The B&DSME was formed in 1924 by the owner of the Tarragona Hotel in Bournemouth.
Meetings were held in the basement of the hotel.
The photo shows a letter published in the Model Engineer & Electrician magazine on the 13th March 1924, from a Mr L. Bass, announcing the inauguration of the Bournemouth society.
Later before WW2, meetings were held in St Peter's Hall in Hinton Road.
After the war meetings were held at the Pembroke Shades Hotel at the top of Poole Hill.
The first track was in Southbourne, in the grounds of a school at the top of Tuckton Road.
A very early photograph of the Southbourne track taken around 1948. The three boys are from the Mortimer family. The loco still exists and is called Falcon.
By this time recognisable names, Lawrie Lawrence, Lyn Wright and Tony Cuff were involved.
During 1954/55 it was realised that the track at Southbourne was unsuitable, and so a move from the Tuckton Road site was planned, eventually a new track was built within the sports ground at Pelhams, home of the Civil Service Club in Manor Farm Road, Kinson. As Mr Lawrence worked for Post Office Telephones, the use of the CSSA site was assured. The railway was officially opened on Saturday 27th September 1958.
Around 1962/63 the Civil Service Club wanted the land for other purposes and the railway had to go.
It was decided by the committee to approach Bournemouth Corporation with a view to building a track on common land. The Director of Parks for the corporation was a go ahead young man called Ross Young, he was taken to the Southampton track and shown what a model railway in a public park was like, he took to the idea and various sites were considered including, Turbary Park, Iford Field, Redhill Park, but finally Kings Park was agreed as the best location.
So on the 3rd April 1965, work started on the Kings Park track, which was opened the following year. The track was situated between the athletic stadium and Dean Court football ground, home to AFC Bournemouth. It was a 1/3rd of a mile long, and had large radius curves and a station building constructed of stone. Steaming bays were provided with a spur line leading to a traverser and access to the main line.
After 37 years in Kings Park we were asked to leave the site due to the football ground expansion, which was going to swallow up our track. Lengthy discussions ensued with Bournemouth Council and the football club, and we were offered a lovely position in the Littledown Park, with a track of similar length to Kings Park. And so the new track was officially opened by the Mayor of Bournemouth on 11th April 2004.
The Bournemouth & District Society of Model Engineers has had many ups and downs over it's long history, but today it is still promoting our wonderful hobby.
This short history page is only a brief outline of the society, if you have anymore information, especially about the early years, please let us know.
The Presidents of the Society, include Sir Donald Bailey, D E (Lawrie) Lawrence, W L (Lyn) Wright, Richard Mantle.