Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Most of my model shop memories are from the West Country, where I grew up and later moved back to.

 

Growing up in Bath, we were served by the Bath Pram & Toy Shop (later 'Snooks', reflecting the name of the owning family) and the wonderful 'Modellers Den'.

 

Both sold RTR but less, if anything - to begin with - for the scratchbuilder or kitbuilder (meaning metal loco kits). 'Modellers Den' were a more general model shop in any case, selling Airfix, Revell and other makes of plastic kits, glues, paints etc.

 

My eyes were truly opened as to what a proper model railway shop looked like, when I first visited Max Williams, in Lawrence Hill, Bristol. This was a slightly awkward train ride from Bath for me, with a change of trains at Bristol TM and the service to Lawrence Hill not being as frequent as it is today.

 

But what an Aladdins Cave - full of kits, bits and all kinds of things, presided over by the rather magisterial, but kindly Mr Williams and occasionally assisted by his daughter (who ran the shop for a short while after his death years later, prior to it closing down).

 

The problem for me in visiting any such emporium as an impecunious teenager was the inevitable fact that my funds got nowhere near my levels of desire and needs! I bought one of my first whitemetal kits there when I was probably about 14. I went to the shop, thinking I had saved up enough for a K's 14XX, but horror of horrors, I was about 50p short - an insurmountable barrier in those days for me. The only solution was to buy something else that I could afford, so I went home with a K's 1363 kit instead.

 

If I thought that Max Williams was an 'Aladdin's Cave', then such misconceptions were well and truly swept away when I paid a (first and only) visit to the incredible emporium run by the Dimmock brothers in Chantry Mead, near Frome. I recall it being in a barn or similar, possibly upstairs, but I do recall the shelves inside groaning under the weight of hundreds of wonderful loco and rolling stock kits. I went there with friends by car and never had the opportunity to go again. I don't know when the shop closed, but I have a fancy it didn't last that long, it certainly isn't there any more.

 

  • Like 2
  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Max Williams, I was a regular there rom the age of 7 until Max died.   In fact he gave me a referance when I was leaving school in 1959 to show  possible  employers. I still have the referance.

 

Keith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not really a model shop, more of a toy shop. But there was a place called Barnards in Sheffield, who sold toys and lots of models. Upstairs there was an hairdresser, but you had to go through the model shop to get to it. On the stairs he had loads of shelves stacked high with Triang and Hornby Dublo boxes left over from the 50's to early 60's. This was in the late 70's, by the way. They were just stored out of the way and forgotten about. So when my mum was having her hair done I just sat on the stairs and looked at these boxes! My mum finally got around to asking if they were still for sale. And he started to sell them to us. They were all mint! Triang Water Tower, Hornby plate layers huts. Bits of Hornby Dublo Three rail and two rail track, including an electrical operated uncoupling ramp! Two Hornby Dublo 3 rail Tender D12. A Triang American trailer and centre car, but not the power car! A black American tender. Loads of the large Triang platforms, short ramps and curved ramps and the steps with adverts on them. I had about 20 Loading Gauges! There were side walls for the elevated sections and two support piers. Loads of other stuff. We couldn't buy it all, he might have sold some to other people. But I think he chucked the rest away. 

As for what happened to the stuff I bought, I lost interest for a time in model railways. But a friend of mine constructed one. I suspect now that it was just a fad with him. Anyway I had all this model railway stuff chucking about the house, thinking it wasn't really worth anything now. So I gave it away to him. 

While modelling something else, I went into Sheffield Transport Models for some plastic rods etc. And while I was in there, in the window was some of my model railway stuff for sale. So my mate clearly new the value of the stuff and flogged it for cash!

We live and learn.    

  • Like 1
  • Friendly/supportive 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 08/03/2019 at 07:57, PaulG said:

Ray Rippon & Sons Leigh on Sea Essex, was also a model and bike shop. Son Doug running the model part of the business and his brother the bikes. Purchased my first LG kit built Thompson carriages from Doug and the carriages still look excellent on the layout nearly 50 years later!

 

Paul

I was also a customer of Ray Rippon. I recall a stiff climb from Leigh-on-Sea (LT&S) station. One of the items I bought was a solder assembled J50 made from a K's bodyline kit. I sprayed it black and mounted it on the recommended HD R1 chassis. It stayed thus for decades but has recently been treated to a full set of handrails and a Bachmann 57xx chassis.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh the model shop, and oh how I am down to two, lonely outposts....

