07/06/2012
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20th Anniversary of the Bassett-Lowke Society

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The society’s story begins in 1991 when O gauge model rail enthusiast Bob Burgess submitted a letter to the Gauge O Guild Gazette asking if there was interest in forming a Bassett-Lowke group. After a positive response, Bob set about organising an inaugural meeting towards the end of 1991. Unfortunately it had to be postponed after it proved impossible to set a date at short notice.

In the meantime, Bob produced a one-off newsletter in advance of an organised meeting. Unsure of what to call the publication, he suggested The Oil-Can (after the original Basset-Lowke in-house journal) or Lowko News. The publication contained Bob’s editorial alongside copies of some original Bassett-Lowke photos from Vic Reader’s collection, details of spares, services, sales, wants and auction reports – all elements quickly embraced by the new society.

As I suspect with many new groups, the first meeting finally took place on 25th April 1992 in a public house, the Red Lion in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. The first order of business for the eager 12 attendees was to name the group and thus the Bassett-Lowke Society was born.

It was established the organisation would be open to all, would keep bureaucracy to a minimum and that no individual would use it for personal gain. More importantly the principles and aims established on that day, which helped form such strong foundations, were as follows:

•    To foster an interest in all Bassett-Lowke products
•    To promote an interest in the history of the company including setting up a library of information, catalogues, articles and other literature for members
•    To establish a register of traders, restorers and manufacturers and maintain a trade directory
•    To produce a newsletter for: sales and wants, advertising meetings and exhibitions, auction reports and price information, sharing knowledge and know-how plus general correspondence
•    To arrange regular meetings

After the initial formation of the group, two key milestones quickly followed. It was decided the one-off newsletter should become a regular feature and, as a result, the first edition of Lowko News was printed in 1992 and continues to be produced today. Then in 1993 a small committee was formed to make quick decisions on behalf of the members, while Bob Burgess became the secretary and treasurer – a position that he continues to hold.

It became an immediate success and although the society has more than 500 current members, it is still run in the same way agreed by the founding members at that fateful meeting. In fact, as a constant reminder, the aims and principles are reiterated on the first page of each edition of the Spares Directory, which is sent to new members as part of their joining pack.

THIS IS AN EXTRACT FROM AN ARTICLE IN THE JULY 2012 ISSUE OF COLLECTORS GAZETTE. TO READ MORE, EITHER PICK UP THE LATEST ISSUE IN STORES OR ORDER ONLINE.

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