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'Ringway in the Fifties' - 376 pages, £10.50 softback or £14.80 hardback

'The Poetry of Paul Ambrose Croghan' - 147 pages, £6.00 softback or £10.30 hardback.

'British Aerodromes in the 1960s and 1970s' (an amalgamation/annotation of the "Directions" and "Residents" booklets produced by P.B. Enterprises (Aero) in the 1970s) - 435 pages, £9.00 softback or £12.00 hardback

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This is not a site dedicated to spotters of modern aeroplanes. I am NOT now an aeroplane spotter; I gave up “spotting” aeroplanes in 1982 – that is more than thirty years ago. I am a retired civil servant and amateur lepidopterist (see my other site if you want to know what that is). For an excellent forward-looking site covering the history of Ringway to the present day, I recommend by Mark Williams.

I DID however “spot” aeroplanes from 1962 until 1982, and this site deals exclusively with that past period. If therefore you have an interest in that period, READ ON!

My aeroplane-spotting days began in a field adjacent to a former public footpath behind the “Airport Hotel” on Ringway Road. The path was closed in 1963, some of the spotters re-locating to a rhubarb field adjacent to the 1st Moss Nook scout-hut which used to be on Ringway Road opposite Shadow Moss Road; the spectators’ terraces had also opened on the roof of the new terminal building. As my interest developed I started taking small groups of spotters to aerodromes by car in 1964, continuing this until 1971; I was also involved for a while in the setting up of a spotters’ club “EBBMAS-Aero" which was founded by Paul Ambrose Croghan in late 1964 (“EBBMAS” was an acronym of "Emily B. Bell Memorial Aviation Society", Emily B. Bell being a former president of the St. John's Ambulance Association in Cheadle Heath, the wife of John Bell of Bell's Brewery, Stockport). I was briefly involved with the “Ringway Aviation Enthusiasts’ Society” operated by Lance R. Shippey from 1968 to 1970. Then in late 1971, David McCartney, one of my car passengers and a former member of Mr. Shippey’s club, suggested that we start a new club – and the society “P.B. Enterprises (Aero)” was duly inaugurated. Paul Croghan, whose “EBBMAS-Aero” had ceased operating in 1968, gave us a lot of help and advice in the early years. Four other youths initially expressed interest in helping to run it (though in practice only one of them, Colin J. Fearnley, actually did so) – but it was Mr. Croghan who really provided the impetus to get the society going – even though he was never actually a member of it!

We learnt recently that Paul Croghan had died on 28th January 2003, and therefore felt that, even though I had been estranged from him since 1980, this website would be a fitting medium to publish as much as I have been able to salvage of his poetry. I am grateful to Marjorie Stevens, the executor of his estate, for permission to do this. Please click on the  link to view the poems (aviation, railway and other), some of his railway paintings and his obituary. We have also included an obituary of Graham Ousey who died in 2008, an enthusiast of very long standing who was involved in the activities of the early societies. Also see the page "Some personalities of the past", which includes photographs of our tributes to these deceased personalities .

During the years 1972 to 1979 “P.B. Enterprises” operated a very intensive programme of coach excursions to aerodromes; we also held slide shows usually in Hazel Grove or Sale, set up sales stands at air shows, and kept large stocks of photographs for sale to members. We produced a booklet on directions to aerodromes in Britain (by P.B.H.), then one on "residents" - i.e. lists of the registrations of the aeroplanes based at each aerodrome (originally by L.W. Smith, then revised and greatly improved by H.W. Gandy), and also one on British military transport and patrol aeroplane serials (by A.J. Cottrell)..

After “P.B. Enterprises” broke up in 1979, I was involved briefly with the very short-lived “Phoenix Aviation Society”; in early 1980 that was taken over by the “Starliner Aviation Society” run by Martin A.L. Gresty and Colin Rushmer. That society also wound up in 1980, and I arranged for those members who wished to be transferred to the “Cheshire Aviation Society” under Phillip M. Kinder (who later also became a butterfly enthusiast). After leaving “C.A.S.” in early 1982 I was involved for a few months in the society “Friends of the DC-3”, but then moved on to other pursuits.

I have uploaded every issue of the "P.B. Enterprises" magazine “Winged Words” to this site (yes, this was MY title, although it has since been used – and I believe still is used – by another organisation – well, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”!). Also worthy of inclusion are the following magazines issued by other societies in which I was involved: “Centreline” issued by the “EBBMAS-Aero Enthusiasts' Society” (edited by P.A. Croghan) in 1965-6; one issue of “Centreline” issued by the “Ringway Aviation Enthusiasts’ Society” in 1970 (this ran to just two issues) (L.R. Shippey); “Touchdown” issued in 1979 by the “Phoenix Aviation Society” in late 1979 (P.B.H.); and “Starlines” issued by the “Starliner Aviation Society” from 1978 to 1980 (M.A.L. Gresty/P.B.H.). To view the magazines, click on the appropriate year, then click the issues required. 

1965     1966    1969     1972     1973    1974    1975     1976     1977     1978     1979     1980

I have put on to this site all my photographs of aeroplanes taken on "P.B." trips - yes they aren't a very balanced selection and yes they are the ones which I personally found interesting! To see them, click on the words "Photograph gallery" near the top of this page, or on the appropriate year at the top of the page (1972 onwards - there weren't any in 1965, 1966 or 1969) and then click the link to photographs - it is at the bottom of the list in each year.

I fear the membership list of the society P.B. Enterprises (Aero) has been lost over the course of time. I have however included a list of all the members (and non-members who were involved with the society) who are mentioned by name in the society magazines and my diaries and photograph albums. Also I have listed those who at one time or another acted as society officials, and also the spotters whom I knew at Ringway before the days of P.B. Enterprises.

MEMBERSHIP                                   OFFICIALS                               SPOTTERS BEFORE P.B. ENTERPRISES DAYS

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