Sheffield Ship Model Society
About the S.S.M S
Founded in 1937 with the help of the Sheffield Society of Model and Experimental Engineers, the Society developed from a group of enthusiastic modellers who were interested in the building of static display models. There was soon the desire to see the models sail, with attention being directed particularly towards semi scale yachts, no doubt inspired by the efforts of Sir Thomas Lipton with 'SHAMROCK' to win the 'AMERICAN CUP'.
Ready made sailing waters in Sheffield parks were made available by the City Council, and Millhouses Park lake became the regular meeting place for model boat enthusiasts, just as it is today.
Then, due to the needs of the war effort, the activities of the Society were severely curtailed as members were drafted into the forces or into home front duties.
By the middle 1950's, as membership increased, a quarterly Newsletter was introduced, distributed also to members who were still in the services, to keep them in touch with events. It is recorded that they were sent as far afield as Italy and New Zealand. Around this time mention was made of the first lady member, although we have no record of any models she may have built. The Society, in collaboration with other Sheffield Model Societies, became involved in the staging of annual exhibitions in the City.
In the following decade (1960-1970), membership gradually increased, as did the variety of scale models being built. With the introduction of more efficient radio control equipment, using solid state electronics, together with the miniturisation of the internal combustion engine, greater interest was being shown in Model Power Boats. The Society at that time period had accounts totally £26 - 11s - 9d, which was a princely sum. At the request of the Parks Committee regular sailing exhibitions were held for public entertainment. The Society President at that time was George Brookes, who also had three sons that were ardent supporters.
The Regatta's held in the various parks were extended to provide more competitive sailing, to encourage improved workmanship, and attract new members and juniors. The social activities for member's families was taken care of in the form of Annual Parties and Dinner. From the accounts of that period the going rate for an evening meal was 7/6d (38p). The first National Scale Regatta was held in 1979 in Millhouses Park.
In the mid 1970's the Society moved to headquarters in St. Silas Church Hall. More recently, meetings have moved to the building next to Millhouses Park Pool.
The Society then went through a period of reorganisation. A selected Guiding Committee, a revised set of Club Rules and the consolidation into what has become a well founded Society, giving more encouragement to the younger members by the provision of of trophies for their own events. In 1980, with the assistance of the Sheffield Star we organised 'Starship Enterprise', a competition for Juniors with no previous experience to build a model boat, designed by a Sheffield member, Wally Heslington.
Realism was the name of the game in the 1980's. During 1982 the then Chairman Les Hampshire built a P&O Ferry. He was subsequently asked by the Shipping Line if he could produce small scale working models for their use in publicity, which he did. It was featured in Boat Modeller. Another noteworthy member of that time is Glynn Guest, who is still a member today. Glynn was and still is a regular contributor to Model Boats with his Ship designs.
The modelling skills of the Society are being maintained with one of our members regularly contributing designs and articles for 'Model Boats' ,another reviews new kits for a manufacturer and writes reviews, and one who is achieving the highest awards for exhibits at the Model Engineering Exhibition in London. One of our longest serving member has written six books on ships (well he has been involved in ships his whole life and his father before him being an engineer) and has completed almost eighty model ships by commission to some of the biggest names in the shipping world. We still have an Honorary Member who has been a member since the Society was formed in 1937.
With an active current membership, many with over 20 years experience, the Society is soundly established.
The assistance given by Sheffield City Council Parks Department, for the hire of Millhouses Park Lake and facilities is greatly appreciated.