The following details are a brief description of previous lectures given from Oct 2013 – to May 2014,  Oct 2014 – to May 2015, Oct 2015 – May 2016 , Oct 2016 – May 2017, Oct 2017 – May 2018 Oct 2018 -May 2019

The following pages give all members and visitors to our website the chance to review and reflect on many varied and interesting previous lectures enjoyed, and an insight into the committee members work to provide these lectures.



October 2013 – May 2014

7th November 2013 


The Peterborough Railway Water Supply in the 19th Century.

This is a new presentation by Peter Waszak MSc., a local historian and author.  While the history of the city’s public water supply is well known (in the 1870s the Peterborough Corporation obtained piped water from Lincolnshire for its citizens) the story of how the railways in Peterborough obtained their own water supply in unprecedented volumes for their steam locomotives and works has never yet been told. It is a story of corporate greed, corruption and mismanagement.

The talk will include not just provision for the railway locomotives and engine sheds, goods yards and stations, but also the supply of drinking water for domestic purposes at the Stations, Great Northern Hotel, and for company employees at the GNR New England cottages and accommodation provided by the other railway company’s. It is a story of high handed action by the railways with a total disregard of the rights of others.


5th December 2013 

The history and development of Radial Aero Engines, featuring the Webster Whirlwind radials

By Ron Webster. 

This is the personal story of one man’s work to overcome the Problems of design,machining, casting, and finance (or the lack of it !) to produce a radial aero engine, firstly in 5 cylinders form, then 7 cylinders. The 5 cylinder is called the Webster Whirlwind.


6th February 2014

Peter Brotherhood

Speaker: Brian Waterland

Brotherhoods the “Engineers” the lecture covers Peter, his father, and his son, and the impact they made on the engineering industry, with their innovation, and products.


6th March 2014


Engineering and economics in harmony

Speaker: Roger Adams

For over a century Microcars have formed a significant part of the motoring landscape. This talk will explore the drivers behindthe cycles of activity and some of the design and commercial solutions that were adopted, especially in the post- WW2 era.


3rd April 2014  

The Cathedral Organ:

 Frank Reader.

Following his retirement from Perkins Engines, Frank has begun a new part-time career. As an amateur organist, he has always had an interest in organ building, and the opportunity arose for him to help renovate historic organs and assist with building new ones – for example Worcester Cathedral and Newcastle Catholic Cathedral. His talk covers the design and construction of these, together with illustrations from these recent organs he has helped to build.’


1st May 2014

“The history of Mills and millers”

Geoffrey Lee

Water, tidal and windmills – how they work and how they have developed through time. The rise and fall of water mills. Eling and Woodbridge tide mills. Windmills and their uses. Mills which still exist and can be visited. The family history of millers. The work of millwrights. Some Lincolnshire mills and their histories.

The following details are a brief description of  the  lectures given 2014 – 2015

2nd October 2014

Quicksilver – Britain’s World Water Speed Record Challenge

by Nigel Macknight, Driver/Team Leader


Reclaiming the water-speed record for Britain is the daunting but highly-stimulating challenge Nigel Macknight set for himself and his team. The record has been held by Australia for 35 years and stands at 317.6 mph. This multi-media presentation summarises the progress made thus far and includes film-clips illustrating the record’s dramatic history. Nigel will then be updating us on his project’s progress over the period since he last visited us in 2010.

An informative and interesting update to the project,the audience were given an insight into the current project,regarding the technological advances,the additional funding required, and how much further it is towards the actual attempt,on the world water speed record,which is currently around two and a half years.



6th November 2014

“50 years of tractor production in Basildon and how technology has changed the face of agriculture”

“The New Holland tractor factory in Basildon Essex reaches a major milestone in its history with 2014 marking 50 years since the first tractor rolled off the production line. We look back over the years to see how technology has evolved and how these technological advances have changed the way we farm. We will also look and the technology of today and look in to the developments of the future.”
An exceptionally interesting and entertaining lecture, giving an insight into the future of tractor technology, and a look back to previous times.The tractor today is a vastly different machine to previous years.

