Friday, June 04, 2021

Book Review: The Hornby Book of Trains - The First one Hundred Years

Dropping in to my local model shop last week to buy some fencing for a project, I was surprised with a heavy cardboard package. It seems that one of the anniversary items I ordered many months ago had arrived. Not the diecast VW van, but Pat Hammond's book covering the history of this famous company.

If you want someone to write a history of model railways, Pat is your man. No-one has as an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, not access to the treasure trove of photos that this sort of project requires. Much of this will be from his time writing Ramsay's Guide as well as several other books on the topic. 

I have several of those, but this is the best. Pat takes us through the company history from the first days right up to 2020. Most years have a chapter allocated to them, although for obvious reasons 1940-45 are lumped together. 

There are highlights of years and decades at the ends of the chapters so you can spot all the most important models from the time. 

Photos, and there are lots of them in this 448 page tome weighing in as 1.2kg, are in colour and well reproduced. As well as models there is advertising from the appropriate period too - it's interesting to see how things develop over the years. As much as a history of the company, this is a history of model railways, from crude tinplate to the latest hi-fi plastic stock from China.

If there is a problem with this book, it's not long enough to do parts of the story justice. Had it been, we would be looking at a multi volume set that only the hard-core collecting nerd would buy. From a personal point of view, the omission of both the Battlespace Turbo car and Giraffe car is a shame, but there is a lot of other Battlespace. 

These are tiny points however. For a very modest £25, you get a cracking hardback book. Even if you just look at the photos, it's well worth the money.

Buy The Hornby Book of Trains - The First one Hundred Years from Amazon (Affiliate link)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many Canadians, including myself, got their start in the model rail hobby with Hornby or Tri-Ang/Hornby sets. I sometimes have to explain to American modelers of my acquaintance who Tri-Ang Hornby was!

Steve Lucas