The TV presenter, James May, has made a fly-on-the-wall documentary about Hornby PLC.
They are the go-to name for model railways in Britain. largely because they have been going for over 100 years and almost everyone remembers having a Hornby train set.
Nowadays, they have moved production to China, and have built a set of nostalgia GB brands including, Airfix model kits, Humbrol enamel paints, Corgi cars, and Scalextric racing sets.
Over the last ten years or so, the company has have a difficult time, with losses reaching thirty odd million pounds.
A new management team has pledged to return the brand to profit…by selling more stuff and cost-cutting. That’s not really a good enough plan, as it’s mostly about selling more stuff to their existing, elderly male customer-base.
They should be thinking about the model railway as a form of architecture of experience and as a kind of narrative environment…Also, they definitely need a better communication designer.
I’ve posted before, on this blog, about the scope for re-engaging with model-railways as a form of digitally enhanced architecture-of-experience and psychogeography…
Here’s an anorak patch from the 1960s that I found today. It shows the overhead railway in Wuppertal, Germany.
Technically, the railway is a suspension railway, identified as the Electric Elevated Railway Installation. There was once something similar in Liverpool. Nowadays, this has the look of a future that might once have been…
The line was originally built at the end of the 19C, and began carrying passengers in 1901. Today, the railway has been entirely modernised and carries 82 000 passengers daily.
In the old days, these kinds of woven badges were sold as modest souvenirs to visitors. You could sew the patches onto the sleeves of your anorak, or onto your rucksack. I may put this onto one of my scarves.