In the Autumn of 1951, Burgess Hill Rotary Club held a models exhibition in St. John’s Parish Hall, and during this event, a meeting was held with a view to starting a local models group. At this meeting, two possible club names were put forward, these being the Burgess Hill Model Engineering Society and the Burgess Hill Model Making Society (for the furtherance of Arts & Crafts). At a vote, the latter name was carried unanimously..
The newly formed Society primarily covering model planes and trains proceeded to advertise for new members and part of this activity involved holding its first club exhibition in the town in early 1952. Model aircraft and trains formed the basis for the show which proved successful. Regular club meetings continued to be held, but in September 1954, because of the almost complete fall off of members amongst the aircraft section, it was agreed that the Burgess Hill Model Making Society (for the furtherance of Arts & Crafts) should be dissolved. A notice to this effect was duly posted in the Mid Sussex Times.
Members from the railway section remained in contact with each other and, in November 1954, they formed a group known as the Burgess Hill Miniature Railway Circle. The assets of the dissolved Burgess Hill Model Making Society (for the furtherance of Arts & Crafts) were taken over with model aircraft items being disposed of in a favourable manner. Membership steadily increased and at the club’s December 1956 Annual General Meeting it was agreed that the name should be changed to the Burgess Hill Miniature Railway Club.
Clubroom accommodation was obtained in the crypt of St. John’s Parish Hall, Cyprus Road, Burgess Hill and the club remained at this venue until 1962. From 1962 through to around 1966 the club had no permanent clubroom and during this time a design for a portable layout evolved whereby a number of members each built a section of the layout which were joined together to make a continuous layout with a large station.
From around 1966, new clubroom facilities were obtained at Burgess Hill Railway Station and in 1968 a new OO Gauge layout was commenced measuring 12.19 metres (40 feet) in length. This layout which became THORNBURY HILL took a considerable number of years to build and its continuing existence today, although in private ownership, speaks highly of the club workmanship at the time of initial construction.
Exhibitions are regularly attended with the Club layouts, and regular events for members are arranged.
At the club’s Annual General Meeting in 1974, it was proposed that the name be changed to Burgess Hill Model Railway Club and this was agreed. This is the name by which the club is known to this day.
The club left its premises at Burgess Hill Railway Station in the early 1980s and now has the exclusive use of a clubroom within Burgess Hill. Currently the club has model
railway layouts in OO and O gauge with plans for a short test track to also include N and TT scales as well.
Weekly meetings are held from 20.00 on Monday and Wednesday evenings and prospective members over the age of 14 are welcome. Any interested persons should contact the club via the contact us facility of this web site.