Sunday, 13 November 2011

About as close as I'll come....

Tree-lined artisan streets where my Grandad and his Grandad made fine furniture from Cuban mahogany, English Walnut and marquetry. Feather banding, cross banding and boxwood stringing with ebony highlights and selling it to the likes of Liberty's and Heal's. A shop on the ground floor, living on the two floors above and a workshop in the garden. Perfect. Thank heavens there are a few of these left to show us how it used to be and that it wasn't all bad for a man with a trade. Not everywhere was like it of course, but that's life.

This was really all I wanted to find I suppose. Kind folks confirmed my family's place back 200 years. No Irish connection within sensible memory liked I'd hoped to find, who wouldn't, but confirmation instead of a family who, on all fronts are resolutely East End, artisans all and well found for the most part born within sound of St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, London.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Who do we think we are?

With a lot of interest in genealogy thanks to programmes on the telly about it, I thought it might be time to try my hand at it.

Unfortunately it costs an arm and a leg through sites like and more than I could afford.
I joined a suitable forum asking if it could be done for nothing, but apparently not. However, a couple of very helpful souls decided to have a look for me and have taken me back to 1808 on all four branches.
My aunt has also passed on the Rozee side which she found back to 1750! That's 20 years before Nelson!

But what has astonished me most of all is that every single one of my antecedents hailed from a tiny area of London right back, even to the Pre-Nelson Rozees! With a couple of forays into East and West Ham, still regarded as "East End" by most, they all, every single one of four separate families, came from Bethnal Green. It seems almost impossible to believe that four disparate families, the Rozees, the Simmons, the Fields and the Darlingtons all were born in, mainly married and most died and buried in tiny Bethnal Green.
I immediately tried to find the streets where they were born, but all are gone. Either bombed in the War and cleared or cleared under so-called slum clearance, which, from what I can see means knocking down perfectly good Victorian houses and putting up Jerry built modern slums, devoid of character, planning or architectural merit of any kind. Some of the new streets and rows bear a form of the original names, but none seem to be unaffected by Hitler's or or Tower Hamlets council's vandalism.
Only one address in East Ham remains.

It's well known that the East End, more than any other area in London was the favoured destination of immigrants in waves. First the Huguenot weavers in the late 17th century, then Jews from mainly Eastern Europe, then Irish escaping the worst of what England was always throwing at them and more recently the Bangladeshi influx. It is the latest which has changed the area more than the others who at least more or less integrated. Their look, their dress and most of all their complete resistance to integration due to their inflexible religious attitudes. It is the cause of many disputes all over the country and will not improve.
And so, the old East End, recognisable for centuries, is now lost, not helped by the appalling style of piecemeal housing the "authorities" have thrown up when they should have thrown it out.

And don't tell me the previous immigrants didn't integrate. My grandmother learned to speak fluent Yiddish to talk to her co-workers in the Lloyds cigarette factory and they were so impressed they asked her to teach them English. Nan kept that ability all her life and would delight my Dad's Jewish friends with her ability to converse with them in the tongue of the diaspora.
And don' tell me Cockney rhyming slang is an imaginary thing, because my dad spoke it all the time as did his brothers, his Dad and all our wider London family who were resolute East Enders right into my late teens, when, alas, we lost touch as people do, to their cost.

I knew my Dad was born under the sound of Bow Bells, but I never realised the entire family back to 1750 were Cocknies as well! For anyone born in that area could be truly considered a Cockney.
Now I'm off fer a cuppa Rosie and a currant wad.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Friends, indeed

Two Super 60s given to me by a new friend. The unused tailplane frame is seen above the old wing
I HAVE written before about internet friends. I seem to have 10 followers of this blog, yet I only know some of them. That's probably how it'll stay, because I can't seem to answer any of the comments and some friends can't get on the comments section at all, which is a shame.

So, to all the people who kindly follow this blog, thankyou and I hope it interests/amuses you.

In a way, through the internet, I have met my most recent friend, for it was through the model flying forum, that I was invited again to visit my local club flying field and through one of those visits that I met a new chum, Peter. We discovered we lived in neighbouring villages and I have visited his Alladin's cave of a workshop and house since.
We have had long circuitous chats as only good friends can and I feel like we're old buddies. In an area not known for its open, friendly nature, this is only the second time I've made a friend since I moved here in 1989.

On learning that I was a beginner at model flying and about to build a trainer, he presented me with a couple of Super 60s, one never finished, one crashed about 35 years ago and never rebuilt.
Naturally I grasped the opportunity. These days balsa wood is not cheap, so to get a couple of airframes merely needing repair or finishing was a very generous offer and I've already started repairing the old crashed one. It is broken badly at two main places on the fuselage and needs new wood scarfing in, which I've now done with the rear break and the model is as strong again as it ever was.