 

When I were a lad living as I always have here in Swadlincote we boasted two model shops. KMB Models and M&P Models. KMB is when you wanted your new stuff and was run by a very kindly gent. M&P was run by Morris and Paul, father and son who, when the latter semi-retired (and the former retired from near by John Knowles after being security guard there for many years) set up a nice model shop.

 

This place was frequently packed with all the cast offs and second hands. My dad and I would often go there, mostly for "bits and bobs" along with buying little items now and then. He'd go for a long chat with old acquaintances and I'd go to gawp at all the models he had in every nook and cranny.

 

Both are gone now. The old gent passed away, as did Morris. Both sons marching on for a while but I've just learned Paul's Model Shop, as it became known, is now gone too after a friend of his took over.

 

Across in Burton you had Les' models. A good shop, that moved a couple of times, but as online shopping rose, so it fell. Too large a shop, and an owner ready to call it a day for perfectly fine reasons.

 

Out in Tutbury you had the Tutbury Jinny. Expensive back in the day, but would always order what you needed and get it to you within the week. Tutbury Models as it's now known is still there and I frequent it to pick up bits and bobs as I need, and sometimes a bit of rolling stock. Easiest place to get Bass and Worthington's Vans y'see, and I'm an absolute sucker for local wagons.

 

There used to be a couple of shops in Derby. One near the main Mosque who's name now escapes me that abandoned model railways altogether in favour of RC Cars and that side of the hobby. There was even a Model Works for a while.

 

Now instead, the Loughborogh Model Centre decamped itself to a nice premises in Derby and is a place I sorely need to frequent more often!

  • Informative/Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Living in Sydney for me it was the original Hobbyco store back in the Haymarket, circa-1950's/1960's.  The store was a boy's dream come true.  The double frontage on the shopfront had everything imaginable, albeit the brass pieces were many time the average adult wage.  One walked into the shop to be unfortunately met with a shop full of stuffed toys and dolls on the street level but once one walked down to the lower level a boy's wonderland opened up.  There was trains, cars, boats, layouts, live steam multi-cylinder expansion engines,  multi cylinder engines for planes and in the early 1960's a working model of a Wankel rotary.  As a child I would always leave a mark on the windows at the shop entrance by pressing my face tight trying to get a closer look at the goodies on display.  Downstairs my heart would race with excitement at all that was available, being so envious, but I could not afford to buy anything.  There was no discounting and some prices were astronomically high.  As years passed and with new owners the store moved up George Street and catered more for the radio control crowd.  It lost its appeal that it had in those halcyon days.   With the passing of more years it relocated at least twice more but never in my opinion achieved the level of enthusiasm one gained visiting the original store as a child.  model railways became less and less popular and the store's inventory reflected the current interests of the day.  I still have very fond memories of those exciting visits sixty years ago when one's dreams never quite matched reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worked for BEATTIES in Leeds for almost 18 years, when I started they had 4 shops, when I left they had 72! The model railway memories from back then!.....

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Din said:

Oh the model shop, and oh how I am down to two, lonely outposts....

 

When I were a lad living as I always have here in Swadlincote we boasted two model shops. KMB Models and M&P Models. KMB is when you wanted your new stuff and was run by a very kindly gent. M&P was run by Morris and Paul, father and son who, when the latter semi-retired (and the former retired from near by John Knowles after being security guard there for many years) set up a nice model shop.

 

This place was frequently packed with all the cast offs and second hands. My dad and I would often go there, mostly for "bits and bobs" along with buying little items now and then. He'd go for a long chat with old acquaintances and I'd go to gawp at all the models he had in every nook and cranny.

 

Both are gone now. The old gent passed away, as did Morris. Both sons marching on for a while but I've just learned Paul's Model Shop, as it became known, is now gone too after a friend of his took over.

 

Across in Burton you had Les' models. A good shop, that moved a couple of times, but as online shopping rose, so it fell. Too large a shop, and an owner ready to call it a day for perfectly fine reasons.

 

Out in Tutbury you had the Tutbury Jinny. Expensive back in the day, but would always order what you needed and get it to you within the week. Tutbury Models as it's now known is still there and I frequent it to pick up bits and bobs as I need, and sometimes a bit of rolling stock. Easiest place to get Bass and Worthington's Vans y'see, and I'm an absolute sucker for local wagons.

