The THG has a long standing history of holding very popular swapmeets in a variety of good locations, the pictures below may be just what you need to tempt you into joining us. Over the years some venues have been more popular so we tend to gravitate towards these, but if you have any suggestions for other locations then please do get in touch.
What is a swapmeet?
Several times lately we've had new members asking this question, along with others like "I don't have anything to swap, can I buy instead?" and "I'm new to the THG, I don't know anyone else. How will I know who to swap things with?"
One of our members, Paul Seward, explains....
These were questions I very nearly asked before my first swapmeet. I like to think of swapmeets as "car boot sales, but with more telephones" (and more interesting people to chat to as well). Some stall holders may be open to swaps if you've got something they want, but cash is more flexible and more widely accepted.
One thing I would advise though is to bring some change and some smaller notes as sometimes change can get a bit thin on the ground, especially if people are trying to break a £20 note to buy that widget they've been after for ages, which is priced at 50p!
You can usually find a good choice of antique telephones, from the wooden era, through candlesticks and into the bakelite ranges, both black and coloured.
Reproduction cords of very good quality are available at good prices too, just what you need to finish off that loving restoration. A good variety of tools are usually around, from screwdrivers to specialised crimping tools and telephone exchange maintenance tools.
Talk to people who can restore broken phones like this to a standard where it is hard to detect their work.
A good selection of spares for telephones of all eras...
You'll also find good quantities of the more modern plastic telephones if that's what you're after along with test equipment used by the GPO and Post Office Telephones. If telephone exchanges are your 'thing' then there are often spare parts for strowger equipment and manual switchboards too, and we have several members who are expert on modern electronic PABX systems. Good numbers of magazines journals and other telephone related paperwork also surface regularly which can be a boon to those doing research. If you can't find what you are looking for, get chatting to people, ask who you need to speak to to find the bits you need.
But above all, the opportunity to meet and chat with so many like-minded fellow collectors in a friendly and informal environment. Make friends, find out where you can get hold of that elusive item that you have been searching after for years, join one of our relaxed training courses like the one below which covered the old A/B Coin Collecting Box, get the opportunity to visit restoration companies like Unicorn Kiosks and ask questions of the experts.
(Pictures courtesy of Sam Hallas)
Now if that doesn't make you want to join then I don't think anything will, if it does tickle your fancy then please have a look in the menus (above) about how to join THG. Don't forget, as well as the swapmeets you will get four journals every year and access to our members only web and mailing groups where you will find lively discussions on all things telephone related.
Please note, THG events are open to members only. Due to various conditions applied to us by some of the venues that we use and also the requirements placed on us by our insurance policy, the THG's events are not open to the public. New members are welcome to join at any time and will be admitted to our events as soon as their membership has been approved.
Reservations for tables must be made in advance with our events organiser as some venues are very well attended, with more than 30 tables.
Lately our swapmeets have been giving even better value to our members. After the swapmeet has finished, and allowing a suitable break for a little light refreshment, we have held a small workshop. We have held free training sessions covering topics such as dial repair, reading and understanding N-diagrams and planset working and David Walton has held a session on the repair and re-termination of cloth cords. Details of the training sessions will be announced in the journal. You do not usually need to book a place but you will need to let the organiser know in order that you can be told what to bring. You can use the form in the Contacts section.
Laurence kindly organises our events for us and he can be reached by using the form in the Contacts section.
Up to date information regarding all forthcoming THG events and meetings, including the AGM is available to members by logging on to the THG's secure members site.