The Story of the MG Sports Car presented by David Jones on 13th February 2018
Probus Club member David Jones described the development of MG car production from its Morris Garages roots, through nine changes of corporate ownership up to the production of present day modern MG's by the Chinese company SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation).
The M.G. Car Company was established in 1928 and in need of more space leased a part of the old Pavlova leather factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, where predominantly two-seater sports cars was concentrated until closure in 1980.
The first cars produced in 1923 were based upon re-bodied Morris models. In the years before WWII a long line M type midgets were produced followed by a series of T type Midgets after WWII, many of which were exported to the USA.
In 1955 the MGA was produced followed by the MGB in 1962 and the MGC in 1967. Variations of the Midget and MGB were produced over the years and in 1995 the MGF was launched followed by the MGTF in 2002. Production of the MGTF ceased in March 2011.
In 2010 the MG3 a compact hatchback and the larger MG6 in 2011 were produced by SAIC, who now owned the MG brand. A number of concept cars were also subsequently produced.
MG has said that they would like to introduce a new sports car however the viability of the business demands means that this side of 2020 would be unlikely.
Club walk in the Bluebell Woods on Wednesday 25th April 2018
(A report by David Brunning)
The walk was kindly organised by Ian Bowering, who in 2015 had taken us on a similar one.
We set of from the Windmill with nine walkers and two dogs. The weather was bright, cool and windy, so we got off to a good start, but all too soon odd spots of rain appeared. As before Ian pointed out the local landmarks and places of interest along the route.
Once in the woods, enjoying the carpet of bluebells all around and seeing some lovely vista's of fields containing oil seed rape and rolling distant hills, the weather took a turn for the worse.
The paths became very slippery and we had to try and shelter under the trees. It became apparent that this was no April shower, and the general consensus was to retrace our steps and return to the Windmill. By the time we arrived there the sun was once at its glorious best, but this is England for you.
Apart from the inclement weather we all enjoyed the experience but returned home with very muddy shoes.
A Club visit to Pilgrims Harps on Thursday 26th April 2018
(A report by Bill Chapman)
Margaret Watson has played the Harp to the club on several occasions at meetings in the past and told us much about this beautiful and ancient musical instrument. It was Margaret who spoke of the Harp makers who were, so to speak, on our doorstep, and hence this visit was arranged. Thus it was members visited Pilgrim Harps near South Godstone on Thursday 26 April 2018.
It is difficult to refer to such skilled processes in making a harp as being manufactured in a factory and indeed it is not so, for various rural structures comprising Pilgrims Harps are nothing like what passes as a factory in these modern times. It is best described as a series of 'dens' in which each part is skilfully constructed.
After a brief introduction we were taken to a place where various wooden parts formed of multi-pieces glued together and constructed elsewhere were brought together. These various large parts of the V viz the neck, the pillar, the sound box, were brought together with dowels and so far as we could see, with only one metal bolt and nut being necessary at the foot of the pillar. All forming the classic Harmonic curve shape of the harp to stand on the floor and rest upon the Harpist's shoulder.
We were taken to an area of several rooms where the seemingly three pieces of the 'frame' were each constructed. These pieces made from the various woods in thickness and length were cut and glued together taking into account the stresses that each part was to take, and the performance of the cross grained wood. As skilful as these neck and pillars were to construct before the metal parts to hold the strings were added, the shaped Sound Box was what appeared to us as really a job on it's own. It was formed from a multiplicity of newly selected thin sheets forming 'plywood', if such a term may be used, and vacuum pressed to shapes with strengthening pieces and some metal in all vital areas where extra stresses applied such as with the strings.
We were shown jigs and patterns, tools and machines from Drills to Routers, all set up for making the seemingly never ending pieces that all fit together in the right sequence and place. We were told of woods used, Maple, Mahogany, Ash, Cherry, and the seasoning and selection procedures over several years.
There were other rooms for various tasks and a metal workshop of the most refined small metal parts perfect for their performance in the completed instrument.
We were told of the origins from the Bow for arrows and hollow logs to the Celts and into the last two hundred years as refinements made all as we know. Irish Harps and the Welsh Harps, large and small, and how modern techniques by specialist companies now assist, but still only partially, in the manufacture of these small components.
The Harps are sold world wide and the refurbishment and maintenance of existing harps is carried out by Pilgrim Harps.
This was a very interesting visit to a company that is a reflection of one of the highly specialised and skilled units at which the British excel.
Probus BBQ 4th July 2018
Circumstances necessitated the venue for the annual Probus BBQ to be changed, and so instead of the BBQ being hosted by Ray & Jill Langridge as usual, David and Ena Sharratt offered to host the BBQ at their home in Wolverton Gardens.
The day was warm, with some cloud cover providing a much more comfortable environment after the recent hot weather. The cost was again £8 per head and a total of 44 members, wives, partners and friends attended.
The cooks for the day were Roy Page and David Brunning, assisted by David Sharratt. The food was prepared and served by Christine Page and Gillian Brunning, assisted by Ena Sharratt. Vic Searson organised a superb raffle. John De Lang and Max Hofmann directed the parking of cars utilsing driveway space kindly offered by David's neighbours.
At the end of the day the Club presented a bouquet of flowers to Ena Sharratt and pot plants to Christine and Gillian.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the day with a light drizzle of rain arriving just as everybody was packing up.
Thanks must be given to David and Ena for hosting the BBQ, especially in view of the short notice. Thank you also to all the helpers.