Speaker: Mark Howell


4th December 2014

“Contour Autocraft”

Speaker: Bruce Macleod

As well as the engineering giants of Peterborough,the area has always hosted amyriad of “small specialist”enterprises. One such is the Contour Group, originating from the vehicle body building and panel beating skills of my father, Ian Macleod,broadening into specialist vehicle body and architectural metalwork manufacture, and skills training,now driven on by son Bruce.The materials and and processes are traditional; the results may be so (say a Jaguar XK body guaranteed to match the original form) or may not! The story of 2012, was the order for 600+ individually and uniquely shaped copper panels, all delivered against a rather fixed deadline, as the petals for the London Olympic Flame – and all made in Thorney! Bruce Macleod will speak about the Contour Enterprise, his business, engineering and Olympic experiences, and along the way show that, traditional metal forming skills are alive and well, in Peterborough, and providing products for the world.

The extensive craftmanship this company demonstrated to our audience,was amazing,firstly to bring back to life some very old, and in certain cases extremely rare cars,as if they had only just left the showroom. Bruce also demonstrated how,from an initial order of 204 petals,which grew into a colossal 613 petals, they manged to deliver them to a very tight and demanding schedule. Although the video suffered a failure during the lecture (which will possibly be now included in the next lecture) an interesting question and answer session developed.



5th February 2015

“The Ffestiniog Railway”


Speaker: Raymond Elliot

I discovered the Ffestiniog railway for the first time as a 12 yr old in 1958,when my parents decided to have a holiday in North Wales,and I was completely capitaved by it! I joined the supporting Ffestiniog Railway Society, as a junior member,becoming a life member in 1963. I later joined the East Anglian group of the society,based in Cambridge,and I am now Group Chairman of the society,secretary,working party organiser,and write most of the newsletter! I have been involved in fundraising for the society for many years,and work for the company as a steward at many events,where locomotives are on display for publicity purposes. I am also pretty handy at carriage cleaning! My talk will cover the Railway, it’s history and why it is so special.

A superb lecture, giving a detailed and informative history of the Railway from an industrial beginning,through to the present commercial use. The story told of the many twists and turns over what was an 140 year period,with the initial involvement of an original british MP,with an exceptional passion for the concept of the first Ffestiniog railway,and through to today’s position as not only a major tourist attraction,but a viable railway coach builder. The society looks forward to a further exciting lecture on other developments,particularly the Welsh Railway, not covered at this event.



5th March 2014

Global Warming – “Fact or fiction”

by Mike Hawkins

Global warming is a contentious issue,with the various factions claiming completely contradictory forecasts. I will put some of the facts in front of the audience,and prepare for questions,to allow the audience to make up it’s own mind.

Once the facts regarding C02 and particulates were put before the audience, a lively and interesting debate ensued, which given time would probably gone well into the night. An excellent presntation of the facts.



2nd April 2015

“The surprising world of model aircraft”

Speaker: Brian Lever


The talk will feature information on Free Flight, Control Line and Radio Control Model Aircraft. and Information on power types :- Diesel, Glow, Petrol, Electric, Co2, Rubber and Solid Rocket Motors. Models to be shown will range from 3 grams and 9” span up to over 2 meters and weighing several pounds. Building materials such as foam, carbon fibre and covering films will be discussed along with traditional balsa, tissue and nylon. There will be one or two surprises as the title of the talk mentions there may be up to three club members providing information on their particular areas of specialisation to provide plenty of interest and variety.
Many thanks to Brian and his “flight crew” for giving our members a detailed, and often hilarious insight,into the model aircraft world,with the many recollections of events,over the years the club has been together. The lecture covered every form of model aircraft flying,from the early hand wound motors,to present day wireless technology. The club meet most weeks at Ferry Meadows,and Thorpe Meadows,Peterborough,and will always give a warm welcome to new model aircraft enthusiasts.


7th May 2015

“MG performance engines”

j3 a

The photograph above shows the,MG J3 –J3768 at the Brooklands centenary, with PES members, David Kempton and Mike Jakeman enjoying “re-enactment” of the car’s Brooklands silver medal win there in 1934.

