History of the Society
Where it all began….
The present Society is the successor to the formerly named "Preston Society of Model Engineers". The Preston Society was active during the 1930s but at the outbreak of war it fell common to the attitudes of the time and more or less died through lack of interest and members. At cessation of hostilities about eight members re-incarnated the society.
From this stage the society grew and was able to stage an exhibition of models to coincide with the 1952 Preston Guild. The problem of finding space for a locomotive track arose and Preston Corporation were approached. They in turn made it very clear that no such assistance would be forthcoming. Undaunted, the members continued prospecting and land was located in Towngate, Leyland. This site housed the Lancastria Co-op in 1982, and is now the site for the new mega Tesco. This part of Leyland has changed beyond recognition in recent years! No security of tenure was possible but the members were satisfied to build a track and run on it for a few years.
An approach made to the then named Leyland Urban District Council (UDC) met with a very different response to that experienced with Preston. They provided the present idyllic setting at Worden Park at a peppercorn rent, the only stipulation being that "Leyland" was incorporated in the Society's title.
The re-naming very quickly produced the Leyland, Preston and District Society of Model Engineers. Armed with this ponderous title the members set to work during the winter of 1952/53 and erected a 2 1/2", 3 1/2" and 5" gauge track.
This 300ft long track was opened at Easter 1955 by Mrs Kelly who was then the Chairman of Leyland UDC. On the increase of society membership and locomotive population, the track was extended in 1968 to 565ft. The track was further extended in 1972 to 805ft, in 1978 to 851ft and yet again in 1983 to its present length of 1617ft. in 1995 a ground level 7 1/4" and 5" track was laid between the club house and the main car park. In 2005 we commenced redevelopment of our ground level track. The new layout consists of a continuous circuit of approximately one kilometre of 7 1/4" track.
We meet every other Thursday evening around 8 pm at Farington Conservative Club, for themed evenings in a very relaxed atmosphere, where members display items, appropriate to the theme, and talk, briefly, about their exhibit. We also have several talks throughout the year, on subjects of common interest, that are generally educational and informative.
Every Sunday and most Tuesdays there is another opportunity for members to meet at Worden park, where we offer train rides on our railway, or they simply have a brew and a chat in the pastoral surroundings of the park. There are also wide pathways around the park, suitable for miniature road vehicles.
Interested in Joining?....There is always a warm welcome for like-minded enthusiasts, prospective members and interested visitors of all ages, just turn up and say "Hello". Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.