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Club History
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Rugeley Model Boat Club History

Rugeley Power Station

The two Rugeley Power Stations were coal-fired power stations located on the River Trent at Rugeley. The first power station on the site, Rugeley A power station was opened in 1961, but has since been closed and demolished.
Rugeley B power station was commissioned in 1970 and closed on 8 June 2016, with demolition starting in Autumn 2018. The Chimney was demolished on 24th January 2021 and the Cooling Towers came down in Summer 2021. Rugeley B had an output of 1,000 megawatts (MW) and had a 400 kilovolt (kV) connection to the national grid. The B station provided enough electricity to power roughly half a million homes.
Aerial View

To construct the newer B Station the contractors had to raise the ground level to avoid flooding from the River Trent. Two borrow pits were used, and the smaller one became the lake used by the modellers. See the picture on right. The Midlands Electricity Generating Board built a Sports and Social Club alongside the smaller pit in the early 1970's. This Midlands Electricity Sports & Social Club was established for employees. In the early days the number of associates was strictly limited to only 10% of all staff, giving only 125 associates (including the wives of members!) ; As you can imagine there was quite a waiting list for membership from people outside the power station.
Station and Club

The main club established subsidiary sections such as fishing, modelling etc.. but you always had to join the main club first. The Social Club ran its own licenced bar and lounge area, had a snooker room with two full sized tables, a ballroom with stage, a games room, and after a few years, expanded the facilities and added a small kitchen and food became available. See the pictures below A model railway section built and operated a raised off the ground 5" gauge rail track about ½ mile long. They built and operated beautiful model steam engines.

Inside the Club

At an early stage in its history the Power Station tried to fill-in the lake by dumping the waste ash - unfortunately this was too alkaline and it killed the fish! The solution eventually adopted was to install two steam dredgers, working from each end of the lake and to dredge the ash out and replace it with soil. The work was not totally completed, and two small islands were left in the middle of the lake, but at least the fish could survive. The story is that there was an official visit by a senior person (royalty?) and they were instructed to remove the unsightly steam dredgers - but they hadn't quite finished - hence the islands.

Lake and Club

Rugeley Power Station Model Club (RPSMC)

Early Modellers 1980 The Operational Engineer started the model club in about 1976 with Brian Machin and Alan Stewart as founder members. The Model Boat Club built and sailed both model yachts and scale models.

In September 1981 they hosted a national MYA (Model Yacht Association) meeting on the much larger fishermans pool at the rear of B station. Most early models were cabin cruisers or fast patrol boats (Keilcraft, Norstar kits) as the b/w picture circa mid 1980 s shows.

One early member scratch built a steam tug, but after obtaining the boiler and engine found he had to increase the bulwarks by 2" to increase the buoyancy so it would actually float! Although many members found it amusing, once the teething problems were over it was a model that sailed well.

Modellers Scale models and early electric radio controlled models developed with the occasional "fun boat" operated ; As technology improved, so did the electronics in boats - perhaps one of the biggest changes being when transmitters changed from using crystals on 40MHz, requiring everyone to be on a different channel, compared to the multi-channelled 2.4GHz transmitters now used.

Club meetings were mostly on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, always sharing the lake with the fishing club. Members also built and operated land models, such as cars, tanks, and articulated lorries etc.. In the last few years of the club we flew model indoor helicopters and drones in the winter evenings in the main ball room - but were banned when the Christmas decorations went up!

Brass Band Xmas

The Power Station Brass Band always gave a Christmas Concert - great fun and well supported by the Modellers and other groups. The Model Club attendees nearly always won the " 7 Swans A-swimming" prize in the 12 days of Christmas.

Open Day Prof 2013 Display

The Power Station had annual "Open Days" when many members of the public came into the grounds. The Model Club always put on very popular good displays, see picture, and would exhibit member's models, have raffles, boat competitions, races, even a public "blind sailing" event described as follows:
(One person sits on chair blindfolded or looking other way with the transmitter, while the second person issues seaman-like verbal instructions to control the boat on a fixed course, usually involving docking!)

The Model club was always appreciated by the Station Management, and with such a large staff at the two Stations, there was always a good crowd in attendance. The Brass Band would play, the model steam trains were carrying children, and lots of activities for children and adults were made available - Great fun was had by all.