Speaker: David Kempton

In the 1930’s the MG car company held most speed records, short and long distance, for small cars, and also won many major races such as Mille Migla and the TT.The ultimate development of their iconic OHC engine delivered more specific bhp/litre than any road engine pre-war, including the ERAs and mighty Mercedes and Auto Unions.The talk will cover the development of this illustrious road/racing brand and their OHC engines in the 1930’s,I have been interested in OHC MGs since acquiring one in 1975, and this accelerated after 1983, when I was lucky to add one of their “racing shop” built cars, the J3, to my stock. Research over the past 30 years makes me knowledgeable on the subject, though not an authority as such. I have access to a lot of published material and have rubbed shoulders with some of the more authoritative members of the MG brigade.The photograph above shows the,MG J3 –J3768 at the Brooklands centenary, with PES members, David Kempton and Mike Jakeman enjoying “re-enactment” of the car’s Brooklands silver medal win there in 1934.

One for our motoring enthusiasts,a very interesting history of the MG marque,from the humble beginnings of the brands which became known throughout the world,as major car designers and makers,forming from a small division called Morris Garages,the MG cars. The history of their racing prowess,and development of the 4cyl and 6cyl engines,providing a platform for many racing successes,during the 1930’s was truly fascinating. An excellent lecture from a committed MG owner / restorer, and Society member.


VENUE: The Forum, Perkins Engines, PE1 5TQ Access by Gate 4,off Perkins Parkway.

OCTOBER 1st 2015

“Balloons,bleriots and barnstorming,200 years of flying for fun”

Speaker: Alistair Goodrum.


Since the late-18th Century, ordinary people have flocked to gaze upon daring feats by aviators. Flying soon turned into a public spectacle and was exploited financially from its very beginning. Balloons, Bleriots & Barnstormers will recall such aerial activity in Peterborough and the Fens that was representative of the progress of general aviation over two centuries. So, ‘take off’ with pioneering aeronauts; share dramas in Fenland skies in the ‘naughty-(18)nineties; loop-the-loop with pre-WW1 airshow pilots, and joy-ride through the heyday of the inter-war air circuses of Cobham and his ilk, up to the start of WW2.

November 5th 2015

“Compressed and Liquified Natural Gas.”

“The application of Natural Gas to fuel reciprocating engines as the pathway to a future 
  hydrogen economy “
I was planning to introduce the fuel its various forms, storage and dispensing, then to various applications
in both spark and dual fuel engines, with a wee bit of emissions thrown in.
Most will be applications we have worked on.

Speaker: Brian McMurray.

December 3rd 2015

“The history of Perkines Engines.”

Speaker: David Boulton.[1]

The lecture will trace the history of the Perkins Engines group from the 1930s through to the 2000s, its trials and successes, its people, products, and its place in Peterborough’s industrial heritage.


January 2016 (no lecture held)


February 4th 2016

The Crossrail project.

Speaker: Michael Redfern (Crossrail).

Frank Jenkins

Frank Jenkins

Crossrail - Ready to Dig event

Crossrail – Ready to Dig event

Crossrail is currently Europe’s largest construction project, costing £14.8 Billion. It involves 42Km of new tunnelling, connecting with 30 existing stations and building 10 new ones, it runs from Reading to the West of London, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East of London. When complete in late 2018 it will bring over 1.5 million commuters within 45 minutes of central London.This talk will give an overview of the project and describe the construction of the Victoria Dock Portal, which will carry the line from the tunnels running under central London to surface level and the station at Custom House next to the ExCEL exhibition centre.

March 3rd 2016

“Engineering the Nene Park, Peterborough”

Speaker: Peter Leverington.

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Nene Park was constructed in the 1970’s by Peterborough Development Corporation. It was a holistic and innovative Engineering Project, showing Engineering skills being used to their maximum. There were several engineering problems facing the Development, the Construction of Queensgate (requiring large quantities of sand and aggregates). The need for a new bridge east of Peterborough which impacted on the rowing course used by a local rowing club. The need to provide additional flood plain storage to protect Peterborough from flooding resulting from additional runoff from the housing developments. By turning the area into a country park, with one of the most popular camp sites in the Uk enabled the Development Corporation to fulfil all these requirements and left Peterborough with an excellent recreational facility as a fitting memorial to its work.