 

There used to be a couple of shops in Derby. One near the main Mosque who's name now escapes me that abandoned model railways altogether in favour of RC Cars and that side of the hobby. There was even a Model Works for a while.

 

Now instead, the Loughborogh Model Centre decamped itself to a nice premises in Derby and is a place I sorely need to frequent more often!

 

In the 1990s era: There was one on Normanton Road called C&B Models in Derby. Also one called Golden Gains that I recall seemed quite eclectic.  Also a second hand toy and model shop in the eagle centre market that I sold my action men collection to. All now gone (including I believe the eagle centre market altogether).  I used to visit Derby frequently with my grandparents as it had a direct (long) bus route from my home in Macclesfield. When I gave up railways for a few years literally the only item I kept was an old Wiking Trabant 601s in 1:87 purely as it was the last thing my grandad bought me before he passed away.  It resides on my current layout despite being incorrect in scale, era and country (hidden in a garage interior)! 

 

There was a short lived shop in Derby off a main roundabout in the noughties that I’m sure you’ll know. Bought a few bits c2005 but gone by the time I next made my now infrequent visits. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, pippindoo said:

Worked for BEATTIES in Leeds for almost 18 years, when I started they had 4 shops, when I left they had 72! The model railway memories from back then!.....

 

Beatties..... By the time I discovered them in the 90s they were the National chain you describe.  Remember their branches in Manchester, Altrincham and Blackpool and actually have a few Beatties carrier bags still. To modellers (and a lot of the general public) over 40 a legendary name but to the mainstream public almost forgotten entirely. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, ianmacc said:

 

In the 1990s era: There was one on Normanton Road called C&B Models in Derby. Also one called Golden Gains that I recall seemed quite eclectic.  Also a second hand toy and model shop in the eagle centre market that I sold my action men collection to. All now gone (including I believe the eagle centre market altogether).  I used to visit Derby frequently with my grandparents as it had a direct (long) bus route from my home in Macclesfield. When I gave up railways for a few years literally the only item I kept was an old Wiking Trabant 601s in 1:87 purely as it was the last thing my grandad bought me before he passed away.  It resides on my current layout despite being incorrect in scale, era and country (hidden in a garage interior)! 

 

There was a short lived shop in Derby off a main roundabout in the noughties that I’m sure you’ll know. Bought a few bits c2005 but gone by the time I next made my now infrequent visits. 

 

C&B was the one I forgot!

 

There was also Trainlines, who were Chester Green when I remember them, then they moved near Friar gate Station.

 

The Eagle Centre was where the Debenhams now is in that monstrosity of a Mall they built and is why my favoruite geek store, Forbidden Planet has abandoned Derby altogether. The Mall also had a Model Works? Chain Store in it for a while which got kiboshed by the Credit Crisis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Din said:

 

C&B was the one I forgot!

 

There was also Trainlines, who were Chester Green when I remember them, then they moved near Friar gate Station.

 

The Eagle Centre was where the Debenhams now is in that monstrosity of a Mall they built and is why my favoruite geek store, Forbidden Planet has abandoned Derby altogether. The Mall also had a Model Works? Chain Store in it for a while which got kiboshed by the Credit Crisis.

Hi. You mean Model Zone? Full RRP but a boon when they were around as always meant a model shop in virtually every city! 

Edited by ianmacc
Typo
  • Like 1
  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, ianmacc said:

 

Beatties..... By the time I discovered them in the 90s they were the National chain you describe.  Remember their branches in Manchester, Altrincham and Blackpool and actually have a few Beatties carrier bags still. To modellers (and a lot of the general public) over 40 a legendary name but to the mainstream public almost forgotten entirely. 

 

Absolutely. The two original stores, at Southgate, were my local model shops when I was a lad in Finchley. One was for new stuff, and the other was for second hand and bits and pieces.

 

When I started working in London, the Beatties in Holborn was my usual haunt, easy to spot along the road due to the half-size (?) signal outside. But they eventually pushed too far, too hard, especially into the crowded world of video games, and that was that. Model Zone picked up a number of their premises, but they did not last even half as long. A great pity.

Edited by Mike Storey
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, pippindoo said:

Worked for BEATTIES in Leeds for almost 18 years, when I started they had 4 shops, when I left they had 72! The model railway memories from back then!.....

