23 March 2017 – The AGM

Officers and committee members were returned unopposed at this year’s Annual General Meeting. All reports were read and approved by the meeting.

The officers are:
Chairman, Ken Amos
Vice Chairman, Bryan Bourne
Secretary, John Burnett
Treasurer, Owen Williams
Equipment Officer, Don Ross
Contest Officer: Committee members assisted by Don

The committee members:
Paul Bradfield
Gareth Howell
John West
David Lloyd
Martin Pope

16 Mar 2017 – Britain From Above – by Brian Hilton

Brian Hilton
Brian Hilton   – – Photo by Paul, G1GSN

Brian explained that Britain From Above was a four year Heritage Lottery funded project aimed at conserving 95,000 of the most endangered photographs from the Aerofilms Collection which had been acquired by English Heritage and their partners, the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland and Wales. The collection contains a unique aerial photographic archive of 1.2 million negatives representing 20th century Britain between 1919 and 2006.

Unfortunately, some of the glass negatives and early film negatives had been stored in less than optimum conditions. Before digitising many needed restoration and the finished result is an impressive display documenting the changing face of Britain between 1919 and 1953. Brian was able to show aerial views of Shefford and surrounding districts which many members were able to relate to.

Everyone was encouraged to visit the website  to enjoy the collection and perhaps help the site identify some of the unknown locations.


Shefford showing the Railway Bridge
Shefford showing the Railway Bridge

9 Mar 2017 – Paul Schimmel – The Magic of the Record Players

two early players
two early players

A good turn out heard Paul tell of the earliest Edison cylinder player dating from 1877. The cylinders were wrapped in tin foil on which the sound was imprinted. The foil was not the most robust covering as it could snag and tear. Alexander Graham Bell had developed the hard wax cylinder in 1888 which became the popular replacement until about 1912  when  they were replaced by  the disk.   Players developed in the USA and in the UK almost simultaneously and several companies at this time were working in both countries.

1924 saw the introduction of electronics in the recording and playback systems, but units using acoustic methods were still popular and they were less expensive. Auto changers were introduced during the 1930s to enable more than one record to be ‘stacked’ for almost continuous play and in 1948 the LP was introduced and the use of shellac had been replaced by vinyl. The seven inch, 45 rpm record with the large centre hole was introduced in 1949 and became popular through Pop music.

Lightweight portable players for 45 rpm disks became affordable to the youth of the day, but music centres and rack systems were the choice of those who wanted the new High Fidelity sound. In 1982 Sony and Phillips introduced the compact disk and the sound improvement was so great that the LPs began to disappear.

Paul demonstrated a number of players with records from the period which were played so the audience could sample the quality.  Brian, G8GHR also displayed some very early players from his extensive collection and the group was treated to sound samples from wax cylinders and early disks.

The presentation ended with some problems encountered in making the old units play again. Apart from gooey lubricants and dust and dirt, old electronics, perished rubber bits and wiring  had to be sorted and at times replaced.

the Group