Meanwhile a friend from Oop North (another internet friend) has been building me a powered glider type of trainer, which I could fly on the fields around me.
With these two separate mentors I feel very well equipped to learn the hobby without making too many mistakes.

The forum? Ha! all forums, I'm no longer on it. There are always two or three big-headed know-it-alls who only post to criticise and "correct" and who get very shirty if you argue with them. In RCMF's case there was one in particular, who was clearly not used to being contradicted, until I came along and told him what was what in a field clearly not his own. It was obvious he would get nastier and so would I, so, feeling they had little else left to teach me, I left, removed it from favourites, etc.

"I have fed of the blood of fools to a sufficiency".

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Up, up and away

I've been getting empty headed lately. That's when things go tits-up with me and I was worrying about not having an idea, a plan, a scheme when for some reason I started thinking aeroplanes and model flying.
In the past I've considered it and other things have moved the thought, family, etc.

But this time it stuck and being a little jaded with model boats except sailing ones and slot cars (nowhere to do it), this old love, aircraft of a certain age and type and good models of them has proven its ability to stay with me.

So I started looking into it by doing a bit of internet research and joining an excellent British forum called RCMF.
I've been to the local flying site twice and been made very welcome by local club and forum members and have even chosen a suitable model, a De Havilland Hornet Moth.
I sent off for plans of a 46" span version and was appalled by the shoddy standard of draughtsmanship of these for the price, but I've checked and redrawn them and with a lot of pics from the net, I'm raring to go.
De Havilland Hornet Moth G-ADMT can't just fly. You have to learn first. Here I was lucky, in that a friend, keen to get me started, kindly has offered to build me a foam trainer, put a receiver and servos in it and teach me to fly. All I had to do was buy a suitable modern transmitter.
My dear wife agreed and so I have a very modern Spectrum DX5e coming (whatever that is!)

My new chums at the flying club tested my old engines and confirmed at least one was a "cracking little engine" and suitable for the proposed model.

To top it all, I discovered yesterday that the wonderful old Flying Club (full size) of which I used to be a very active member has recovered from its disastrous arson attack in 2003 and now has a Hornet Moth in residence! So you can tell where I'll be going very soon.

Check out a real English, grass field, tail-dragging rustic airfield at:-
I've flown several of the kites in the historic section of the Gallery, but they were all destroyed in the fire.

More anon., as I build my new challenge.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Water, water, everywhere....

And not a drop unregulated by faceless council tossers.

I've been getting a campaign started to re-instate waters used by once venerable model boat clubs to run petrol and diesel engined model boats and especially tethered hydroplanes.

During my researches, I find that there are only about 15 places in the country where you can still run an internal combustion engined (IC) model. And there are only six venues left with a tethered hydro capability.
Dozens have been stolen by councils, whose money-grabbing, backstabbing chancers have been giving it over to developers who all have that funny handshake, or are filled in to save money, when an infill operation would fund repairs to the pond for the next fifty years.
Laziness, lazy-mindedness, avarice, ignorance and downright crookedness are the reasons.

The great clubs have seen engineering developments, testing, record breaking and have sent their members to overseas venues to represent our country, often very successfully.
John Cobb was a regular visitor to Blackheath, yet that once fine record breaking venue is reduced to a couple of old farts with yachts. The council revoked old byelaws of 1932 and 1997 and simply stated that there would no longer be powered craft, meaning, specifically IC engines.
No consultation, no consideration, no advice sought, just a tatty sign next to the pond, which should, by rights, have been torn down and thrown away every time it appeared. The reason for all this? The council had passed responsibility for the place to a private company, no doubt some under the counter deal done with the funny handshake usually is.

The clubs are now populated by well pensioned old fools who just won't get on their hind legs and fight. So the only conclusion I can make is that they deserve what they get.

For my part, whilst I can't organise a tethered hydro meeting on my local river, I can certainly run what the hell I like on it without having to pay up to £60(!!) for a club annual membership or bother with a pointless insurance for public liability, much less a hire fee for a pond that was built for my kind in the twenties.

My Grandad was a founder member of Victoria Park Model Steam Boat Club in 1904, the world's oldest model boat club, yet even they have had serious threats to their existence. You can bet your life it wouldn't happen to a golf club, where most of these dodgey deals would have been done in the first place.

Friday, 1 April 2011

U2 can have a car like this....or not!

Well, finally finished the Mallock U2 Mk 18 for Mallock Sports. And what a faff it was. There is almost nowhere to glue the wing supports and no good way to fix the front mudguards.

It's mounted on the black Perspex base as much to keep it safe as to present it nicely, although it is a present for someone.
Underneath this is a very slim brass chassis so that it can be trundled, but not raced, PLEASE, round the new owner's slot track. It's very fragile.

