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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 66 - Winter 1989 / 90
Curator's Report - Roy B. Miller
There has not been a Quainton News since my appointment as the Curator of the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre and members might be forgiven for wondering how the Curator fits into the management of our Society.
Over the years the amount of routine administration, correspondence and what can best be described as "public relations" connected with our railway centre, has shown a steady increase. As our Centre has grown so has this workload, and in the end it became too much to be carried out on a voluntary basis. We were also losing out in many ways by not having anyone at Quainton during the week. In March 1988 our Executive Committee agreed to employ a Curator at a nominal salary. Somewhat to my surprise my employers (who knew all about my "other" interests) agreed to my taking (very) early retirement in order to take advantage of this offer. Although I remain Hon. Secretary of the Society, the principal workload is the BRC; the two jobs do not conflict and are, in many ways, complementary.
Whether we like it or not the BRC has had to become more commercial; we could no longer exist if we were not. Our only real income is from visitors paying for entry on the gate. Much work is therefore directed towards increasing their numbers by advertising (working with our marketing agency, Caxton Advertising), answering correspondence, distributing leaflets, and all the Santa Steaming publicity and bookings. When we are open during the Summer months the site has to be managed and facilities provided for customers.
In setting up the position for Curator, it was agreed that he should be co-opted onto the Executive Committee (I am in any case there as Hon. Secretary of course) to represent the Centre and to take part in planning and running the enterprise at an Executive level. It is still the Society Executive Committee working with their Sub-Committees who make all the policy decisions, and members who run the BRC. I make day to day decisions and place recommendations before the Executive and their Sub-Committees.
Our share of film and television work has increased considerably since there has been someone to answer the telephone, to meet people and organize the actual filming days. These are both lucrative and good publicity for our Centre.
An important role for the Curator is future planning and representing our interests with Tourist Boards and Local Authorities. We are accepted as a major tourist attraction in our area and our reputation as an important railway centre has become established in recent years.
We must constantly strive to make our Centre more attractive for our visitors by improving displays and amenities. This is especially true when we are not running trains and the site loses its "action" appeal. A priority must be the expansion of our small relics museum. We have so much to display, and if enlarged, this could justify a visit in its own right.
We have not given up our ambitions to operate our trains to Aylesbury and the installation of our turntable will enable us to service locomotives from visiting railtours. We must include all this in the future planning of our Centre, but at the same time maintaining our attraction for visitors to keep and improve upon our present income.
Most important of all is you, our members; it is your Society's relics that we display and we rely upon your efforts to properly present them for visitors to see. You also run our Centre by your help with refreshments, manning the gate, car parks, and all the other things essential to an efficiently and attractively run enterprise. I will try and help you to do th is, and this is the principle job of the Curator.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 27 November 2017