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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Spring Gathering

British technical genius - pre-war RT113 passes Concorde 202
The first ever Spring Gathering at the Brooklands Museum was held last Sunday and I was delighted to be asked to preside over proceedings. For many, it was the first visit to the London Bus Museum in its new home.

My first role was to host a reception for our sponsors and for those who we hope might become so. Becoming a sponsor entitles you to access a unique facility for conferences, training, and events. Large organisations normally spend considerable sums on ordinary hotel and conference facilities anyway. A small proportion of their budget for this generates significant funds for the Museum. We are especially grateful for the existing sponsors and those who signed up on the day.

I acknowledge the support already received from:
Alexander Dennis
Arriva London
CBS Outdoor
London United
Epsom Coaches
Oracle Creative

We then moved outdoors and I was delighted to again meet Denise Morgan, sister to the late Colin Curtis OBE, our former President, who was for some 36 years at the heart of technical developments at London Transport.

Denise expressed to all assembled, how she had no real idea how her brother had been such an important person to this industry, and how many friends he had. I presented her with a signed painting depicting Colin's favourite vehicles posing outside the original Museum building, now demolished.

Next we welcomed into the Museum's stewardship and thanked their owners: RT2657 from the Paris Transport Museum, RML2760 from Stagecoach, and RW3 from Chris Stanley and friends. On behalf of the Museum, I can promise that the hard work to date will be rewarded by making these vehicles available for the outside world to see. 

Finally I was joined by Mark Threapleton, MD Stagecoach London, and George Psaradakis who was the driver of the bus on route 30 destroyed in the terrorist attack of 7th July 2005. A brand new ADL Enviro 400 bus was built to replace it and poignantly named 'Spirit of London'. Shockingly, vandals set fire to it last year causing huge damage. It was unthinkable that this bus - a testimony to the strength of feeling of Londoners to 'carry on' despite the tragedy of 7/7 - would be scrapped. It has therefore been completely rebuilt and here at Brooklands was unveiled again, once more as the Spirit of London, demonstrating Londoner's absolute determination not to be put down by cowardly acts.

So on this beautiful sunny spring day there was plenty for all to see; a collection which is now properly exhibited in the context of other pioneering forms of transport. The museum lies in the shadow of the famous Brooklands racing circuit, and the various exhibits are intermingled with such notables as the ubiquitous Vickers Vanguard and pre-production prototype Concorde.

The original founders of this enterprise would be amazed at the progress made.

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