1974: First British Star Trek Convention

Picture by & © Barbara Edwards

The Star Trek Action Group was set up by Jenny and Terry Elson specifically to get support for a British Star Trek convention. The venue was the Abbey Motor Hotel, Leicester, and the convention charity was the World Worldlife Fund.

Although billed as a two-day event, many of the fans travelled up early on Friday for a one-day pre-convention minicon. Because the hotel was so small, the convention was fully booked before it opened. According to Rob Hansen’s  history-in-progress THEN (Vol 4, Ch 2),  a group of mainstream SF fans who travelled up to the event in the hope of meeting women were turned away at the door. Happily, others had booked ahead, and one, Malcolm Davies, liked the fandom so much he later married Trekkie Kate Solomon (or Katie Chafen, as she was then.)

George Takei and James Doohan were the guests. The Elsons had asked Paramount to send over the three “banned” Trek episodes for screening, but Paramount provided the blooper reel from the show instead. This was, of course, on film.

There was a single programme stream with screenings (including British telefantasy such as Gerry Anderson’s Doppelganger,) guest talks and autograph/photo sessions. There was also a sales room and an art room, both quite small.

Doohan and Takei were very accessible and affable, happily posing for pictures, playing darts and sharing a pint with fans in the bar.

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