At Skegness 1988 with the Asea Industrial Robot and the Harrison Navigation Clock
With Bert Love in 1988
With Robin Johnson and his Spanner badge
I have had a lifelong interest in Meccano - indeed it is a passion. I cannot describe it any other way. Apart from my work as an Orthopaedic Surgeon, I feel that I have become something of an engineer as well. I have always wanted to know how things work, and it was hammered in to me as a child that I was a 'demolition expert', always wanting to take things to pieces to see how they work, and never getting the whole thing together again - with parts left over. It is a very clear memory, I am sure shared with many others. My first experience of Meccano products was as a very small boy when I was given a Hornby electric train as a present - and it was set up and running when I came downstairs in my slippers and dressing gown. The can still smell the train and the boxes.
My aunt gave me a set 5 when I was ten, and I have lived with Meccano ever since. At first, when I was at school, I belonged to the Claremont Meccano Club in Cape Town. This was run by Mr Z De Beer of blessed memory and Mr Korck in the local church hall. There were about 35 boys in the group, and we used to meet once a month. The club had a very large collection of Meccano accumulated by Mr de Beer, and he built six seven drawer cabinets to house them, and were divided into appropriate groups to build models. Mr de Beer had the finest models, and I absolutely idolised his giant blocksetter, and the trench digger and the orrery.
With Mr De Beer and the Asea robot in Cape Town
Meccano took a back seat during the years at University, but it didn't stop Colin Cohen and I forming the Cape Town Meccano Club, of which I became chairman. We staged exhibitions, and traveled to Johannesburg to share the Model Building exhibitions there too.
I started developing an interest in ocean yacht sailing after racing in dingies for many years. Eventually I built my own boat in my wife's front garden, and I can well remember the cries of alarm from her as we dug a trench in her flower bed for the keel. We all had to duck under the bow to get to the front door. The boat was launched in 1975 and we sailed her to Rio from Cape Town. We had many years of good racing in Table Bay thereafter. I always thought that the boat and Meccano complimented each other nicely, one indoors, and the other outside.
My career as an Orthopaedic Surgeon took first place in my activities, but Meccano was an advantage to me to think more mechanically in a professional which is quite mechanical in its practice. Indeed I used Meccano for research into certain problems to deal with Scoliosis or curvature of the spine.
I have made many friends because of Meccano, and have traveled to many exhibitions, which I have always found highly stimulating and a source of inspiration. It is important to know what is going on, and I have been fortunate to be able to see some of the great models of recent times, in an age over the last 25 years which I judged to be the best in the hundred year history of Meccano.
1. The Benefits of Meccano
2. Meccano- the need to be alone