In 1994 St. James Methodist Church was in the throes of raising money to pay for its newly built extension hall and other rooms.
One of the initiatives at that time was to hold a model railway exhibition. Tom Lowton undertook to organise the exhibition and asked for the support of various friends in the modelling hobby. One person who agreed to help was Colin Oldfield, who is a churchwarden with the nearby St. Ann's Church.
The exhibition was a resounding success and plans for the 1995 follow on exhibition were being immediately spoken about. During the early months of 1995, whilst finalising the arrangements for the coming exhibition, thoughts were leading to the possibility of forming a model railway club in Rainhill.
After much time dillying and dallying (which I'm told we men do a lot of), Colin's wife Mary prompted us to advertise our intentions in the show's programme.
The show was another overwhelming success and we collected the names of 25 people in our area that demonstrated interest in the formation of a club.
Where Are We?
On Monday 15th May 1995 we held our first meeting at St. Ann's Parish Rooms (now the new Millennium Centre) and continued to meet on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month.
We started to construct two layouts and enthusiasm grew in strength, necessitating meeting on every Monday. Our membership has grown so rapidly (now 40, backed up by a waiting list), that we do not need to advertise for members, which is a testimony to our friendly, sociable approach to modelling.
In 1998 we took the bold step in obtaining our own permanent premises at Prescot Leisure Centre, where we had the luxury of secure permanent accommodation for our modelling projects along with a modellers' room and video and book library. We then met on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in order to maximise our investment in these premises. We had to give notice to vacate our Prescot club rooms for the 31 May 2011 due to the uncertainty of continued use of these facilities and lack of information forthcoming from our Landlord.
These premises have now been demolished. After a temporary room was found in Warrington to keep the club going we were looking for a new permanent venue. St Helens Council suggested space may be available in the North West Museum of Transport. A meeting was set up and an agreement made for our club to move into three rooms at the museum. After a lot of work being done to improve the available rooms, a grand opening was performed by Pete Waterman OBE on 10th. March this year and members are once again getting stuck into modelling projects.
After a number of years exhibiting at St.James' Hall, we moved to the newly renovated Rainhill Village Hall where we now hold annual Christmas & March exhibitions. We have also been party to raising over £2000 for charitable concerns such as Christian Aid, Lifeboats, NSPCC, Willowbrook Hospice , BBC Children in Need etc., and will continue to do so.
The members and committee would like to put on record our thanks to a number of people and organisations that have and continue to support us. We are grateful to St. James' Methodist Church, St. Ann's C.of E Church, Rainhill Railway & Heritage Society, St. Helens Council, Rainhill Village Hall, North west Museum of Road Transport, St. Ann's School and finally the members and their wives and partners, for their friendship, support, understanding and varied interests in railway modelling that has made the club the great success that it has become.