A site for the news and history of the RCSMC and their pride and joy Jezebel

Author: jez (Page 1 of 2)

Pugh to the Rescue (Rural Life Living Museum Fire Engines on Show Part 2)

Sunday brought the promised rain, albeit in intermittent showers that lasted throughout the day. Between waking up and the exhibitor’s briefing, we had a little exploration of the Museum and the neighbouring Old Kiln Light Railway, to see what sorts of facilities and equipment they had that we could borrow. We were mainly looking for a thread file or an appropriate die to re-condition the threads on the worm shaft, a suitable heat source and metal shaping capabilities to re-shape the box joint knuckle, and welding equipment to hold it all together. Andy had manufactured a new retaining nut of his ‘special design’, per measurements taken the previous day on the roadside, and was bringing it in later in the day. 

Alas, apart from some oxyacetylene, our hunt was not the most fruitful. With a bit of time to kill after the briefing and before Andy’s arrival, we pestered Paula from the Museum café for some breakfast, and milled around the grounds while waiting for a dry spell to take down tents and continue work on Jez. 


Andy soon arrived in good time before lunch, and whipped us into action. We found Museum volunteers Pete and Stephen who shared good conversation and fine whiskey with us the night before, and they showed us what’s what inside the chaos of the Museum workshop. In no time at all, Andy had commandeered it – within an hour he had the knuckle wrangled back into submission with the generous application of oxyacetylene and the help of a vice. 

With this major part of the repair out of the way – having gone surprisingly smoothly without anything else breaking – we all breathed a sigh of relief. Suddenly, going home that day under Jez’s own power seemed kind of doable. We might actually make it! 

Maintaining the momentum, Andy prepared and welded the knuckle in rapid succession, all in time for lunch before the kitchen closed. Fuelled, we turned our attention back to Jez – Eric took a file very carefully to her worm shaft threads, while Andy similarly started cleaning up the weld and re-conditioning the knuckle. The students mostly stood by and ‘supervised’ in between packing up our campsite. 

The mangled key, thankfully recovered from Bagshot the day before, also got a little lick from a file, and soon enough all that was left to do before reassembly could commence was to machine Andy’s new retaining nut to make it sit flush with the knuckle. That was easily enough done on the Museum’s Colchester Bantam, and by 4pm we had all the parts ready to go back in Jez. 


Kris crawled under yet again as the one with the most recent experience in taking it all apart – Ed Fagan had given us a deadline of 5:30pm and we wanted to move quickly. So naturally we had to enlist the help of one of the Museum’s big forklifts in the process, and it was in fact around 6:30pm before we were ready to attempt starting her engine. Unlike Friday and Saturday she took quite a lot of encouragement to oblige. Perhaps it was performance anxiety, what with all the people standing around with their cameras out, waiting to see her go. Or perhaps she was simply feeling mischievous, and wanted to keep us on edge. 

After many turnovers, Kris took the wheel and the lady finally deigned to start – perhaps as a reward for all his hard work putting her back together! Her mighty roar was joined by great cheers from the crowd, but she wasn’t out of the woods yet. After all, her engine was never the trouble; it was her drivetrain that failed. The crowd watched with bated breath as she warmed up, while the Motor Club crew made the final preparations to leave. It had been decided that most of the people and things would go with Andy in his Ford, to keep the bulk of the weight off Jez and make it as easy on her as possible, just in case. 

With the expectant crowd in mind, it wasn’t long before Eric got in the driver’s seat and stepped on the pedals. It was the moment of truth. To the crowd’s immense delight, she inched forward, and drove away from her patch of grass with no problem at all. Jez continued down through the Museum grounds to the exit, as smoothly as she ever did, to the sound of hurrahs and great celebration from the onlookers. We had done it! The rest of us said our hasty thank-yous and good-byes, piled into Andy’s car, and gave chase. 


Jez made steady but speedy progress towards home. At one point we stopped at Jack’s of Bagshot to check her oil pipes, because she didn’t seem to be showing any oil pressure. Satisfied that everything was fine after all and spurred on by the sight of dark clouds in the East, we sped off again, this time with more confidence in our one-day repair holding up, and a fuller continent aboard Jez. 

Miles later, it was a significantly damper – but no less spirited – crew that opened the doors to the Motor Club garage back on campus, and drove Jez back into her home. 


