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CHILCOMB HOUSE, HAMPSHIRE MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES
Winchester - Sunday 8 May 2011

Had you seen the photograph in the future events section of the Central Southern magazine, you would have been forgiven for wondering whether or not this would be a worthwhile event to visit! If mistakenly you decided not to bother, you missed one of the most interesting and fascinating events of the last twelve months.

Members' cars   The photograph we showed was really all there was to see from outside, but the inside is a Pandora's Box of delights. Our host, headed by fellow RREC member Gary Wragg and his two colleagues, Mark and Jill, spared no efforts in showing and discussing all the wonders that are held in the numerous buildings which form the workshops and archives.
Members' cars outside the workshops.  

After an introduction from Gary when he explained all the functions that were performed within the workshops and showed us numerous photographs of some amazing renovations that they have undertaken and completed, with stunning results, we were treated to another really interesting briefing from Jill who is responsible for the care and renovation of period clothing. When showing us these it was cleverly orchestrated to include motoring related articles, which none the less were of considerable interest to the ladies. Owing to the limitations within the clothing storage and preservations area we had to attend in small groups and were obliged to enter via virtual air locks intended to prevent moths entering the building. All the windows were fitted with blinds to reduce the effects of daylight and dehumidifiers could be heard responding to the effects of the visitors' breath!

  Silk coat
 
Gloves   Among the articles shown were silk coats worn by wealthy ladies in the very earliest days of motoring, together with period gloves and shoes, gentlemen's clothing including a leather lined motoring overcoat, which, albeit very old, appeared to have been hardly worn. This overcoat, gauntlets and goggles were all intended to combat the rigours of the weather when driving in open top vehicles in all weathers. It was sad to hear that deterioration of many silk items could only be slowed and they would eventually become dust.

Commercial Lorry   In the workshops were countless projects and numerous part-completed renovations of all sorts of wheeled and static engines and vehicles, from hay wagons to trams to steam rollers and traction engines - some appearing to be little more than heaps of scrap iron. However, having seen what was done to a commercial lorry which was discovered in something approaching reasonable condition, but destroyed to all intents and purposes in the great October 1987 storm, it appears that the skills employed in these workshops are all but miraculous.

Regrettably this may be the only opportunity we will ever get of visiting this museum archive, as the ongoing reductions in government expenditure on this and many other valuable assets has resulted in severe cut backs. Garry our host, who has been responsible for the setting up and running of this establishment for many years, decided to take voluntary redundancy, this event being his last formal undertaking.


The event raised £400, which was presented by Darren Collins our BW on the day who, in conjunction with Gary, organised and planned the event.

Chris Tween - Section Magazine Editor

Photos: Chris Tween