April 7th 2016

“The Welsh Highland railway”

Speaker: Ray Elliot


“The Welsh Highland Railway connected the Ffestiniog Railway at Porthmadog
with Caernarfon, but all services ceased in 1937 after years of running at a
loss. The Government requisitioned all assets except land and buildings for
the war effort in 1941, and the tracks, rolling stock, and locomotives sold
or scrapped. After several abortive attempts by various groups to purchase
the trackbed from the Official Receiver, it was sold on Deputy Prime
Minister John Prescott’s instructions to the Ffestiniog Railway in 1995.
Sixteen years and £28M later Caernarfon was again linked by the WHR to the FR at Porthmadog.”

May 5th 2016

“The English Electric GT3 Locomotive”

Speaker: Tim Coles.

IMG_6569 rev 1

” A talk about the research and work which went into producing an accurate model of the Gas Turbine powered English Electric GT3 locomotive”

The following details are a brief description of all the lectures given from Oct 2016 – May 2017.



Annual General meeting, followed at 7.30pm by Caterpillars, Guinea Pigs and Goldfish:

(Nimrod XW666 …May Day…May Day)

 Speaker: Art Stacey (Squadron Leader Rtd.)

Thursday 3rd November (7.30pm)

“The London & North Eastern Railway:



  A general overview of the London North East Railway (LNER) covering its origins, notable events, its people and some information on the locomotives.

Speaker: Jonathan Wray

Thursday 1st December(7.30pm)



Whisky Galore – Manufacture of a single Malt Whisky.

It is 75 years since the famous shipwreck,and this year sees the latest version of this epic story,released in a new film.The incident on the rocks off the Hebridean island of Eriskay on that February morning,would never have been globall famous if it had not been for the special cargo in hold 5,of the stricken Harrison line vessel,aptly named the SS Politician. The talk will “attempt” to be educational in content,with a detailed pictoral account of the processes used in the manufacturing of a single malt whisky produced in Scotland.

Speaker: Brian McMurray.

2017 January NO MEETING.

Thursday 2nd February (7.30pm)



Wiggin Hall St Germans Pumping Station – The UK’s largest and most sophisticated land drainage pumping station.

From west of the A1(M) to the coast at Kings Lynn,land and property is reliant on pumped drainage. The lecture will be about the construction of the £40M St Germans project,that delivered the UK’s largest and most sophisticated land drainage pumping station.With six 1.25 megawatt motors powering pumps which can together lift in excess of 100 tonnes of water per second(equivalent to emptying 3 Olympic sized swimming pools per minute) the most challenging and rewarding project of the speakers career to date.

Speaker: David Thomas The Middle Level Commissioners Chief Engineer. 

Thursday 2nd March (7.30pm)



“The Innovators” – designers who made significant contributions to motor racing and road car design and development in the post war era.
Such people as “Lawrie” Bond – motor scooters, Bond Minicars, Berkeley Sports Car, water scooters, Bond Equipe, etc and Frank Costin — aerodynamics for Lotus sports racing cars, design input for World Championship winning Vanwall, Marcos cars with wooden monocoque chassis, Protos Formula 3 car with advanced aerodynamics and wooden monocoque chassis, Amigo GT car, and many other projects.

Speaker: Jeff Ward

Thursday 6th April (7.30pm)


“Seafire – From thoroughbred to flawed expedient”

  Development from the thoroughbred Spitfire to Naval Seafire.

Speaker: Terry McCarthy.

Thursday 4th May (7.30pm)



Reconstructing a forgotten canal:Stamford Canal, part of the Welland Navigation. 