As I write this now, Jez has been disassembled again and work is under way to do a proper job of the repair. Much needs to be done – the worm shaft needs building up and a new taper and thread machined, the spare knuckle needs to be finished to fit or a new one made, and perhaps a new method of securing the two together needs to be devised. The last time the rear box joint failed, in much the same manner, was in 2015 when Jez was en route to Odiham. With any luck (and plenty of thinking and tinkering and elbow grease), our efforts this time will last us many more years into the future, and bring Jez to a great number of events such as the Rural Life Living Museum’s fire engine show. In the meantime, it’s the garage for us and for Jez. 

Look Who’s Back (Rural Life Living Museum Fire Engines on Show Part 1)

It has been a long time since Jez and her crew were able to attend events. It has been an even longer time since this ‘blog’ has been updated – but now that Jez has finally attended her first official event last weekend, I figured it was time to dust off this old thing as well. (We’ll see if it lasts!)


It can hardly be said that the event had auspicious beginnings. At the end of May 2021, Jez (and the rest of the vehicles) was kindly invited to the Rural Life Living Museum’s fire engine show in early July by Ed Fagan, long-time friend and avid supporter of the RCS Motor Club. At that time, her carburettor water jacket fitting was still cracked open, and the majority of students were away from London – including the entire committee! Garage sessions had barely resumed after a long stint of inactivity. We had a month to fix the part, ensure that she is in good mechanical condition, and obtain permission from the Union to actually attend the event.

As it turns out, a month passes by rather quickly when it’s exam season, and even quicker still during these strange times. One month on, most of the regular servicing has been completed, and the water fitting had been silver soldered, but not very well. Work continued. Nothing had been arranged with the Union yet, and with four days left to go, paperwork was filled out and submitted. Thankfully, preliminary permission was granted the next day – and on the same day, Jez’s engine ran for the first time since November 2020! Unfortunately, she didn’t run for long at all – the water fitting repair proved to be a failure, and she leaked water all over the carburettor.

Just as we were about to give up on Jez attending the fire engine show that weekend, Andy Pugh piped up and offered to make the new part for Jez (while tutting the students for not upholding the old motor club tradition of ‘midnight welding’), and to help us install it.

Friday rolled around, and things seemed optimistic. Andy showed up at the garage with a very shiny piece of brass and made short work of the fitting. Before long, Jez was ready to go – she even started on the very first try! The drivers were soon reminded of how bad Jez’s brakes were while doing rounds through the campus, but otherwise all seemed fine with the old lady.


Alas, we should have known that things were going too smoothly.


Saturday dawned slightly gloomy, but soon the sun shone despite the thunderstorm forecast. It was a cheery crew of 9 that set off towards Farnham on Jez. She cruised along quite happily on the A30, and we eventually arrived at Bagshot, where we stopped for a late breakfast (the second breakfast, for some). With less than 20 miles left to go, we had expected to arrive at the Rural Life Living Museum in good time, so Ed Stow took over as apprentice driver under Eric’s guidance. Jez pulled away with a little jolt, and made it up a gentle slope before stopping for a T-junction. We tried to pull away once, twice, thrice – she didn’t seem to want to go. Eric took over the wheel, but Jez still refused to move. It was then we realised something might be wrong.

Her engine sounded fine, her clutch spun, as did the under-floor box joints. Was it the universal joint? The rear box joint? The diff? To our dread, for a moment it looked like the entire visible drivetrain was fully functional, which would have meant there was something wrong in the differential! Thankfully, we were just about able to see that the worm shaft wasn’t spinning – meaning the rear box joint was at fault instead.

After rolling her back safely into a roadside parking spot, Kris volunteered to get greasy and proceeded under Jez to disassemble the box joint. Soon enough the point of failure was unveiled – the rear box joint knuckle had cracked open.


Calls were made and people messaged. Ed Fagan expressed his condolences at the news, and attempted to entice us to bring Jez to the Museum anyways by offering the full use of the Museum’s facilities as well as the expertise of the people there. Discussion back and forth concluded that a reasonable attempt at repairs could be made on site, and so we were swayed. Transport was arranged for Jez and crew to bring us onwards to the Museum, to see what we could do there – if all fails, then Jez would be allowed to ‘sleep over’ in one of the Museum buildings until we could get her back to London.

