My name is Richard G, and I have been involved in engineering all of my life, culminating in Head of Engineering at the NRM in York. I am retired by definition but I don’t think any engineer truly retires, they just change what they do and who pays! I was always interested in making things that ‘did something’ such as a soapbox when I was 7, and my interest in trains of all sizes was reinforced by trips around including train spotting during the days of steam on British Railways.
As a schoolboy of 14, I realised that I needed to get a lathe to make steam engines and my engineering teacher at school suggested that I made one in class….and this allowed me to make my first loco, LBSC’s ‘Rob Roy’, followed by a ‘Tich’ a couple of years later.
My interests prompted me to pursue engineering as a career, and after University I followed an apprenticeship and then jobs in the merchant navy and with a number of engineering companies leading to my role at the NRM.
I ‘got about’ as a result of my pursuit of engineering related heritage activities and engineering training and was lucky to be asked to help in other activities such as advising on engine matters with the SS Great Britain Trust, supporting young engineers and then broadcasting including Scrapheap Challenge (Channel 4) and Timewatch (BBC2) and some others linked inevitably to steam!
As you can see, the separation between my jobs and my hobbies started to get somewhat blurred and I have latterly regarded my job as my hobby (and vice versa!). Nevertheless, I have pursued my own model engineering interests, starting when I could get suitable tools and time from my studies and career and I am now building my fourteenth miniature locomotive to one fifth scale (of an Isle of Man Beyer Peacock). I do enjoy other challenges, and my 71/4”gauge Rodley steam crane was somewhat different to a locomotive!
I like designing things that I can then make, with some emphasis on the unusual, and although I do not produce fine engineering drawings, my ‘pencil’ sketches are usually enough to allow me to get making parts!
I am a member of the York Model Engineering Society, and, like many clubs, this is a great place to meet up and chat about common interests and get advice and help. My recommendation to young model engineers is to join a suitable club and attach yourself to someone who will guide and support you while you get learning!
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