The beginnings of S.M.A.C
The Club was started in 1937 by Austin Tarrant, an Electrical contractor whose business was at the bottom of Rodbourne Road. The first meetings were held at Rodbourne Recreation Ground which in those days was much larger because Great Western way did not exist. Some flying also took place at Cook’s Farm which is now Beech Avenue.
In 1939, model flying activities stopped because of a wartime ruling by the government.
In 1945 a meeting to reform the club after the War was held in the shop window of ‘The Spot’. This was a sports and hobbies Shop in Regent Street opposite Woolworths. They were one of the original suppliers of Kits and materials especially Solid model Kits during Wartime.
The Club started again with flying at the Basin Field (this is where Herod Nova School is situated off Akers Way).
Some indoor flying was held at the Drill hall in Old Town. This nearly bankrupted the Club because they had not been told that they had to pay for the heating of the building. The committee resolved this by holding a Dance at the Town Hall to break even.
In 1946 model flying moved to Toot Hill when it was still just fields. This site was not very good as it had high trees on all sides.
In 1947 the club moved to a field at Mannington off the old road to the Nine Elms pub (adjacent to the Midland & SouthWestern Railway). The actual site is approximately where Westmead industrial estate now stands.
In 1948 the club, in conjunction with the SMAE Western Area were able to obtain permission to use Wroughton Air Field.
It was in March this year that John Hodey joined the club as a junior with subscriptions of £0-0s-6d a month. (juniors could pay each month from their pocket money). John Hodey is our longest continuously serving club member.
Transport was generally arranged for the members who did not have their own vehicles to get to Wroughton. A bus was hired from the Blue & Ivory Coach Company at a cost of 2s/6d each. Alternatively, some members would cycle to Wroughton with their latest creations strapped to their back in boxes supplied by the model shop.
The club flew from Wroughton for 66 years until August 2014 when the Science museum who are the new owners decided not to renew the site lease for both SMAC and the farmer who grew crops there in favour of building a solar farm. The club then moved to Wootton Fields farm just outside Royal Wootton Bassett where it set up a small field site for electric and small i.c model flying.
In 2015 the club negotiated the shared use of its current flying site with the Vale of White Horse Gliding club with a larger runway and facilities for flying more model types.
Thanks to John Hodey for providing the early club history