Making good use of the time while we waited for our respective rides, we started coming up with a preliminary repair plan, and took measurements (with the provision of a vernier caliper from a bike shop mechanic) of the parts to help facilitate that. Assessment of the knuckle and worm shaft showed that the thread between the shaft and the knuckle retaining nut was severely worn, and likely caused the entire assembly to loosen and rattle in place until the knuckle eventually tore itself apart along the keyway. More plans were made, and people contacted.


Ed Fagan’s friends Pete and Pat showed up eventually with their Land Rovers to pick up the majority the crew, and a low loader soon followed suit for Jez. We arrived at the Museum with much fanfare, and with some help got her heaved into position. It was a somewhat tired crew that settled down for a few drinks with great relief before the excellent evening exhibitor’s meal, where we had more than our fair share of hearty casseroles, shepherd’s pies, and the like. We washed it all down with a fantastic selection of desserts, two bottles of home-brewed cider made from apples grown right there on Museum grounds, and a healthy side of company and conversation.

(Continued in Part 2.)

A Summary of Summer

Over Summer Jez has attended many events, receiving countless awards. 2 to be precise. On the 16th of July, at the Uxbridge Auto Show Jez won the trophy for best public service vehicle, she then blew us away and won the Car Of The Show award. Overall a successful motor club outing.

Next up was the Brooklands Reunion; while not technically qualifying as an ex-Brooklands racer the public cheered as David Cowin drove Jez up and down the embankment at a speed that can only be described as frightening and reckless. Jez was also placed in the ‘High performance’ category with some of the land-speed record breakers, a challenge she tried to meet. Tried….

Then there was her longest journey of the year – the Isle of Wight Steam Show. We embarked early in the morning and made it all the way into Guildford before Jez decided she didn’t need one of her exhaust valve covers. With a loud bang she threw it out and the succeeding emergency breaking caused a 3 car pile up. This is if you describe a driver rear ending a car just hard enough to pushing it gently into out tender van a 3 car pile up. We soon dressed the the threads, reinstalled the valve cover, told Jez off, and got back on our way to the island. At the island Jez was as ever a hit with the public. The week was fun and Jez were graced by possibly her youngest mechanics thanks to the Weetman-Patter-Clan. The way back was less eventful but just as bumpy.

Next Jez went to The London Fire Brigade Museum’s Fire Engine Festival where Jez was the oldest of a large fleet of fire engines of all ages. 
Finally for our summer events we have the London Museum of Water and Steam in KewBridge. We had lots of fun pumping with Jez and with a lovely Shand Mason steam pump. We slept next to a warm 90″ beam engine overnight in the museum and ate locomotive bacon for breakfast before letting more children give us headaches with Jez’s bell.

And That was Jez’s summer, an eventful and exciting couple of months.

IMG_20170813_161900 IMG_20170923_124336-EFFECTS
IMG_20170923_124306  IMG_20170824_080922

Best in Class at Uxbridge

Jezebel was awarded the best in class award (Public Service Vehicle) at Uxbridge Autoshow. The Trophy was presented to the Club by the Hillingdon Mayor.

The show has been running since 1984 and to date has raised over £550,000 for local and national charities. It is organised by the Rotary Club of Uxbridge and features a wide range of vehicles.

More details about the show can be found on the event website: http://www.uxbridgeautoshow.com.

For a list of other shows and rallies that the club has attended see: Past Shows and Rallies.

Mayor Presents trophey

Mayor presents the Club with the trophy.
Photo thanks to the Rotary Club of Uxbridge

Photo thanks to the Rotary Club of Uxbridge

Jezebel in the Arena.
Photo thanks to the Rotary Club of Uxbridge

Jezebel and Clementine on display at the Show.

Jezebel and Clementine on display at the Show.
Photo thanks to the Rotary Club of Uxbridge

Club AGM 2016

Greetings one and all,

Because of the fact that we’ve been super busy preparing Jez for her 100th birthday bash we were unable to hold our AGM before the Easter holiday. However, better late than never; we will be holding our AGM on the first Saturday after we return from the holidays, Saturday 30th April at 2:00pm. For most of you this will be some time before your exams start – for the unfortunate few others: sorry. We will discuss the important business (*cough* elections *cough*) at the beginning of the meeting – people are welcome to leave early or to participate via email.

