STAG Mini-Con

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Also see Mini Con.

Star Trek Convention
Name: The 1974 British Star Trek Minicon
Dates: March 23, 1974
Frequency:
Location: Wigton, Leicester
Type: fan-run fan con
Focus: Star Trek:TOS
Organization:
Founder: STAG
Founding Date:
URL:
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Like its American counterpart, which was an afternoon event held at a public library, the very first British Star Trek con was held in a church hall on March 23, 1974.

This con was such a success that there was another one a year later.

1974

  • March 23, 1974
  • location: St. Thomas's Church, Wigton, Leicester
... I went to visit the local vicar and asked it we could hire his church hall. Certainly. £10 for the day and a tip for the caretaker. The use of the kitchen, clean up with you're through, and not more than 60 people. 60 people? It was only a local get-together...20 at the most! As I said before - ha, ha. We could have filled that hall twice over. Everyone from everywhere wanted to be there, and in the end we had to do a first come first served basis. [1]

1975

  • March 22, 1975
  • location: Leicester Center Hotel

Fans Remember the First Con

In June/July 1973, the editors and club founders of STAG write:

Action Group officers are pleased ???? to report (Yes,the question marks ARE supposed to be there!) that we now have enough funds to hire the local church hall for a Trekkie Con!... But don't mock. Rome was once a village! STAR TREK was once just a thought inside the head of Gene Rodenberry. Thing is, those villagers got working and built an Empire, and Gene.. .well, look what HE did!... My husband suggested the Duke of Bedford's place... So now, we've got the church hall! Tomorrow, who knows?... Not that we've got anything against Church Halls. ..great places for Scout Shows...or even stately homes, come to that. It's just that we want to aim for somewhere in between those two extremes. Anyway, think of the disadvantages of both. Great draughty places, and not exactly ideal for the first ALL STAR TREK CONVENTION IN GREAT BRITAIN!... This is only our eighth week in production. Already we've got a theoretical church-hall. So watch out, Duke of Bedford, we've got our eyes on your Country Estate! [2]
No-one who was at the mini-con can deny that we all had a good time. This was the first meeting of its kind in England, and not unnaturally, we were apprehensive as to its success. We needn't have worried! Judging by the sheer din alone, the committee knew they had made it! And wow! Wot a day! Leicester had never seen one like it before in all it's several thousand years history.. . although the city can only breathe freely again until September. Sheer chaos... or so it seemed to the committee! It was only afterwards, when all the letters began to pour in demanding another one that we were really aware of it's impact on the Star Trek population... Peace reigned on not more than three occasions; During the opening speeches, during the slide show (When everyone wasn't booing the Klingons, "Aaahing" at De Kelley or cheering Spock, and during the auction, which was the success of the day! Everything... food. Star Trek goodies, art-work and all were hungrily devoured. Friends meeting friends for the very first time sat, stood, knelt, stood on their heads, champed at crisps and swigged tea... and STILL managed to carry on talking. The older mixed with the younger, Chris PS Jones never did get round to setting up WSE table as she would have liked, and my Mum argued black and blue that her Enterprise was NOT upside down, SO there! 2 bob bits rattled into the gas meter.... MORE tea? The Sandwich spreaders (Thanks girls, you did a great job!) spread more loaves than there were in a baker's shop... A great day! And we WILL have another mini-con next year, that's a promise. But PLEASE, let's get the Big One over first! Many thanks to all who assisted. We couldn't have managed without you. And thanks to everyone for just coming along from all over England to enjoy yourself. We raised almost enough for George Takei's airfare. Isn't that just great? [3]
I suppose that was the first real convention, People came from the length and breadth of Britain, all for a one day of slide shows], talks, and friendships. [4]
I joined STAG as soon as I saw it advertised and was always proud of my membership number - no. 2. The club was soon up to 400 members and enough money was raised to rent a church hall for a day. The first Star Trek Convention to be held in Britain was actually a one-day Mini-Con held in a church hall in Wigston, Leicester. As far as I remember there were about 100 people there and the atmosphere was fantastic. It was the first chance the majority of us had had to meet and chat with other fans. [5]
I collected my first Star Trek cuttings from the good old Radio Times in July 1969. I was enthralled with this new series; it was different, it offered hope. I cut the papers and scanned the bookstalls; not much. Years passed. I had a few pen-pals from a club called the Star Trek Action Group. I wrote and exchanged a few meagre goodies and then, in 1973, just before Christmas, I sent off the vast sum of 75 pence to Jenny Elson, deciding to go and meet people at the STAG mini-con, to be held in a local hall in Wigston, Leicester. 'Mother's going to Leicester to meet some nutters' my children kindly remarked. Undeterred by mockery and scorn, I set off on my own, meeting up with pen-pal Jean at Victoria. We nattered all the way to Leicester. At least one or two other folk seem to be mad on Star Trek; I'm no longer alone! We arrived at the local hall in Wigston to a great welcome. We are definitely not the only ST fans in England. What a lovely feeling. Jenny welcomed everybody and we fell on the goodies stall like starving refugees. Look, badges... photos... slides!!! Real goodies; made my collection of newspaper clippings look a bit sparse. After the buffet we were introduced to Streck Deck Clip Joint and an Alien Adoption Centre (no prizes for guessing who was the most popular alien). We chatted and swapped goodies and then came the auction of artworks. To finish off, the best news of all... ST will return to our screens in July! I was broke, happy and relieved that I was not the only one, all alone. We nattered all the way back to St Pancras with new friends and got some odd looks from the other passengers but, no matter, we were no longer alone! [6]

Also See

References

  1. from Jenny Elson, in Star Trek Action Group #42
  2. from STAG #2
  3. from STAG #7, a con report by Jenny Elson
  4. from Jenny and Terry Elson in Star Trek Action Group #100
  5. Janet Quarton writes in Star Trek Action Group #100
  6. from Star Trek Action Group #101