 

1 hour ago, ianmacc said:

 

Beatties..... By the time I discovered them in the 90s they were the National chain you describe.  Remember their branches in Manchester, Altrincham and Blackpool and actually have a few Beatties carrier bags still. To modellers (and a lot of the general public) over 40 a legendary name but to the mainstream public almost forgotten entirely. 

 

Anyone remember the Southgate Model Shop? The was my very first job as a 'Saturday boy' who helped out in the shop. I'm guessing it would have been in 1962/63 and at that time they had three small shops within a few yards of each other. The original corner shop became the repair centre and then they opened a second shop over the road which became the secondhand shop when the third shop opened.

 

I certainly recall Colonel Beattie who owned the three shops at that time. We used to sell all the main brands of model railways in the 60's plus baseboards (Beattie Boards) and other products generally under the Beattie own brand name. Of course the baseboards in those days were two sheets of hardboard facing over a 1" paper honeycomb framed with soft wood. Totally hopeless as boards now, but at the time we knew no different.

 

Colonel Beattie then bought out Bassett Lowke. When he retired he sold out to Richard Kohnstamm (Riko), who at that time were the Tamiya importers.

 

Who'd have thought the little corner shop that really got me interested in model railways would end up as a national chain of 60 shops.

 

Edit:  Small world Mike....

 

The shops were actually in Old Southgate where the tube station is. New Southgate was north of Arnos Grove where my first real job was at Standard Telephones and Cables.

Edited by gordon s

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, gordon s said:

 

 

Anyone remember the Southgate Model Shop? The was my very first job as a 'Saturday boy' who helped out in the shop. I'm guessing it would have been in 1962/63 and at that time they had three small shops within a few yards of each other. The original corner shop became the repair centre and then they opened a second shop over the road which became the secondhand shop when the third shop opened.

 

I certainly recall Colonel Beattie who owned the three shops at that time. We used to sell all the main brands of model railways in the 60's plus baseboards (Beattie Boards) and other products generally under the Beattie own brand name. Of course the baseboards in those days were two sheets of hardboard facing over a 1" paper honeycomb frames with soft wood. Totally hopeless as boards now, but at the time we knew no different.

 

Colonel Beattie then bought out Bassett Lowke. When he retired he sold out to Richard Kohnstamm (Riko), who at that time were the Tamiya importers.

 

Who'd have thought the little corner shop that really got me interested in model railways would end up as a national chain of 60 shops.

 

Edit:  Small world Mike....

 

The shops were actually in Old Southgate where the tube station is. New Southgate was north of Arnos Grove where my first real job was at Standard Telephones and Cables.

 

Yes, you're right Gordon. My brother lives in New Southgate now, hence the error. Corrected in original!

  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going back many years I used to visit my grandparents in St Leonards-on-sea. As well as train spotting nearby I used to visit a great model/toy shop in London Road that was full of wonderful railway items & Dinky Toys etc. Bliss! In later years much time was spent in Cramers model shop in Watford High Street, almost next door to the High Street station. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember Beatties in Holborn but, as a boy, I used to go with my father to Hamblings just off Charing Cross Road where he would get all the OO gauge material required for his quite extensive layout which moved at least three times around Surrey and ended up in Cornwall - I still have his Jamieson kit GWR locos from the early 1950s, all fitted with Hamblings wheels and all still in working order.  The next best remembered shop was the Home of O Gauge in Raynes Park which lasted until maybe 20 years ago.  It was close study of that shop window that convinced me to go with O gauge.  It's interesting how influential these retailers are/were... 

 

Work in progress...

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blogs/blog/2502-swan-hill/

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Mike Storey said:

Of course the baseboards in those days were two sheets of hardboard facing over a 1" paper honeycomb frames with soft wood. Totally hopeless as boards now, but at the time we knew no different.

 

I've seen the adverts for Beattieboards many times, and never knew that was what they consisted of.

 

Its exactly the same construction as a cheap interior door, or a cheap Ikea table top, although the paper honeycomb now tends to be fire-resistant plastic to give 30 minute fire resistance, and far from being useless as baseboards, they are very good if used with a bit of thought. Incredibly rigid. Not good for track pins though!

 

After Mr Beattie bought the stock (not the name I think, or perhaps he very quickly sold that on to Allen Levy, who owned it for a while) of BL, he must have distributed it to the four corners of his empire, because possibly a decade later I bought a great stash of BL printed tin 0 scale adverts from the shop in Croydon. They had a big drawer filled with them, which "nobody every buys", and I came away with a brown paper bag load. I've got quite a few left unused even now!

