Spring Meeting: 1st-2nd March 1997, Colchester
Events included lectures and a guided tour of Colchester.
Autumn Meeting: 29th-31st August 1997, Halfpenny Green / Black Country
The meeting was based at the Goldthorn Hotel in Wolverhampton who looked after us very well. Arrivals as usual began on Friday afternoon. A handful landed at Halfpenny Green, including some of our German visitors – some others were unfortunately deterred by a forecast of inclement weather. Informal dinner was followed by an introduction to the Black Country by Mr Bert Phillips, one of the Friends of the Black Country Living Museum.
On Saturday morning about half the group coached east to RAF Cosford. The old wooden hospital was closed and demolished a decade ago and the only flying from the airfield now is of the (Birmingham) University Air Squadron Bulldogs and Grob powered gliders along with Air Training Corps gilders. There is also an active electronic instruction unit and the occasional landing by an aircraft to join the Aerospace Museum which our party had come to see. We had guided tours of the huge collection of exhibits, amongst which the President was surprised to find a transport that he had flown in the (he insisted) not too distant past. The morning finished with a buffet lunch.
The other half of the meeting went south east to Staffordshire Crystal glassworks at Brierly Hill on the edge of the Merry Hill shopping complex. They saw demonstrations of glass blowing, cutting and engraving. Some tried their hands at the first two and many of you will have by now had your present of tumblers engraved with the BMPA logo. The proprietor was well pleased with our visit (actually with our credit cards) which was followed by one to the Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford where are displayed a wide selection of triumphs of previous craftsmen in glass. A pub lunch was taken close by.
Both parties converged on our hotel to allow coach changes for the afternoon visits. One group went north to Shugborough Hall, the ancestral home of the Earl of Lichfield and the other south to Cookley to join the narrow boat Blackcountryman for a leisurely cruise northwards on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal.
Delays to one of the coaches resulted in a late AGM but, due to the chairmanly skills of our president, a not so late annual dinner. The Guinness Cup was awarded to the president elect, the Presidents Cup jointly to Ben and Jonathon Clymo for their sterling work in the background organization and reception of members at the last three meetings.
Sunday morning was spent at the Black Country Living Museum. Exhibits have been collected over many years and assembled into a turn of the century canal-side village with houses, shops and small businesses. There are a number of heavier industries as well. The whole collection is manned and working just as it would have done apart from some modern health and safety measures. Members worked out their own itineraries in variable wind and rain, just as forecast, and then returned to the hotel for lunch.
- The Black Country (Mr Bert Philips, Friend of the Black Country Living Museum)