The Newcomers and visitors to West Deeping thought it was no more than a ditch!
In fact, the ‘Navigation’ which passed through the village, connecting Stamford to the Wash, was one of Britain’s earliest canals since Roman times. In use from the 1660s, it was still carrying traffic 200 years later. But since it was sold off in the 1870s, much of its history has been lost and forgotten.
Few archival records of its construction or operation have been found but the canal course and the remains of locks and bridges can still be seen – if one knows where to look.
West Deeping Heritage Group wanted to ensure that the canal would not be forgotten by future generations. With the help of Heritage Lottery funding, they set out to reconstruct its history. <>Would-be historians scoured the archives and sifted through previous research; keen walkers surveyed its route and found the sites of vanished locks using old maps; they consulted an expert from the Panel of Historic Engineering Works about its construction.
This talk is about what they discovered – from visual evidence and from archives, including the notebook of a water engineer dating back to 1699 and a register of the vessels that used the Welland Navigation in 1795 – to name just a couple of examples.
There are many gaps in the reconstruction of the Stamford Canal’s history, and it will never flow again, but its significance in terms of industrial archaeology and historic engineering should not be forgotten.

Speaker: Maggie Ashcroft (West Deeping Heritage Group)

THURSDAY 5TH OCTOBER  2017 AGM at 7.00 pm) followed by:


Speaker: Brian Keegan
This talk will be provide‘A brief history of the developmentof tunnelling,using examples ranging from Brunel’s Thames tunnel,London underground and Crossrail.

 “Church Clocks, and the Origin of Time”.
Speaker: Derek Brown.

What is the origin of our concept of time and how did it come about over the past few millennia?
A look at the division of time as we now know it and the various methods of measurement over the ages.

This is linked via the speaker’s life-long interest in model engineering to the church clock and his involvement in the maintenance of a number of these instruments within a 15 mile radius of Stamford.

“Parachutes”-a history of design and application’.

Speaker:  Andy Cowley,

who was Engineering Manager and Principal Engineer at Airborne Systems (previously Irvin Aerospace) for some 37 years. He has been involved in the design and testing of parachutes and aerospace safety equipment for over 37 years prior to his retirement at the end of 2016.Synopsis: This presentation will provide a history of the development of parachutes from their early days of balloon descents to the recovery of aerospace vehicles and descent control onto other planets. It will show the various types and uses of parachutes and include the various trials utilised to qualify the systems. Andy will supplement the presentation by bringing some different types of parachutes for viewing.


 “The Pathfinder Force”
Speaker: Sqn Leader Kevin Dalley RAF (retired)

 The presentation begins by describing the RAF in 1939,personnel and aircraft,and the limited effectiveness of bomber command at the start of world war 2. There is an explanation as to why we were not winning the war against Hitlers Germany,including events which resulted in the formation of the Pathfinder  Force,established at RAF Wyton in August 1942. There are descriptions of the Stirling,Halifax and Lancaster bombers,how the crew operated them,their experiences and techniques used to identify targets over Germany. Throughout the presentation are references to some notable war time personalities.

 “An Engineer At Sea and Aground”
Speaker: Roger Moseley

“Late life experience of a Ferguson TED20”
Speaker: David Cowcill.
A not to serious review of twelve years experience of owning and operating a 1949 Ferguson tractor,with several associated Ferguson System implements.
Along the way a celebration of the story of Harry Ferguson,from humble beginnings in Northern Ireland,to the creation in 1953 of Massey-Harris-Ferguson,the forerunner of the global Massey Ferguson brand we all know today. 

Thursday May 3rd 2018
“Gods’s Wonderful Railway – An introduction to the Great Western Railway”.
Speaker: Jonathon Wray;
It is probably fair to say that, to its fans, the Great Western Railway was as near to paradise as it is possible to get. In this talk Jonathan Wray will give an introduction to the railway, its construction, its history and describe what made it tick.


THURSDAY 4th OCTOBER 2018 AGM at 7.00 pm) followed by:

W.O.BENTLEY. His engineering and racing company.

Speaker: Phillip Strickland.

