ARA Anniversary History - 45 Years and still growing.


The first meeting aimed at forming a group took place at Peter Hallam’s then home in Fields Road, Alsager on 25 September 1979.

Attendees were Dennis Round, Denis Ongley, Peter Hallam, David Tuffs (in fact Allan Downes’ brother-in-law) John Gleaves and Keith Wood.


Last Edit : 24th April 2024

Photo inside old club premises with founder members left to right:-  Shaun Horrocks, Peter Hallam, Denis Ongley.

This prompted the creation of a ‘steering group’ (popular language in those days) and a series of follow up meetings/discussions at Denis Round’s home and possibly one or two other homes leading to a launch evening at St Mary's Hall on 18 January 1980 to gauge public appetite (we had distributed posters widely and had help from the local press). This proved to be a surprising success and as a result an inaugural general meeting took place on the last Friday of February 1980. That led to meetings of the then embryonic club following on at St Mary’s Hall.

During the winter of 1979 John Gleaves, along with Dennis Round had staged a ‘Steam Evening’ at St Mary’s Hall when a variety of people showed their layouts, As a result of massive all round goodwill St Mary’s Hall became ‘home’ pending acquisition of permanent premises. The layouts etc. were stored there (erected/dismantled each Friday).

Then in 1981 we moved across the road from St Mary’s to the former GEC Social Club in Milton Gardens, where we stayed from 1981 until 1983.


The first ARA Exhibition was held in St Mary's Hall on 31 October 1981.


Photo of first exhibition in St Mary's Hall, Alsager, Shaun Horrocks with 0 Gauge layout.

First exhibition in St Mary's Hall, Alsager, Mike Sant in background with white shirt collar.

First exhibition in St Mary's Hall, Alsager, Iain Chippendale and Shaun Horrocks.

It was during the time there that The Yeoman came into play, as the old GEC social club was cold and damp and thus unwelcoming for committee purposes.  This resulted in Keith Wood arranging with David Capey, the then landlord at The Yeoman, for use of midweek meeting accommodation (at no charge). We therefore had use of the 'Smoke Room' - which resembled the interior of a steam shed on a Sunday night - for quite a while. 

Inside ARA first club house in Milton Gardens;  ex GEC social club.

Outside first club house in Milton Gardens Alsager.

It was in 1984 that our present club rooms were erected. The shed came from the Wolverhampton MRC who were moving premises, so the ARA members went to Wolverhampton to dismantle the club house, which was in fact an old RAF hut.  The building was finished in early 1985.  The club building was transported from Wolverhampton to Alsager by courtesy of Chamberlains Transport from Haslington.

Dennis Round, a Borough Councillor, got us the land off Moorhouse Avenue where we are now.

First working party preparing the ground for the club building. 


Left to right are:

Iain Chippendale,

Lorry driver:

    Jim Goodwin, who ran the lorry from the old Alsager goods yard...

Antony Goodwin: Jim's son.

Brian Wain,

Shaun Horrocks,

David Tuffs,

Alan Cannell.

The JCB clearing the ground for the hut footings. The JCB driver is (Alan?) Bradbury who lived in Fanny's Croft Alsager.

Dismantling the hut at Wolverhampton.  Mike Sant is the one on the roof.  The building was transported from Wolverhampton to Alsager by courtesy of Chamberlains Transport from Haslington.

During the early 1980s we gained more members:

Iain Chippendale, Alan Cannell, Allan Downes, Fred Johnson, Shaun Horrocks, Iain Malcolm, Peter Marshall, Derek Osgood, Peter Rawlinson, Michael Sant, John Turner, Brian Wain to name a few.

The club has since grown over the years to 70+ members.

The roof panels have been removed ready for transportation to Alsager.

Civic Centre Alsager in 1988 at our third exhibition.

0 Gauge members early layout with left to right Mike Francis, Iain Chippendale, Ian Malcolm and Mike Sant all a bit younger. Note the old Hornby tinplate signals not quite fine scale.

Thanks must go to the past and present Chairmen and members (some whom sadly are no longer with us and have gone to the great engine shed in the sky) who have steered the Association over the last 45 years...


Mike Sant

Information obtained from previous members.