Extracts from the minutes of the 41st NHBS Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 4th March 2017 at the Walsall Leather Museum, 54 – 57 Wisemore, WS2 8EQ.

The full minutes will be circulated to the membership with the agenda for the 2018 AGM.

Chairmans Welcome & Report

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the 41st Annual General Meeting of the National Horse Brass Society. It is good to see so many familiar faces amongst the rather select band of members here today.
As part of my Introduction I have a particularly pleasurable duty to perform. Let me take you back to our AGM, held here in 1986. Those of you who were present maybe remember the competition of brass displays which had to meet the following criteria:- ‘An arrangement of harness decoration having the best visual appeal’. I quote from the Journal. ‘The worthy winner was Bernard Hillier whose entry featured a number of swingers against a red background, contained in a diamond shaped swinger. Other items such as hameplates, rosettes, bells and plumes completed a superb exhibit’.
‘Bernard’s prize was a splendid glass bowl engraved with the motif of the Society, donated by Terry Keegan.’ This is Alison Garbett with Chairman David Fletcher the very bowl, which has just recently been returned to the Society by Bernard Hillier.
As this bowl had been specially commissioned by the late Terry Keegan, we thought it should now be presented to his daughter Alison Garbett, as memento of her Dad, and of his extraordinary contribution to the NHBS.
I am delighted to present this splendid bowl to you, Ali, in memory of your Dad, and as a small thank you for the sterling work you do in making the brasses for the Society.

Last year I began my tenure as your Chairman by thanking the Officers and Committee Members for all their hard work on behalf of the Society, and I briefly described their particular activities. There is little doubt that without their energy and special expertise that the NHBS would rapidly decline. So once again I express, on behalf of all the members, my appreciation and respect for all you have contributed during the year. This year sees the retirement of Alan Brewer from the Committee after many years of service. His knowledge of brasses and expertise with harness leather is legendry, as is his reputation as a true gentleman. Our heartfelt thanks to him for all his contributions.

You will also have noticed our call for a new volunteer to take up the post of Treasurer. Our stalwart, Brian O’Riordan, has done the job for a decade now, and intends to stand down in the middle of this coming year. We are delighted that Brian will continue with his excellent work as editor of the Newsletter. So our special thanks to Brian for keeping our finances on the rails over so many years. The new Treasurer will have a hard act to follow!

It is common knowledge that the Society runs on a shoestring in financial terms. This is made possible because we incur no labour costs; being staffed solely by unpaid volunteers. However a recent review of our income and expenditure shows that the rising costs of materials and postage make it essential that we increase next year’s UK membership rates if the Society is to remain financially viable, and is able in future to fund its Award Brass Scheme. Indeed I gather that the postage rates are being increased yet again later this month! There is a motion later, under Agenda Item 15, for you to approve a £3 increase to the UK membership rates from next year onwards. This increase has been kept to the absolute minimum as I recognise that many members are retired and on fixed incomes.

I have spent a bit of time recently studying the old Society Newsletters and Journals. I never cease to be amazed at the fascinating and diverse knowledge of our members. The horse, its harness, and brasses tell the story of the lives of generations of working people, and truly reflect the dramatic changes which occurred in the society in which they lived.

It is important that you continue to share your special knowledge and experiences by contributing to our publications, and thereby preserve them for the benefit of future generations.

I wish you the very best for the coming year and much enjoyment from your fascination with horse brasses.
Dave Fletcher. Chairman. 3rd March 2017 .

General Secretary’s Report

Since last year’s AGM the two usual committee meetings have been held at Milton Keynes by the kind invitation of Mick Mullens, both meetings were well supported and many interesting topics covered, this is reflected in the increasing length of the minutes! During the meetings, the committee followed the production of volume 2 Anthology, and through the stalwart efforts of authors Dick Bradshaw and Ian Jones and the marketing skills of Rolf Augustin we have eagerly awaited it’s launch at the 2017 AGM.

Generating sales to maintain Society funds has been a regular subject for discussion and it is realised that we will in future need to put greater reliance on the sale of special brasses. A step in the right direction in recent times has been made with the sales of the Plough Share, Record Reign and the Queen’s ninetieth birthday brasses. At the January meeting I submitted a suggestion to produce a special brass to commemorate the Queens Sapphire Jubilee which has never before been achieved by a British Monarch. I am pleased to report the idea was taken up and Peter Ferguson has produced a design from my humble drawings and the brass is well on the way to becoming a reality. Mary Fletcher has also put forward a design depicting the platinum wedding anniversary of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh which will be produced later in the year.

I have managed to make a little more progress with the archived society material and it is all now contained in the two four drawer cabinets. In the early days thank goodness, the archive was very carefully listed and the early material has survived well but various moves of the contents has had detrimental consequences. I have established that a full set of newsletters are present, except for no’s 18 and 27 but I may yet come across these amongst other papers. The journals are complete up to and including no 62 Jan 2007, nothing has been added since.

Sadly, the work completed on the archive so far has indicated what could be missing, as well as important and interesting information from the early days. My latest concern is minutes from previous AGM and committee meetings. Early indications suggest the years 1975-1982 are complete and years 1996-2016 also, but the 14 years between 1982-1995 are eluding me to date.

The result of the membership brass will be announced at item sixteen on the agenda but I would like to thank those members who sent in their votes by email letter and even a telephone call. It is my dream that more of our members will take part in the design and voting for the annual membership brass.
Jim Speed NHBS General Secretary

7 Membership Secretary’s Report

MEMBERSHIP FOR 2016;Contacts with our diverse membership round the world have continued unabated throughout the year. As usual there have been many queries and lots of advice to give to help members. The number of members at the end of 2016 was 354, which is 8 less than last year due mainly to deaths in our predominantly aged membership. Thanks to everyone who made sterling efforts to recruit 16 new members by using their personal contacts, by distributing brochures, by attending shows, or via the internet.

The distribution of members between the various countries was as follows:- 292 UK & 62 from Overseas. (The UK includes 1 from the Isle of Man!!) (The Overseas national splits were as follows:- USA 37; AUS 12; CAN 3; FR 2; IRE 2; NZ 2; and 1 in each of SA, SWE, SP, & BER.)
Mary Fletcher. Membership Secretary

Election of officers

The General Secretary submitted the following nominations. Chairman; David Fletcher, General Secretary; Jim Speed, Treasurer; Brian O’Riordan, Membership Secretary; Mary fletcher. No other nominations had been received. It was proposed by Cyril Goodwin and seconded by Mary Goodwin that the officers nominated should continue in office for the ensuing year. The proposition was put to the meeting by the Chairman and carried unanimously.

Election of the committee

The general secretary submitted the following nominations. Rolf Augustin; Stan Benton; Dick Bradshaw; Peter Ferguson; Ian Jones; Mick Mullens; George Willett; No other nominations had been received. It was proposed by Colin Doy and Seconded by Alec Hopkinson that the committee nominated should continue in office for the ensuing year. The proposition was put to the meeting by the Chairman and carried unanimously.

Subscription changes

To approve an Increase in the Individual Membership Subscription to £25 and Family Membership to £32 from the1st January 2018 and Amend the Rules Accordingly

The Result of the 2018 Membership Brass Competition

The General Secretary announced the result of the 2018 membership brass as follows in third place was brass no 1 with 8 votes, in second place was no 4 with 11 votes and the clear winner with 19 votes was brass no 5. The total number of votes cast this year was 52