Post-War

From the immediate post-war months the Club went straight into the throes of transport nationalisation, which in one way or another, served its debates for many years. Following the practice established during the war, all meetings were preceded by lunch and the Club settled down at Samson and Hercules House. This venue remained until 1973 when the Samson and Hercules changed its image and the Club moved to the Hotel Norwich (later renamed Jarvis Hotel, and more recently Ramada Jarvis) - the present venue. Visits to works and other places of transport interest were revived as a regular feature and there was increased social activity in the form of theatre parties and social evenings to which ladies were invited. In 1950 the Club discussed the question of lady members but the weight of opinion was in favour of preserving its masculine stronghold.

In 1959 the Club sponsored meetings to assist in giving publicity to the Norwich City Engineer’s Report on the Norwich traffic problem. One meeting was confined to members of the Traffic Club only, as a preliminary stage. Later a combined meeting was arranged having members from the Institute of Transport (East Anglian Section), Norwich Chamber of Commerce and the Norwich Traffic Club. At this meeting the City Engineer explained his plan in greater detail and answered questions put by members of these three organisations on points which were of more personal interest to themselves.

 

In 1962 a sub-Committee was formed to keep under constant review the Norwich City Traffic plans. This aspect was a regular item on the agenda of the full Committee and representations to the Civic Authorities were made from time to time. This Committee also made urgent representations on the future of the airfield at Horsham St. Faith’s.

 

History repeated itself in 1964 when Mr Maxwell Hunt, the President, followed in the footsteps of the first President, Mr Charles Watling, twenty eight years previously and visited the Traffic Club of New York, by whom he was very well received. It was interesting to note that there were many on the other side of the Atlantic who remembered with pleasure Mr Watling’s visit.

 

As in most other voluntary organisations a great deal of the Club’s work has fallen on the shoulders of its Honorary Secretaries, and the following list of those who have served in this capacity may be of interest:

1933-1939 L. A. Carey (Industrial)
1939-1949 E. L. Page (Ministry of Food)
1949-1950 E. P. Ladbrooke (Tourist Agency)
1950-1953 C. L. Holmes (Road)
1953-1963 H. G. W. Taylor (Rail)
1963-1967 J. Howes (Water)
1967-1973 G. W. Scott (Industrial)
1973-1978 K. W. Meazey (Other Services)

1978-1983 T. Copperwheat (Road)
1983-1984 C. Stanforth (Other Services)
1984-1990 T. Copperwheat (Road)
1990-1993 R. M. Newlands (Other Services)
1993-1999 D. A. Ellis (Road)
1999-2009 C. D. Taylor (Other Services)
2010-2012 B. Mortimer
2013-     B. Parnell

The branch of transport in which each was engaged at the time is shown in brackets and it is remarkable how well spread the interest has been.

It is also worth recording that amongst the Club’s worthy Honorary Treasurers, Mr F. S. Baker (a Past President) completed 31 years in this capacity.

Space forbids the recording of all members who have held public office in our city but it should be mentioned that two founding members became Lord Mayors of Norwich - Alderman Charles Watling (first President) in 1937-38 and Alderman W. E. Walker in 1952-53.

It was perhaps the Annual Dinners that made the Club so well known far beyond the world of transport and the boundaries of Norfolk. It seemed that each year the standard was raised a little higher as the list of distinguished guests grew longer and numbers present grew larger. Each Dinner has been graced by the presence of The Lord Mayor for that year or The Sheriff, and sometimes Members of Parliament, Regional Transport Commissioners and many transport notabilities. About 60-odd were present at the first Dinner in 1934 and over 200 at the 49th Dinner in 1989.

The Club’s 70th Anniversary on 25th January 2003 was celebrated by a special Annual Dinner. Contact was renewed with the Traffic Club of New York (TCNY) who sent Past President Mr Anton Becker to represent their President. An excellent emissary, with his wife Jean he carried out an intensive programme including a tour of the City, radio interview, reception at the Parlour by the Lord Mayor of Norwich and a private Ladies Dinner organised by the Club. At the Annual Dinner on 7th March, he presented to Terry Comber our President a boxed thermometer, hygrometer and clock with pen for Club use. The Sheriff of Norwich, for the Lord Mayor, presented a City Certificate of Congratulation on our 70th anniversary. Anton Becker also presented certificates appointing Terry Comber, President, and Chris Taylor, Hon Secretary, and their successors in office as Honorary Members of the TCNY. The Club reached its 75th anniversary on 25 January 2008, under the Presidency of Chris Taylor.

Anton Becker was created an Honorary President of our Club and was presented with a badge of that office to belong to the TCNY for use by its future representatives. The Beckers were given a personal memento of their visit. In 2004, Terry Comber, then Immediate Past President, represented our Club at the TCNY Annual Dinner.

In 2004, Geoffrey Watling presented the Club with a Vice-Presidential Badge, to complement the President’s Badge presented by his father 70 years previously. Geoffrey, who had attended the first luncheon with his father, rarely missed a meeting: he died in November 2004, leaving a gift to the club.

Significant Changes. In 2004, the Club decided to admit ladies to Membership and May 2008 saw the first lady elected to the post of President.  From September 2013 the Club’s meetings moved to the Holiday Inn (Norwich North) and the following year, in order to meet the needs of the members with business, the time of all meetings moved from lunchtime to the evening. However, in 2017 the decision was made to return to the Mercure Norwich Hotel for all the meetings.

In recent years an increasing age profile together with pressures of business and home life has caused a fall in numbers. To address this, membership was opened to Companies from September 2017. The Corporate Membership category enables transport industry related companies and other relevant businesses to nominate up to three directors, managers or other senior staff members as their representatives to attend and take part in Club events and, if elected, the Committee. 

Today the Club has a membership of over 60 representing most aspects of transport. This range of interest coupled with a sense of responsibility, which characterises the membership, has resulted in the Club taking a balanced view of transport as a whole, unaffected by purely sectional interest. In the Year 2001, at the start of a new millennium, the Club updated its Rules to become principally a social organisation, based on the shared interest in Transport. It meets monthly from October to May, with a special event at Christmas, and continues to hold with full ceremony its prestigious Annual Dinner in March.