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President's Message to Members:

by J. Clayton, Esq., M.B.E., M.I.L.E., Personal Assistant to Chief Mechanical Engineer, Southern Railway.

Our Council in their wisdom have decided to issue an 8 Page Magazine for circulation among the members and have asked me to contribute a brief message as your President.  Needless to say I am very glad to avail myself of the opportunity.

Last year we celebrated the 25th year of the Institution - its Silver Jubilee.

The Institution began its career, as many will remember, as the Institution of Locomotive Inspectors and Foremen in the year 1911 and continued so until the year 1931 when its title was altered to "The Locomotive and Carriage Institution”.

It stands essentially for the furtherance of the interests of all its members in their work and study of everything relating to the problem of efficient transport of Passengers and Goods by Rail.  How best can these objects be achieved by the members of the Institution should be our immediate concern.

The usefulness of any Institution must be measured by not only what it does but rather by what it aims to do for those who owe allegiance to it.  For some years past, the Membership of the Institution has remained almost constant round the 200 mark.  This indicates that so far as numbers are concerned we only make new members at about the rate at which the older members fall out and this is not as it should be.  Unless we can do better than this, unless we can grow in membership strength year by year we must lose faith in our cause and all we are trying to do.  This Institution fills a real need for it provides a means of expression for a body of our fellow-men for which the present professional institutions do not and cannot be expected to cater.  In these days of the highly specialised use of all the means of Art and Science applied to Transport, the claims of those who actually do the work of carrying those means into effect are apt to be overlooked.  This is the opportunity which our Institution must rise to.  Namely to be a real live virile machine, catering fully for a growing membership.  It must not, it cannot afford to, stand still, content to rest upon past laurels.  It must either stagnate and die or press forward to fuller and greater achievement.

While the Institution must ever increase in usefulness to the members let us not forget that the members must increase their usefulness to the Institution.

How can this be accomplished?  Surely in three ways:

1. Increase of members personal interest in the work of the Institution.

2. Increase of the scope and usefulness of the Institution to the members.

3. Increase the Membership of the Institution.

Here then is a concrete proposal.  Let each member procure one additional new member during this year.  So let us begin at once to exercise that little personal approach to your business and professional friends who you consider ought to be members.  Invite them to the meetings and encourage their support.

Especially would I address a word to the young members.  It is to you that the Institution must look for future support, inspiration and usefulness.  Will you particularly try and interest your shop and office friends to join.  More than this, many of you, I am convinced could write a useful paper upon some phase of your work or some section of transport in which you are interested or have ideas upon.  There is no better way of increasing your knowledge and you would find ready and responsive listeners and be encouraged in your efforts to keep abreast of the times by any endeavour you make in this way.

So now, once more, One new member from each present member during this year is required and then when we take stock of our position at our next Annual Dinner we shall be able to say-the membership has doubled in strength and usefulness and in the words of an Ancient Philosopher we shall be sure in our belief, that – “Tis not in mortals to command success but we'll deserve it!"