Friday, 11 March 2011

The Mallock project

The Mallock U2 Mk18 is now reaching completion. I made the nose today and broke the corner off at the last minute, but superglue could not be found, so that's a priority.
The material is CIBATool, two layers of thin stuff, which was all I could find.
The engine cover and exhaust fairing have been left "generic" so that individual variations can be catered for. I envisage this model selling mainly to owners of real cars and all cars have variations to some extent. Those variations if not too extreme, can be catered for here before delivery.

Friday, 4 March 2011

And a similar lot.

The Speedwell Sprite is also finished and is ready for production by the same company. I was helped in the making of this by the owner of the actual car who contacted me with its history and some useful photographs of the car in competition in its day.

This was made from a resin cast of an earlier car and modified with pear wood and Milliput.

The Crusader...caped

The Clan Crusader is now finished, with its cape of grey Primer.

It should soon be in production with Slotcar Models and Kits as the 2nd placed car in the Manx Rally in 1971(??) It was second only to a Works Escort, which was not bad going for a brand new car in its first event.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

U2 can have a body like this...

Way back when we were allowed to build, register and drive what we liked without Nanny having a say in the matter and holding their palm out to be crossed with unjustifiable silver, a chap called Major Arthur Mallock built a little competition car, but used it on the road too. Thinking he could capitalise on this he offered the frames for £48-10 shillings. It cost 48 1/2 pounds and weighed 48 1/2 pounds. He lifted the Charles Atlas advertising slogan, by showing a feel for "text speak", advertising his little chassis in the 750 MC Bulletin...."U2 can have a body and chassis like mine". Thus began a series of Clubman's cars, all called U2 and now up to Mk.35. His cars and those developed by his sons, STILL dominate that specialised field of competition known as Clubman's Formula. Front engined Sports Racers, my favourite kind.
I decided that it was time a nice model was made. I made a
pattern many years ago in brass for a white metal kit in 1/43rd scale, but it never got produced.
So now, I'm doing a pattern in 1/32nd scale for a slot racer and have chosen the Mk 18 version as the most typical shape of a mid-era Clubman's car.
Help from Mallock Sports, who make the cars to this day has allowed me to do some drawings and I shall be cutting material very soon.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Patterns everywhere

It takes an age to put pictures on slot forum, so I thought I might as well use this blog to show some of my builds, mainly patterns for various ranges of cars.

The latest is a Clan Crusader in 1/32nd scale. It's made of wood with a little detailing in styrene where appropriate. The wood is pear, the only wood in my opinion to come close to modelling board which is great stuff, but has nasty dust and is expensive.

I did a Speedwell Sprite recently. I love all the different versions of these little cars. I had one once. It never let me down and was fun the whole time. Not that fast, but like a Kart on the bends.
This one was done using Milliput epoxy putty. marvellous stuff, made in Dolgellau.
I mentioned modelling board earlier. that would be Ebalta in Europe, CIBATool in Britain and Renshape in America. All much the same, just slightly different grades. These master patterns are made of it.
A Delahaye 135
A Maserati 6CL, also pre-War.
A Standard 8/10, unfinished at this stage.
Another material I certainly WON'T be working in again is wax. Ghastly stuff that gets everywhere and is a pig to smooth. I got this far with it, but then cast the model in resin and finished the pattern off in that.
It is a Labourdette Delage with the strange all glass window section. No pillars. Love that fin.
This Rover P6 racer was made the hard way. Balsa core, covered in car body filler, then carved.
This is just a very small selection of patterns I've made for slot racing, all 1/32nd scale.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The next stage

As you can see, I have removed FPF Models link from the home page as it will soon be all change on that front.
Dave Capelen of Slotcarmann will producing most, if not all of the models in the old range, possibly with some upgraded and with more bits. They will obviously be more expensive, but should be worthy of the increase.

Because I'd had some models planned for FPF which won't necessarily be on Dave's priority list, I shall endeavour to produce them myself when I can.

The first will be the S-type Invicta Low chassis. I have received so much help from Mike Hyatt, a man who virtually grew up with Invictas as run by his family friend, Donald Munro, that it's only fair that I do that one first.
It will be a big job as Invictas have so many individual louvres and these will all have to be put on the pattern individually. There's no way to cheat.
The next one will be the Trident Venturer, only because I used to have one and think it's about time there was a nice slot racing shell of that most beautiful of cars.
Then there will be a Piper, possibly two. On Tuesday, I will be visiting an old friend who used to have one of the three Le Mans GTRs. He still produces a track-day car made in the original's moulds, so I'll be measuring up for a model of that. But I also had a Piper GTA many years ago. The Piper road car, GTT and P2, is so under-known, that I think it should be done. Mine was a tarmac rally one, built from a very early car with the rare A-Series running gear, but the bodies were very similar on all of them.
And after these, the gorgeous Rejo. A car that makes even the lovely Lola Mk1 look a little ungainly.