I will guess we’ve got the right guy!- Same with Jackie Dent.   I’m sorry to hear about Charlie Cully- a great guy who was always guaranteed to come up with an interesting story- many of which seemed to centre on the Gateshead(?) tram workshops. I mentioned JED Scott- he died whilst I was a member of TSMEE:  Poor JED, in his latter years was becoming increasingly dependent on others, until his son (I believe) had him moved into a nursing home.  Ernie Clark made regular trips to the home, then one Wednesday night, Ernie came into the club room almost in tears- saying JED was really down in the dumps, and that  “All JED wants is for me to get him his lathe.  How on earth do I do that?” (etc.)   Not long after that, JED passed away.  The date would be autumn 1965. A few weeks later, various members gathered together JED’s workshop and it was auctioned in the clubroom at Manors.  I was able to buy most of his taps and dies, and his hand-powered pillar drill and set of drills, all of which I still have in my workshop here in the Isle of Man.  And they still get used from time to time!   I think Ronnie Burgess got JED’s lathe.  Len Brough died, I think in 1967-8 very suddenly from pneumonia.    Not long after I left TSMEE (1969), I heard a story about Ronnie Burgess (ask Jimmy Stevenson to confirm this one!):  Ronnie lived in a three (or four?) floored Victorian terrace house in Gateshead at the time. He bought a milling machine, and with the help of a few friends managed to get the thing installed in his workshop in the attic…. soon afterwards he and his wife were awoken by strange noises…and saw part of the milling machine poking through the ceiling above their bed! (I did not hear the rest of the story)  Phew! That about exhausts my memories of TSMEE- at least for the moment.

More from Clive Kidd - thank you! I think these are about 1966 or 67

Jim Stephenson and (Raymond) Boot behind Minx. Think this loco was built by Billy Bell.   

 Yours truly (Clive Kidd) behind Minx


The TSMEE Live Steam Section circa 1966. Seems to be race week as the Hoppings are on in the background. Left to right: Jim's car/Clive Kidd/unremembered/Keith (or was it Kevin)/Jim Stephenson/Stewart (Turner?)/ Jeff Stephenson/Alan Tulip/Raymond Boot. I think Ian Spencer was away at University & Lochlin Michael Shannon(LMS!!) had yet to join.
More from the 60's - Apologies I don't know the photographer, but Ian identified the loco's & people, even telling me the registration number of Jim's mini van!

Billy Bell & Fred Davies with Minx


Brian Cook & Geoff Rogers watching Jack Hall prepare his 5" Netta                              Fred Davies with his 5" electric loco Bobo                       


                        Jackie Dent with Stan Stovold's 3 1/2" 4-6-4 tank 'Mars'                           Jim Stephenson & Brian Cook on Jack Hall's Netta


Billy Bell's Minx                                                                      Another shot of Jim & Brian on the Netta 


Jim Stephenson & Geoff Rogers                                             Jim Stephenson, Arthur Jay, Geoff rogers Brian Cook


Workshop tips & tricks
New clubhouse
TSMEE decades
Member's Projects
Stu's Boiler page
Archived pages
Photo Gallery
All Rights Reserved...