We will be holding elections for the following positions:

Chairman (2016-2017)
The Chairman is ultimately responsible for everything that occurs within the club and is in charge of running the club from day-to-day. The Chairman’s official duties (as listed in the club’s constitution) are:

  • overseeing the other officers
  • chairing all meetings of the Club
  • overseeing all mechanical work on Jezebel
  • the purchasing of materials for stocking the garage
  • the maintenance of the Club’s tools
  • the organisation of all Club events
  • the Club’s membership of external organisations and any other external affairs
  • the organisation, in conjunction with the Treasurer, of Club finance
  • the compilation of reports as requested by the Recreational Clubs Committee or its parent bodies
  • the maintenance of the Chairman’s Log

Treasurer (2016-2017)
The Treasurer is generally responsible for financial matters, notably helping the Chairman to write the club’s budget each year. The Treasurer’s official duties (as listed in the club’s constitution) are:

  • the keeping of the Club accounts
  • the payment of bills
  • the selling of regalia
  • any other general financial matters

Secretary (2016-2017)
The Secretary is generally responsible for note-keeping and publicity. The Secretary’s official duties (as listed in the club’s constitution) are:

  • taking minutes at all general meetings of the Club
  • recording any formal decision made by the Executive Committee
  • managing publicity for the Club
  • maintaining the Club’s computing facilities
  • the maintenance of the uniforms

Secretary (2015-2016)
We will also be holding an election for a secretary for the remainder of the year. Because the Secretary’s only remaining major role is to minute the AGM, this role will not involve much work, but it will provide an excellent opportunity for you to familiarise yourself with the workings of the club prior to adopting any roles next year.

If you wish to stand for any of these positions, send us an email including the name of your seconder.

If you wish to stand but don’t think you will be able to attend the meeting, don’t worry – we can arrange for you to be represented at the meeting.

Constitutional Update
There will also be a discussion and a vote to approve updates to our constitution, which has been reshuffled to simplify the appendices and generally read easier. A copy of the constitution and the Club’s guidelines can be downloaded below for anyone that wishes to read it through and email us any suggestions to be discussed at the AGM.

AGM 2016 Papers

Brighton Preparation
Some of you may have noticed that Saturday 30th April will also be the May Brighton Run prep-day. Most of the prep will in fact have been done before the 30th, but the tradition of a huge gathering in the garage later in the day will probably still go ahead regardless…

Best regards,
Oscar “Winnie” Farrell


A Trip to Germany


The RCS Motor Club web site contains a cross reference to “A brief history of Jezebel”. This claim to brevity is all too accurate in respect of the trip to Köln in 1982 which is covered in one sentence:
“in 1982 she appeared on Blue Peter just before being transported to Cologne in Germany to take part in the Karnival of which the twenty five crew have only hazy (alcoholic) memories”.

Hazy memories or not Jezebel deserves a fuller account than that, says Andy Stevens who provides the following account of the trip abroad with Jezebel.

A Trip to Germany

Karneval has been celebrated in Köln since time immemorial but the 1982 format was of indoor balls and parties and outdoor street parades culminating in grand parades on the Sunday and Monday before Lent. The theme for the parade is traditionally declared at 1111 hours on the 11th day of the previous November after which floats and costumes are made and stocks of chocolate, eau de cologne and flowers assembled to shower upon the bystanders. Karneval is also an excuse for the consumption of lots of the local beer, Kölsch, which made it very appealing to the Motor Club members.

All the Motor Club needed to join this fun was: an invitation, a place to stay and Jezebel in Köln. John Walkington’s friend Rolf Kuschel arranged with a local school for Jezebel to accompany the children in their parade, organised our supply of sweets to ‘distribute’ and also arranged with an international haulier (Westermann) for Jezebel to be transported to and stored safely in a warehouse in Köln. Andy Stevens borrowed a public address system from EMI to play Karneval music on the parade, and John Walkington provided the floor to sleep on. NB the RCS Motor Club web site records that 25 people came for Karneval; but John and I believe that there was only room for 15 on the Walkington floor. It should also be recorded that everyone wanted to sleep on Debbie’s side of the room rather than Charlie’s; since Debbie was Queen of Jez and Charlie was a large piranha in a tank you will understand why.

After much polishing and cleaning in the warehouse and the fitting of boards, balloons and sound system, Jezebel was ready to take part in the school’s parade and her picture duly appeared in the local newspapers and WDR TV report. Jezebel was then off to the Deutz fire brigade for a little pumping demonstration. The local feuerwehr were amused that our first hose leaked a bit but when we attached a better one they were impressed with Jezebel’s performance. Fun was had by all until the boss arrived on the scene and told us to stop as we were lowering the water pressure in his main. Killjoy.

