Monday, 13 June 2016

Her Majesty Loves Her Corgis

Happy Official Birthday Ma'am
Lovely Corgis. But Perhaps not this one?
And certainly not this one!
fbb remembers the arrival of the first Corgi models in 1956. They challenged the much loved and market-dominant Dinky Toys with better detail and "glass" in the windows.
The company went from strength to strength; making its name even better known with spin-offs from film and TV shows. Of course the most famous was James Bond's Aston Martin ...
... complete (in this version) with working ejector seat. James Bond's ejected passenger was often propelled into oblivion! If one of your pals owned one of these he was a superhero in the playground. Dinky responded with windows, sprung supension and steerable wheels leading to seething jealousy from fbb when his chum, and later this blog's Northampton correspondent, acquired a Rolls Royce.
But by the end of the 1970s even Corgi models had become less innovative, and sales slumped continually into the 1980s. The end finally came in 1983, when Corgi Toys were forced to call in the Official Receiver after years of staving off the inevitable, just three years after the demise of their greatest rival Dinky Toys and one year after Lesney (Matchbox). An era of British toy manufacturing had passed into history.

There was a change of ownership to a management buy-out, sale to the American firm Mattel, take-over of the Lledo range and finally a sale to Hornby. In a cruel twist of ironic fate, Corgis are now made by Hornby, one-time owners of their arch-rival, Dinky! It's not quite as undignified an end as it might seem, as the new Hornby is the old Triang.

This is Jack Odell.
He worked as a designer for Matchbox Toys, smaller versions of Corgi and Dinky. their models were intriguingly tiny and were sold in "matchbox" style boxes, albeit much larger than the real philumenological pack size.
Odell left Matchbox, turned his surname backwards ...
... and set up his own business specialising in historic models rather than the latest designs. He also used the brand "Days Gone". Some products were crude and unashamedly aimed at the tourist market rather than the serious collector.
Others bore advertising livery which the vehicles had never worn in real life.
One range, which was of interest to railway modellers, was branded as Trackside.
They were promoted as 1:76 scale and suitable for OO model railways.
The range has not been in production for many years, but some suppliers still have limited stocks. Hattons (now of Widnes, formerly of Liverpool) has a few on its web site including these traction engines.
With this in mind, our loyal readers may assume that fbb's visit to Morris Models of North Lancing, ...
... whilst spending last weekend with No 3 son, might have something to do with Days Gone models.

And those perceptive readers would be right!
Shoreham-by-Sea Snippet
It is not unusual for bus stop "flags" to be hung on any suitable rod, pole or perch that happens to be handy but less common is other businesses hi-lacking a bus stop pole. This was the scene outside No 3 son's pad at Shoreham-by-Sea.
Noteworthy also was Compass Bus's sensitive provision for those of our number who are "vertically challenged". 
Taller travellers are invited to assume an attitude of prayer; appropriate in view of the Christian  ownership of the company.
fbb did ride from Beach to town and back. Both trips were adequately loaded and two passengers actually paid ££££MONEY££££. The driver was pleasant and warned fbb that, as Shoreham was busy with farmers' market, Adur arts festival ...
... and a huge pop concert, there may be delays on the return journey. Excellent customer service.
Back to Axminster
The above blog referred to last Thursday's outward run. Today's return (1448 from Shoreham-by-Sea, 1622 from Clapham Junction) was faultless in every way. Everything ran perfectly to time. But it is a good thing that the fbb's lingered over lunch.

Crown and Anchor Shoreham-by-Sea - not much to look at from the outside ...
... but extended mightily on the inside to give views over the River Adur and Shoreham Beach (that is the community of Shoreham Beach, not Shoreham beach = which is on the south side of Shoreham Beach.)
The roast lamb was superb, and the cheese board equally delectable. But the 1348 had been cancelled due to staff shortages!

For completions sake, here are some better photos of Clapham Junction's new black-on-yellow signs.

Photos taken while Mrs fbb was having a PNB; being unwilling to risk a 159 unit's entrapping "facilities" on the journey to Axminster.
 Next Days Gone blog : Tuesday 14th June 

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