Ilford & West Essex Model Railway Club
The home of Railway Modelling since 1930
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History of the Ilford & West Essex Model Railway Club

The Ilford & West Essex Model Railway Club was formed in 1930 and is one of the oldest model railway clubs in the UK - only a handful of clubs such as The Model Railway Club and the Wimbledon Model Railway Club and the Manchester Model Railway Society are known to have a longer history.

The Past

It all began back in 1930, when a young gentleman by the name of Ronnie Riddle (front right) advertised for like-minded railway modellers to attend a meeting in Ilford. The response was encouraging and the seeds of the Ilford & District Model Railway Club were sown.

Then, in February 1935, the West Essex Model Railway club (which had formed three years earlier) and the Ilford & District were amalgamated to form Ilford & West Essex Model Railway Club. Ronnie Riddle was the club's founding Secretary and became Life President, enabling his later years to be the most enjoyable as the club continued to grow in strength.

After the war the club established its headquarters in Hearne Road, Romford. Then in the mid-1950's a site was found adjacent to Chadwell Heath Railway Station, which to this day provides the club with its headquarters.

The first incarnation of the club house back in the mid-1950's was two Nissen huts with an LNER E4 cab as an entrance. Then in 1966 a pre-cast concrete building replaced the Nissen huts.

The club exhibition in those days was a four-day affair held at Ilford Town Hall, with nearly 10,000 enthusiasts attending at its peak. Unfortunately, as the number of clubs and events has grown it has not been possible to repeat these numbers.

The Future

The Covid-19 pandemic affected everyone's plans - ours included - but as of 2024 we resumed our annual WEST ESSEX MODELRAIL exhibition, albeit at a new venue, and our annual April till October Clubroom Open Days are back in full swing.

Coming up...


Sun 04 Aug 2024
Sun 01 Sep 2024
Sun 06 Oct 2024

Train rides, model railways & refreshments


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