  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pages of Barkingside .I spent many an hour with my nose stuck to the window of  his shop .He moved  later to the opposite side of the  road .he had a coin op layout in the window . Which he said was areal money spinner at a penny a pop .iI was just down the bottom of my road .it later became a Chinese take away when he retired which was also handy .

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Railway Roundabout in Collier Row. I used to love sifting through back numbers of magazines and watching stuff running on the layout on display. Bill Bourne, the owner, still sells at shows. 

Used to be my Saturday adventure, only a mile and a bit away but it seemed like a long way on my bike back then!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

 

Absolutely. The two original stores, at Southgate, were my local model shops when I was a lad in Finchley. One was for new stuff, and the other was for second hand and bits and pieces.

 

When I started working in London, the Beatties in Holborn was my usual haunt, easy to spot along the road due to the half-size (?) signal outside. But they eventually pushed too far, too hard, especially into the crowded world of video games, and that was that. Model Zone picked up a number of their premises, but they did not last even half as long. A great pity.

The shop in Southgate was originally the Southgate Hobbyshop.The first shop was on the corner in Winchmore Hill rd,they had half a shop,the other half was a boot & shoe repairer.They must have moved into a bigger shop on Dennis parade opposite the tube station in about 1960-61.I remember taking a lot of Dublo 3 rail track there to swap for the new Formoway 2 rail track.Happy days!.

 

                                      Ray.

  • Like 2
  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, sagaguy said:

When I started working in London, the Beatties in Holborn was my usual haunt

 

Beaties in Holborn used to be a rare treat! If my local model shop was an adventure Beaties was a full scale expedition! All zone travel cards and a trip to London on the sliding door 306 EMU's, being scared to death as double headed Class 37's thundered through Romford on  container trains then running up to Liverpool St stabling point to see silver roofed 47's with names. As I got older and ventured out on my own I'd get off at Stratford and watch what ever went through there. All very exotic stuff! 

Happy days :)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being a Leicester lad, I recall the principle model shop was called Apex Craft, originally in Churchgate, but in it's later years moved to Charles Street before it's final closure. I spent much pocket money there as a lad, but I recall that when they had sold out of the then new Hornby-Dublo 2-6-4T  I came across a newsagent on Aylestone Road, now long gone, who had one in the window. I parted, with, if memory serves correctly, the princely sum of £3-7s-6d  (£3.37.5p)  in coin made up mostly from  'Christmas Tips' from my round as a 'Butchers Lad ' and proudly took my loco home for a busy time on my old Hornby Dublo layout!  Now, exiled to the Fylde, model shops are relatively distant and Transport Models In Preston has announced it's closure. My purchases these days are mainly on line or at exhibitions.

I have had some wonderful times browsing and buying in model shops, now sadly long past. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another shop in N.London was Howell Dimmock in Lordship Lane,Tottenham. It was a partnership between Dudley Dimmock of Graham Farish  & Chris Crawley. I don't think it lasted for too Long. Chris then opened a small shop on the corner of Lordship Lane & Bruce Grove, about 200 yards from the original shop. 

 

          Ray. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I moved to Leytonstone in East London in 1987 and used to regularly go into The Engine Shed.  Initially I was using 009 but since moved to N but neither were well supported by the shop.  I think it was run by a couple when I first visited but latterly by a chap called Dave (Howells?) who was very much into P4 and was building a layout in the backroom, assisted by the Roding Valley MRG.  I seem to remember that they met on a Tuesday at 1800 but that was when I finished work in Central London and I usually had other commitments on Tuesday, so I never went.  There is a dearth of model shops in London now, but high rents and rates must be factors as well as travel time.  We have an Art Shop near which I buy most paints from, but otherwise it usually has to be mail order.

 

(IPW)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only went in that corner shop once. There were 3 of us who drove to London every year for the Easter show, getting in a bit of trainspotting/bus spotting and model shops before going to the show. One year one of the others (sadly now deceased) brought along a H/D loco which was an absolute pig -he always had a few bits and pieces to barter to pay for his new purchases. Anyway we went into the shop, the guy behind the counted gave the loco a quick look and offered a fair price for a good loco, We other 2 stopped browsing at that point and hurried out of the shop, one of "Dickinsons Real Deals" had been done!

 

Stewart

Edited by stewartingram

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.