Once memorable incident with the Fishing Club was when, without telling us, they decided to string wires and netting across the lake to stop the Cormorants from catching the fish stock. It certainly stopped the model sailing for a time until an agreement was reached!
The dredging discussed earlier involved a small landing stage and originally the Model club used the staging and built a hut at the North end of the lake. When the A Station and the separate Lea Hall colliery were demolished the Social Club started a golf section and built a small course near our Modeller's hut! This caused some consternation and was quite dangerous. So the model club then moved nearer the Social Club and built a solid concrete jetty with access steps. This was to remain the main sailing area for the club.

Club Members 2012

At its peak the Rugeley Power Station Model Club had about 45 members and associates, but as few youngsters had the skills, or patience, to build models, the numbers had reduced to about 17 members when it moved in March 2017 to Manor Park.

Victoria Race The Model Club always had a full calendar.

In 2011 the club started regular fortnightly yacht races using kit built Victoria Yachts for the "Brian Roger's Challenge Trophy". Click on Yachts & Racing on left for more information. The Victorias are not the easiest model yacht to sail, and members all tweaked the basic design, butwe ended up with an inexpensive yacvht class that continues to give members great fun - they are all very evenly matched, even the newcomers have fun!

Yachting alternated with fast 500 electric boat races for a Challenge Cup. RPSMC often had inter-club events with other local model boat clubs.

Sunset Cruise One of the more spectacular events was the annual "Sunset Cruise" where after sailing models in the afternoon, followed by a beer and meal, when the sun set, we would return to the poolside to sail models all with the boats illuminated - prizes were given for models with correct scale navigation lights, as well as for the most adventurous fun boat built with spectacular flashing LED light shows! Always a memorable event.

The last few years at Rugeley saw the club sail on Wednesday afternoons, followed by a beer and meal, excellently cooked and served by Lorraine, concluding in evening, either by sailing again in the summer, or helicopters in the winter! They were idyllic times, and we were all saddened to be evicted at end of March 2017 as the Power Station and Social Club site closed. The members still have the memories, and many still keep in touch.

Rugeley Model Boat Club (RMBC)

In advance of the closure of the RPSMC, the club searched for an alternative location in late 2016. Some fifteen venues in the area were visited and considered, and at that time, only one was deemed suitable, so the Club moved and re-established itself to be affiliated with Manor Park Sailing Club at the large river-fed lakes at Kings Bromley -within sight of the Power Station cooling towers.

Note that when we decided to move to Manor Park, the Aldridge Model Boat Club had NOT been formed and they only started building it's jetties suitable for scale model launching etc. in early 2018. Mind you, they suffer with serious weed problems and have to suspend sailing in hot weather! in contrast Manor Park being River fed doesn't get a weed problem.

The ClubhouseAlthough we still have access to a modern club house, toilets, galley and lakeside patio, unfortunately there is no alcohol licence and no food available. We now meet Monday afternoons, but because the lakes are so large, we can really sail anytime and not bother anybody. We officially changed our name in 2017, preferring to drop the Power Station association bit, and adding Boat as we rarely now use land models or helicopters etc - it's nearly all boats.

Our new lake is SUPERB for model yachting, with good access, excellent clear water and large enough to almost always get wind! It is regarded as one of the better MYA lakes in the UK, so there is another model yacht club on the site, see link on left of this page, as Manor Park Radio Sailing Club (MPRSC). They sail much more expensive model yachts from a seperate clubhouse on the site, usually Wednesday and Sunday mornings, and keep to the official rules of MYA and RYA when racing! They are MYA affiliated and members compete in both National and International events, hosting some events at Kings Bromley. We are good neighbours, and share a rescue boat.

Sailing of RMBC scale models is more limited, and having more open water than previously at Rugeley, it is very dependant on the weather, but we do have suitable launching areas for models, and allocate specific days for scale models. See our Timetable.

We remain a small friendly club who just enjoy sailing, without too many rules - we sail for fun. Our yacht sailing took on a new dimension in 2019 when we started to include the popular DragonFlite 95 yachts - more expensive to buy than the Victoria, but a beautifully balanced yacht for sailing in most weather conditions.

We still get a lot of enjoyment out of our weekly sailing meets, keep our "business meetings" to a minimum, and maintain the spirit of the original club - it is alive and well and thriving - So much so that we held a memorable Queen's Platinum Jublilee Regatta in June 2022 and you can see more of that day by clicking the link on the left. Our eternal thanks must go back to those founding members who had the foresight to start this most enjoyable club.

If we've interested you, then why not come along and see for yourself! Follow the links on left.
Last updated :
13th June 2022

email us at enquiries@rugeleymodelclub.org.uk
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