Friends Events

In recognition of the support provided by our Friends we organise exclusive events during the year

Forthcoming events are detailed below.  Friends can book places via The Friends Place.  

Admission is by ticket only. For all events the museum opens at 18:30 with the talk starting at 19:15. There are light refreshments available on arrival. The events finish by 21:00.

7 September 2019: An Evening with Gordon Gravett

Arun Quay: the Dilemma of Compromise: Talk and demonstration by Gordon Gravett

Arun Quay came about because of a desire to build a small ‘0’ gauge layout that could easily be transported to exhibitions in a car. Although operations are restricted, the aim was to create something that would be visually interesting and still give the impression of spatial surroundings.  Lightweight construction was also very important so that it could be moved around the without too much damage being inflicted on ageing muscles and joints!  Although the railway may be the main focus, Gordon’s interest goes way beyond the railway fence and trying to capture the atmosphere of a particular area or scenario. 

Gordon is a very well-known railway modeller and author of a number of books and articles on modelling topics.

30 November 2019: Victorian working-class women in the stereoscope

Talk by Denis Pellerin

The stereoscope was a ‘middle-class’ device found in the parlours of the Victorian bourgeoisie, both in Britain and in France. Unsurprisingly, most of the images made for this “magical instrument” were for a middle-class audience and catered to their tastes and aspirations. However, there exists a large number of stereoscopic pictures representing working-class women, mostly seamstresses, laundry girls, fish women, farm lasses and female servants. The reasons for choosing these subjects are as varied as the occupations illustrated. 

Using 3D images from Dr. Brian May’s extensive collection, Denis will show how the Victorians evidently admired the strong, healthy-looking and independent fishwives; took a real interest in the working conditions of seamstresses; found laundresses titillating; had idyllic notions about life in the countryside; and were fascinated by their servants whom they often feared as much as they distrusted … or sometimes desired.


30 May 2020: Inspirational Modelling: the role of Pendon in the creation of 'Faringdon'

Talk and demonstration by Stephen Williams and Rex Davidson

Stephen Williams will explore how Pendon can inspire, by relating how his experiences as a Pendon modeller directly shaped the construction of his iconic 4mm scale model of the former GWR branch station at Faringdon. He will illustrate how the Pendon approach to modelling provided not just a palette of techniques for representing real worlds in miniature, but more importantly, instilled a particular philosophy of model making, as a process, that proved fundamental to the creation of “Faringdon”.

Stephen has been a model maker since his early youth and has been a Pendon modeller for over forty years. In that time he has contributed widely to the project as an architectural, railway and landscape modeller.  Amongst more than a dozen buildings that Stephen has modelled for the Vale Scene are Duck’s Stores and the Lyford almshouses, whilst his most recent scenic projects have encompassed the Church Group and, currently, the GWR station yard.  He has authored a number of landmark books on modelling the GWR and edited “In Search of a Dream” - the biography of Roye England. He has also published more than 50 articles on railways and modelling.