DAVID Beckley of Pershore was delighted to be invested as our newest member by President Brian Ireland at our meeting on Thursday, 19 January. Following news of members, our resident comedians Jim Cox and Jeff Jones amused us greatly and Clive Allen resorted to a salutary rant about the new contactless bank plastic cards.

We then settled back to give our undivided attention to guest speaker, Trevor Swann, a retired metallurgist of Walsall, whose topic was iron. Yes, iron: the metal that all of us were familiar with, but that few of us actually know very much about.

Trevor explained that the Iron Age started over four thousand years ago, that pure iron is very soft and malleable and that other compounds are added in complex processes to give it strength and rigidity. In his presentation, he spoke about Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale, cast and wrought iron, as well as Bessemer and Cort. He outlined how steel making has developed and the part played by the British Cast Iron Association. With simple descriptions and illustrations he was able to lead us through a process that began in man’s early experimentation to today’s highly technical era.

Judging by the questions, the engineers amongst us were clearly as absorbed as the rest of us were by Trevor’s talk, and we all learned a great deal. Cliff Blackborrow thanked him and congratulated him on his riveting and cast iron presentation, to much laughter from us.

Next week, on 26 January we shall hear about Aircraft preservation, followed on 2 February a talk entitled ‘From here to Istanbul’. Do join us – you’ll be warmly welcomed.