The early years...
Our Humble Beginnings
From reports in back issues of Model Engineer it would appear the society was inaugurated as early as 1904 or 1908. There were reports of the society exhibiting, amongst other items A large ‘O’ gauge layout at an exhibition in March 1922.
After getting involved with the wireless craze of the period the model making part of the society fizzled out in 1925.
The Society next appears in 1934-35 as the Coventry Society of Model and Experimental Engineers. For the first year or so regular meetings were held in the Reference library, Derby Lane, Coventry.
Then in 1937 came a change of name to the Coventry Model Engineering Society with a change of venue to premises over a shoe shop in East Street, Coventry. Sadly following severe damage during the Blitz these premises were vacated and machinery was either sold or distributed to Society members to avoid further losses.
In 1943 a few members held a reunion and as a result monthly meetings were resumed at the Ragged School in Coventry. Then in 1948 the meetings moved to the B.T.H. Social Club in Coventry and an ‘OO’ gauge railway was established in a cellar there.
War memorial park
During its life the Society has built and operated three tracks. The first was in the Coventry War Memorial Park. The Track was officially opened in 1952 and ran for over 27 years until it was finally closed in 1980.
Split in two!
In 1955 the club eventually split into two and those interested in ‘OO’ gauge railways formed the Coventry Railway Society now based at the Coventry Canal Warehouse.
In 1970 the Society moved to the Maudsley hotel in Coventry and it was here on the 12th February 1975 that the Coventry Model Engineering Society was formerly wound up and formed into a limited Company - The Coventry Model Engineering Society Limited.
For some time the Society had been looking for a new site which would allow for larger radius curves to accommodate some of the larger locomotives. A new site was eventually acquired at Stoneleigh Abbey.
After much work rebuilding the track and facilities, public running at Stoneleigh Abbey commenced in 1981.
Following the transfer of ownership of Stoneleigh Abbey and its 690-acre estate by the then owner Lord Leigh to a charitable trust in 1996, the society was once again in search of a new home. This led us to our current location at Ryton Pools Country Park where we started building our current track in 1997 and still operate to this day.