The History of the Society

The society has been in existence for many years and was founded by the late Arthur "Len" Tucker.

In the early winter of 1974, Len Tucker, a curator in the National Maritime Museum, and John Bowen, a naval architect, gave a talk to the Thames Shiplovers and Ship Model Society in the City. During the journey home to Bromley with John Blight, Len mentioned that he had a great wish to start a ship modelling society where members would be able to meet South of the Thames. It was from this - perhaps wistful - thought, that the Society was born.

Officers were elected to run the Society’s affairs at a General Meeting in March 1975. Len Tucker became the first President, Geoffrey Dunn, CBE, FSIAD agreed to be Patron, and became a link with the local Council and community. Dr A P McGowan became Vice President and was a direct link with the National Maritime Museum.

In addition to monthly meetings, the foundations laid in the formative months of the Society established the ideas of an annual family outing to a venue of maritime interest, supporting regattas for those who made working models, and a bi-annual exhibition of members’ work. The first of these was held in 1975, opened by the Mayor of Bromley and this established a pattern that has been followed ever since, allowing many members of the public to see fine examples of the art and craft of the model shipwright and marine artist.

Since the Society’s formation, members have regularly entered their work in national exhibitions and competitions and the models have attracted numerous accolades for standards of excellence. A quarter of a century on the objectives originally set out are now part of the Society’s traditions.

Members still seek to achieve perfection, and by using new materials allied to old craftsmanship skills, standards continue to rise. Founder member John Blight summed up all that has been achieved by so many members when he reminded us that this is a hobby to be enjoyed by young, old, beginner and master craftsman, bringing pleasure to the observer and spreading knowledge, skills, techniques and artistry to all who aspire to the art and craft of the model shipwright.

Types of model. Members are involved in research and construction of many different classes and types of marine subject. These can be broadly categorised as: Working models; Navy Board models; Miniatures; Dioramas; Open boats; Maritime art.