Although I know that Jezebel featured in the newspaper report of the Sunday parade I do not have a copy but John Walkington has rounded up some photographs which are reproduced below. NB The words on the boards on Jezebel: “M’r losse nix aanbrenne” are local Kölsch dialect; almost untranslatable but I’m told that “Whatever happens we are there” gives some flavour of the meaning.

germany_1Jezebel demonstrates her party finery to the locals.

germany_2With Koln cathedral in the background it is time to parade. Notice young Andy Wilson in the white boiler suit and…. Marco, put that brass nozzle back!

germany_3Now see what you’ve done, Marco, they all want one, even Duncan.

germany_4Parade over. Now is the time for the Rolf Kuschel to show us hiss skill in the Culinary art of Reibekuchen (potato fritters). The women in the green hat is Rhea Kuschel, provider of these photographs.

germany_5Meanwhile, Nick Wilkinson and John Walkington stick to a liquid diet.

germany_6And others brush up on their driving skills.

Photos from the 100th

Upload Your photos

Please use this submission box to upload your images from Jezebel’s 100th Birthday to a central folder – this will enable other guests and the club to download your photos.

We will sort through the photos that you upload and add them to our website and Facebook page.

Descriptions are optional and will be visible to all.

An email address is required but will only be visible to the Club.

Download Photos

All the photos that have been uploaded using the form on this page are available at:

You do not need to have any accounts to view or download photos.

If you have any issues with uploading or downloading photos then please get in touch with the club.

Pumping in Hyde Park

Come and learn how to be a fireman and squirt water all over the place with Jezebel, the 1916 Fire Engine owned by the RCSU and looked after by current students.

This FREE event on Saturday 17th October will teach you the basics of how to use the water pump to spray water, as well as giving you an opportunity to learn all about Jezebel and what the Club gets up to throughout the year.

No experience or prior knowledge is needed. Simply bring yourself in clothes that you don’t mind getting wet.

We will be carrying out the pumping on the North bank of the Serpentine in Hyde Park.

To take part turn up at the RCS Motor Club Garage at 12:00 (directions here) if you would like a lift to the park on Jezebel.

If you can’t make it to the Garage at 12:00 then simply come and find us in Hyde Park throughout the afternoon. We will be packing up and heading back to the Garage at 17:00.

There is no need to book a space but if you are planning on coming along or would like to ask any question about the activity (or the club) then simply email jez@imperial.ac.uk.

60th Birthday Party

Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday RCS Motor Cluuub… Happy birthday to us. (Apologies for the terrible singing.)

To celebrate the club’s 60th birthday, we will be holding a get-together in the Union Bar at 19:00 Saturday the 13th of June (with a buffet and a bar tab). Please note that this is a ticketed event, details below.

Weather permitting, the afternoon has also been slated for a pumping session in Hyde Park, so you’re more than welcome to come along for the whole day.

Anyone who has been involved with RCS Motor Club over the last 60 years are all welcome to come along to either or both events.

We look forward to seeing lots of you throughout the day.

If you have any questions or would just like to get in touch with the Club then please do send us an email: jez@imperial.ac.uk

Pumping in Hyde Park

We are meeting at the RCS Motor Club Garage at 12:00 (directions here). We will then be heading over to Hyde Park to the north bank of the Serpentine to go pumping – see map.

If you can’t make it to the Garage at 12:00 then simply come and find us in Hyde Park throughout the afternoon. We will be packing up and heading back to the Garage at 17:00.

There is no need to book a ticket but if you are planning on coming along then we would appreciate it if you let us know so we have an idea of the number of people we should expect – simply email jez@imperial.ac.uk.

Party in the Union Bar

We have booked the Union Bar from 19:00 on 13th June.

We have arranged for a Bar Tab and a buffet which are included in the cost of the ticket.

Because the sapce in the Union Bar is limited and to help cover the cost of the event, we are selling tickets (for the reasonable price of £12).

Tickets are on sale on the Imperial College Website.

You do not have to be a member of the Union or the Club to purchase a ticket.

Once you have bought a ticket you will recieve an email confirming your purchase. We will have a list of all the tickets sold and will be checking the names on the door.

The only tickets that will be available on the door will be those not sold in advance so please buy your ticket in advance to avoid being unable to gain entry.

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