Transport fans drive down memory lane

MORE than half a century of transport memories were rekindled when the Ipswich Transport Society held a Golden Jubilee celebration at the Cobham Road museum.

MORE than half a century of transport memories were rekindled when the Ipswich Transport Society held a Golden Jubilee celebration at the Cobham Road museum.

The society was founded in 1957 by a group of transport enthusiasts in the town, mainly interested in the threatened steam trains on the main line, but also some with an interest in Ipswich's trolleybus system.

Legend has it that the society was formed on three benches in the Gippeswyck Park shelter in June 1957 - and the society takes that year as its foundation.

But the earliest records and minutes date back to the following year.

Several of the founder members of the society are still members today - some were boys when they joined and are now old hands on the committee.

Chairman John Day said the society continued to flourish because of the interest in transport in the town, especially through the Cobham Road museum, and because of the regular newsletter and talks which kept members in touch with each other.

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“We still have a lot of members across the area and the numbers are keeping up - we've had another two people join up today. It's a very active group,” he said.

To mark the anniversary an Ipswich Buses vehicle was named Jimmy James in honour of the society's founder and first chairman.

The most significant event in the history of the society was obtaining a lease for the former Trolleybus depot in Cobham Road to set up their museum in 1989. They took over the whole building four years later and in recent years it has been made weather-proof and much more secure thanks to a National Lottery grant.

The museum and society are now run as separate organisations to comply with charity rules, but still retain close ties.

Brian Dyes was a founder member of the society and a former chairman of the museum.

He said: “We've come a long way in the last 50 years, and the society and museum are still thriving. That is very good news for us and the town.”

To mark the 50th anniversary of the society's first excursion, a coach trip is being run on July 20 taking members from Ipswich to transport locations in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

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