View Full Version : Bob Symes RIP

joy ride
21st Jan 2015, 18:00
It has been announced that Robert Alexander Baron Schutzmann Von Schutzmansdorff ("Bob Symes" has died, aged 90. Inventor, engineer, model maker, Tomorrow's World presenter, and always seemed a nice fellow. RIP

Windy Militant
21st Jan 2015, 18:33
A true Shedite, a sad day for all who are fond of things arcanely mechanical. :(

Shaggy Sheep Driver
21st Jan 2015, 18:42
He didn't fit in with the modern meja's dumbed-down short-attention-span way, so is probably only known to the oldies. He was of the old school - knowledgeable, professional, courteous, literate. It's sad he has gone, though 90 isn't a bad innings.

Bye bye old chap.

21st Jan 2015, 21:13
There's no mention of his passing on the BBC even though he used to work there.

21st Jan 2015, 21:24
A hero of mine - very sad :{

21st Jan 2015, 21:35
Sad to hear - but it sounds like he had a fair innings and made good use of his time here.

The name rang bells with me - a 56-year old - from Tomorrow's world when it was good. But a quick Google brought it back pretty quick - memories of someone who made stuff interesting and made me want to find out more about things.

tony draper
21st Jan 2015, 21:38
Indeed,we are losing the guduns in virtual silence whilst with others we get the daylong phoney media weeping wailing and gushing on the news.
Farewell Mr Symes. :(

21st Jan 2015, 21:53
Bob Symes to modern presenters, from the sublime to the ridiculous.


22nd Jan 2015, 02:52
Sad news - I have fond memories of watching "Model World" years ago.

No the BBC will ignore his passing, he isn't a celebrity or a Soap star.

India Four Two
22nd Jan 2015, 04:52
I'm sad to say that I had never heard of him, having left the UK in 1970. However, having just watched the video that Fox3 posted, I shall be watching everything I can. What an impressive character.

joy ride
22nd Jan 2015, 07:59
For decades Tomorrow's World had some excellent presenters, Bob Symes, William Woollard, Raymond Baxter, James Burke and Judith Haan are the ones I remember. Intelligent people who had a real background in science, engineering, technology, and the ability to communicate clearly and well.
When one of my musical inventions was featured it was presented by Haan, surprising really because her interest was medicine, but she was very professional and thorough, pleasant, and bothered to find out as much as possible about my item before saying anything.

Not long afterwards BBC turned out the good presenters and started employing celebrities, children's show presenters and even well-known sporting people to present the show, hoping to make it more appealing. However, they lost their core audience with the banal and inept presentation, and never did attract a new generation, which was hell-bent on becoming bean counters, managers or celebrities.

TW's quality plummeted catastrophically, destroyed by celebrity-obsessed producers. Big shame.

22nd Jan 2015, 08:10
And they wonder why the kids today are not interested in science or engineering. The number of parents that say to me my kids doing media studies, because they can't wait to leave normal school, and see it as an easy option instead of getting into the garden shed and build something.

Background Noise
22nd Jan 2015, 08:13
Who had this publication?


Built the glider and there were plans for a yacht and a frigate too.

Lon More
22nd Jan 2015, 12:02
For decades Tomorrow's World had some excellent presenters, Bob Symes, William Woollard, Raymond Baxter, James Burke and Judith Haan are the ones I remember. Intelligent people who had a real background in science, engineering, technology, and the ability to communicate clearly and well

Top Gear has gone the same way

Shaggy Sheep Driver
22nd Jan 2015, 12:18
Top Gear has gone the same way

I don't think there's a parallel with TW for TG.

TG morphed from a dated 'car programme' format (Willam Woolard giving the dimensions of a Vauxhall Viva glove box) to a laddish comedy show. Very successfully, too.

TW just lost its way when it dumbed down.

22nd Jan 2015, 21:43
I seem to recall that he used to sail a yacht out of Lymington by the name of "Sheherazade". Lovely bloke, we're rapidly losing the interesting ones.

22nd Jan 2015, 23:15
I met Bob Symes at a few model events, and he was always happy to chat to anyone of any age without being patronising (I would have been about 10 at the time). He was a really nice chap and enthusiastic about everything he talked about.

As far as I recall, he brought along a diesel electric locomotive of his own design, powered by a Taplin twin inline model boat or aero engine of about 7.5cc, to a model railway exhibition in Farnham.

Model World was a must see on Saturday morning/lunchtime(?).

My memory didn't deceive me, here is a video of his Diesel-electric loco:

The Bob Symes 47 had a Taplin Twin, a homebuilt two pot, two stroke compression ignition engine designed in the 50s/60s, with water cooling and running at, by modern standards, fairly mdest rpm. I forget exactly what but it was driving a Lucas 6V motorcycle dynamo which I wouldn't expect to be happy much above ~6000.Edit: I've just left a message on the BBC 'Last Word' website. https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qpmv/contact If a few others do too, maybe Bob will get some recognition.

joy ride
23rd Jan 2015, 07:59
RedhillPhil: My grandad was a yacht designer at 4 Quay Hill, Lymington. I now have to trawl through the extensive Archive and see if Sheherzade was one of his!

25th Jan 2015, 14:39
I knew Bob when he was a member of a local model engineering society. He was a true enthusiast and a convincing TV presenter. A sad loss.

25th Jan 2015, 16:19
A thoroughly knowledgeable, watchable and engaging man. Not only that but highly skilled as well. I would have given my eye teeth to have a shed as well equipped as his was, whether it be for metalworking, welding, brazing, woodworking or electronics, he appeared to be a truly talented and skilled man with his hands and had the rare ability to communicate the fun and the nuances of the work he, or others was demonstrating in whatever programme he was presenting by the odd word, phrase or raised eyebrow at the right time.

As a Professional Engineer, this was the type of skills I wanted to see visiting every school in the land. This lack of the appreciation of the fun in Engineering is what resulted in the falling numbers of engineers here today.

25th Jan 2015, 20:24
Indeed very sad to see Bob go but he had a great innings. Like Mechta I was at the railway exhibition in Farnham, about 1976-77, when Bob officially declared the event open. I too was just a bit older than 10 years old and he had his loco on the next stand to ours, that was the start of a family friendship which continued ever since. All of our family are honoured to have known such a gentleman and count him as a friend.