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You could say I have a bit of experience around exhibitions – Exhibiting layouts from the early 80s and 25 years experience a an exhibiton manager. Ive seen things come and go in that time, not least the rise and rise of the supershow, starting with Warley at the NEC and quickly jumped on the back of that success by a publishing house as a way of generating subscriptions and peddling their wares. Shows work on a tried and tested formula – you use the stand rents from traders to pay the hall hire. Layout and other expenses come out of the money generated on the door.

So we go to a show and generally end up browsing round trade stands, once more worshipping mamon, and the real object of the experience, the layouts, almost become a secondary consideration. Last week I spotted a post on a forum by Paul Bartlett, yes he of wagon photo record fame, one of the most useful resources to modellers ever, advertising a small show in York run by the Ebor Group of Railway Modellers. The thing that really caught my eye was the fact it was layouts and nothing much else, a real hark back to the days when I first started exhibiting and in some shows trade was not allowed – plus that and Sunday trading laws.

So on Saturday, along with Mrs C, we went up to York, one of my favoutite places in Britain and visited the show at the Heworth Church Hall. What a pleasant experience, some good layouts and people only there to see trains run. The one trade stand there was firmly directed at the younger visitors. I talked to other modelers about their work, how the show ran and how the society came about running this show. And do you know what, I had the most enjoyable experience Ive had for a long time at shows.

My thanks to Paul for bringing the show to my attention and to James Dickie fellow P4 modeller for the explanations and guided tour!

Theres a lot to be said for this model of show. Its not going to please all, especially those who post on forums just how much they have spent at a show, (classic example of personal spending power exceeding modelling talent)  but perhaps, just perhaps it could mark a renaissance in people actually building things rather than paying for them.

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Waterloo Street – James Dickies superb Scottish layout

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And last but not least no trip to York is complete without a visit to these licensed premises

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