The talk will be about W.O. Bentley, his engineering life, the problems with creating a race team, development of the 4 and six cylinder cars between 1920 and 1931, winning and losing.
I will include my experience of racing and rallying these cars, their versatility, durability and the modern day problems of keeping original machinery going.
I will look briefly at supercharging and tyre degradation caused by prodigious power and little chassis grip.
Finally i will finish by talking about the legacy of the original company, and some of the personalities who emerged to create their own history.

“An Engineer At Sea and Ashore”
Speaker: Roger Moseley
Training and still all at sea:
Joining the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.The Marine Engineer Cadetship. First Ship after training and general upward progression.Miscellaneous Courses.
What came after:
Island Life and then Serendipity. Solomon Island Sojourn. Uk. Solomon’s Islands return. Vietnam
Return to Uk:
Agency Work. Fleet Engineer on the Canals. Back to the Agency. I.S.I (not Pakistan Military Intelligence)


” Blue Plaques”
Speaker Toby Wood, vice-chairman of Peterborough Civic Society.

Toby Wood will talk about the twenty new blue plaques erected by the society in the city centre as well as giving a brief recap on the old aluminium plaques that preceded them.
The plaques commemorate people and places that are key components of Peterborough’s history.
Subjects as varied as the Embassy Theatre, St Thomas Becket and Deacon’s School are all mentioned.

JAN 2019.. No Lecture.

Thursday 7th February 2019
W H Balderston
Speaker: Robin Homewood.

The history and future of motorcycles and motorcycling in the Peterborough area,as seen through the eyes of W.H.Balderston`s who,for almost 80 years,have been a leading motorcycle dealership in the area.

Thursday 7th March 2019
Speaker: Rod Kirby. (Former aerodynamics research/project feasibility,Hawker Siddley future projects department.

In 1943 a specification was issued calling for a research aircraft with a 1000 mph maximum to be powered by an extremely advanced Whittle turbojet engine. Aircraft diving in combat at half that speed had suffered violent buffeting and loss of control,many pilots had been unable to pull out,and the term graveyard dive entered their vocabulary.
Aerodynamicists were aware that airflow characteristics changed as aircraft approached the speed of sound(660mph at altitude) but knowledge was scant and conflicting,and the challenge presented in meeting the specification,was daunting in the extreme.
The theoretical picture pieced together by the aerodynamicists at Miles aircraft,enabled them to produce a design which,with the benefit of hindsight,would not only have met,but exceeded the specification requirements.
The design process will be discussed,including the visits made to ‘experts’ in an attempt to establish sound from less sound information,on which to base the design.
Sadly the resulting aircraft was abruptly cancelled in February 1946 under a cloud of secrecy and misinformation, whithin months of its completion,scheduled for the summer of that year. The reasons for the cancellation have been hotly disputed ever since,and i shall discuss some of these. What is certain however,is that this one cancellation caused Britain to lose the lead we once had in the design of transonic and supersonic aircraft,as well as advance jet engines.(The Whittle engine alone was a technical tour-de-force well over ten years ahead of it’s time) It took over a year later for the Americans to nudge beyond Mach 1 in October 1947 with the rocket powered Bell X-1 and ,dropped from a bomber gliding back to earth to land a vast dry desert facility,which was not available on our tiny island.

Thursday 2nd May 2019.
“Aircraft development in the 30’s”
Speaker: Terry McCarthy.

“The 1930s were a time of momentous change for aircraft development. The presentation demonstrates that much British aircraft development, military and civil, was constrained by the Depression. Consequently, many aircraft designs were obsolescent from their conception, until the impact of overseas developments hit home. The onset of war prevented the UK industry ‘catching-up’, except in military aircraft.”

“Peterborough Fletton Quays Development”
Speaker: Howard Bright.BA(hons)&BSc(hons)
Principal Investment Manager,Peterborough Investment Partnership.

The history of the Fletton Quays site
The approach/vision for the development
Progress to date
What the completed development will look like.




Meetings 7:00pm/7.30pm at: “The Forum”, Perkins Engines Co Ltd, Eastfield, Peterborough PE1 5FQ (Access via gate No.4) For further information go to the web site at:

VENUE: The Forum, Perkins Engines, PE1 5FQ Access by Gate 4,off Perkins Parkway.