As far as we can determine the first meeting was held in The Hungry Fox at Broadclyst in November 1979 and the club began with no membership fee. Unfortunately we cannot find the name of the person who started the Exeter Area MG Owners Club. The Hungry Fox is now a Kindergarten and is the large building on the right as you go over the railway bridge. Sometime in the 80’s our club moved to The Cowick Barton at Alphington, Ron & Maureen Dickerson took the helm until about 1985 when Roger Luscombe took over as Area Secretary and served for 7 years. The one page newsletter was produced on an old Gestetner machine then posted out to the members. The Cowick Barton is still there and there used to be a brass plaque on the wall indicating the meeting place of the Exeter MGOC. The brass screws holding the plaque on the wall were bent over to avoid theft, wonder if it is still there?
In 1992 Roger Mayo took over as Area Secretary and as space was limited in The Cowick Barton we moved to The Stowey Arms in Exminster which was ideal for the purpose as it had a large upstairs meeting room and a very reasonable sized car park. The newsletter now progressed to two sheets folded A5 as we had a modern printer. It was still posted and we still had no membership fee! How did we do that?
We were at The Stowey for about 10 years. By this time membership was approaching the 90’s and the club was very active as it still is. Altogether Roger served as Area Secretary for a total of 15 years in 4 separate stints. Other Area Secretaries included Tim Hipwell, Sean Leverton, Brian Dicker, Tim Hallam and Aly Howard in no particular order.
Due to redevelopment we had to leave The Stowey and found The Ley Arms at Kenn where we had a large room on the side of the pub. The car park wasn’t ideal but we managed with parking along the lane to the side of the pub. During our time there Derrick Layzell took over as Area Secretary, a post he holds up to the present time.
The Ley Arms wanted to redevelop the room we used into B&B and so we had to find another venue. We used The Gissons Inn at Kennford for a short time and also had a couple of months at The Royal Oak in Exminster. This wasn’t ideal as they had a darts team which used the large room and we used a small room at the front of the pub. After a lot of searching around the area we settled on The Black Horse at Sowton where we meet today. The club has now completed its 41st year and still does not change the members an annual fee and we think you will find it hard to find any other club that can say that.
So that’s our history in a nut shell. We began just before the last MGB was built, shortly afterwards the company was wound up (not our fault). However after many resurrections we now have MG Motor UK with a new generation of cars that has extended the range to suit everyone and their bank balance.