I was reading on the club forum about the closing down of an old model shop that one of the members used to use and it started me thinking about the first place that fed my miniature figure collecting and so I thought I’d get all dewy eyed about it on here.
I used to live in a place called Elm Park in the 70’s and every Saturday my Great Grandad Joe and Great Nanna ‘Nosey’ would look after us while my Mum went round the shops in Romford (they lived opposite the market so very handy). Sometimes this would end up with me receiving the princely sum of 50p as either of them might slip the huge coin into my hand with the rejoinder of “‘Ere’s 10 bob son, don’t tell your Nan/Grandad” (depending on who was doing the gifting!), indeed on very lucky days I’d get double bubble as they both snuck me some cash! So when we got home the first thing I would do was to tear round the corner clutching the fantastically shaped currency tightly in my hand (you daren’t put it in your pocket as the weight would tip you over, I were a small lad back then!!) until I made it to this wondrous place….
Yep. ‘The Hobby Shop’.
The right hand window was full of Matchbox cars and Airfix kits and boxes of ‘soldiers’, the left hand window tools and other DIY kit that a 7 year old just wasn’t interested in (much as the 49 year old still isn’t today!). Once inside the place smelled fantastically of wood shavings as they would cut wood out the back for customers, indeed whenever I smell the same today I automatically think of this place, and the whole of the left side of the shop was a long counter with about a million wooden boxes stuffed with screws and bolts and all manner of uninteresting stuff and behind the counter would be one of the two gents that ran the shop resplendent in their brown coat (obviously worn over a shirt and tie). The chap on duty would get a perfunctory hello as I sped past on the way to the glass counter at the back that held the real wonders. Airfix.
If ‘the man’ was serving a grown up it meant I’d be waiting for ‘ages’ although that gave me more time to decide what to get: the new German Mountain Troops or the 8th Army to fight the Afrika Corp I bought the other week, or one of those Centurion tanks in the white and yellow box like that DUCK thing? Whatever it was, I’d leave happy clutching some new part of my collection and looking forwards to next week when I’d be doing the same again.
P.S. When I started thinking about writing this I did a quick search online for the photo and the truly fantastic news is that the shop it is still there and nothing has changed apparently which has really cheered me up no end. Long may it continue.