In the spring of 1959, I was a 17 year old schoolboy living in Matlock. Having lived in small towns and rural areas all my life I knew nothing about trams but had been a serious train spotter and, more unusually, a bus spotter. The highlight of each month was the arrival of Buses Illustrated. In April I read a small paragraph in the Matlock Mercury which said that a tram museum run by volunteers was going to be set up in the disused Crich Quarry. I had read of the Tallylyn and Ffestiniog railways and so I though this might be interesting.
On Saturday, 2nd May I rode my bike up to Crich and looked down into the quarry from the Stand and saw four or five people and a dog pushing a small railway wagon full of stones. I went down and introduced myself to Denis Gill who was the leader of a Manchester area working party. Denis was very enthusiastic and ensured that I went away with a membership form and he followed this up by sending me an article about the Matlock cable tramway. I saved up my 7/6d and joined the Tramway Museum Society becoming member number 102.
Fifty years later I have accepted an invitation by the Chairman to a reception celebrating 50 Years of the National Tramway Museum at Crich which I will be proud to attend.
This same afternoon, I have also received issue 4 of Tramways Monthly. Who could have imagined the internet 50 years ago? Matlock still had a manual telephone exchange and only one house in our row had a phone and that was a party line.
We don't know what the world will be like in 2059 but we can be certain that the Museum will have to change and adapt in order to survive and prosper. So here's to another 50 eventful years!
Thanks for your comments Jack. I will be at Crich tomorrow afternoon and will look out for you and Dan and perhaps let you take me for a ride.