This weekend 30 years ago a small group of enthusiasts gathered at Milton Keynes Museum for what was the first ever Annual Rally of The Old Lawnmower Club (see above). For some of those present it was the first time they had ever met. Many had perhaps previously been under the impression that they were alone in their interest.
From this small beginning our club has grown. Today we have nearly 600 members across the world. The majority are in the UK but we have members from almost every major English-speaking country, many from Europe and a few from further afield. What they all have in common is a passion to collect, preserve and display old lawnmowers.
Our club has evolved in the past three decades. Back then, all communication was by post or telephone and we published our "Grassbox" newsletter using an office photocopier. Today most of our communication is electronic and "Grassbox" has become a full-colour 16 page quarterly magazine.
The interests of our members have evolved too. In 1990, many considered mowers made in the 1960s "too new" to be of interest. But now some of our younger or newer members are interested in mowers made just a few years before our club was formed, perhaps even afterwards. The majority, however, continue to find new mowers dating as far back as the 1800s to add to their collections.
Some of the members present at that original rally in 1990 would have been present at Milton Keynes again this year. Sadly, because of coronavirus, we have had to cancel this year's event. But the effort that many members have put into exhibiting their mowers into our "Virtual Annual Rally" display shows that their passion remains. We all hope we will be able to return to Milton Keynes in 2021. In the meantime, here are some of our members at the rally in 2019.
Each year at our Annual Rally, club members can take part in a "Spot the Parts" quiz. It's just a bit of fun where they test their knowledge of old lawn mowers and try to identify some components. We've launched a short version online. There are five parts to identify and it's a multiple choice quiz. Anyone can have a go. There are no prizes but we hope it will help remind visitors to our website of a popular part of our rally weekend.