Do you remember the shop?

Brighton Model Shops

By Danny Bloomfield

In the seventies, when I was a child and in my early teens, I used to build balsa model aircraft with my father.  Today there are no model shops at all in Brighton or Hove that sell traditional model aircraft kits, although the hobby is still going strong across the country.

Shops I remember
I remember several shops in the area that used to sell balsa models. There was  Harry Brooks in Hove near Portslade station; Gamleys in Brighton; the shop that is now called Model Zone in West Street; a shop in Lewes Road opposite the (now) B&Q store.  I've no idea of the name but the owner was very helpful. I remember a toy/model shop at the upper rear of the old Churchill Square, near to where Tesco used to be I think. Again, I have no idea of the name. There also used to be a model shop called Arthur Mullet in Meeting House Lane (see advert from 1958), but I never went there and assume it had closed by the early seventies.

Do you remember any other model shops?
I'd be interested to hear from anyone who remembers these shops. I would also like to know what happened to the owners. Perhaps someone remembers other such shops in the area.

 

Photo:Arther Mullet Model Shop Advert 1958

Arther Mullet Model Shop Advert 1958

From the private collection of Danny Bloomfield

This page was added on 08/02/2010.
Comments about this page

I remember the shop in West Street that is now called Model Zone. I think it might have been called Model Aerodrome before the name change?

By David Harris (09/02/2010)

I remember a shop in Coombe Terrace near the bus garage. (probably the one you mention). I always looked in the window when I went to the chemist or the chippie. I was more in to buses than models and he always had a good range for me to look at. I haven't been past there for some time so don't know if it is still there.

By Allan (09/02/2010)

I can remember most of the model shops in Brighton and Hove and I certainly remember Arther Mullett's in Meeting House Lane as I sometimes purchased items from that shop. I was also a member of the snooker club that operated above the shop and I was playing snooker at the time the assasination of President John F Kennedy was anounced on Friday, November 22, 1963. The announcement came via a BBC news bulletin on a monochrome television and it stopped all play for some while. More to come later on my memories of model shops.

By Ken Norman (09/02/2010)

Danny Bloomfield mentions that model flying is still going strong. I began making model aircraft at a very early age and following a 40 year break from model flying I have resumed and I am now a member of the Brighton Radio Flying Club that has a number of vacancies for new members. For more information about BRFC go to www.brightonradioflyingclub.co.uk

By Ken Norman (09/02/2010)

Hi Danny, The popularity of model aircraft making seems to have sprung up after the war, with the advent of two specialist suppliers in Brighton. These were Arthur Mullett (as above) and the Southern Junior Aircraft Co. at 89/90, London Road. Later there was the shop at Bostel House, 37 West Street, which was Modelmakers (Brighton) Ltd., who also traded as Model Aerodrome Ltd. in the 1950s. Later still they had another shop at 38 Brooker Street. Other shops opened by the end of the 1950s were Southern Hobbies Ltd. at 113, Western Road; C.T. Hammond (later known as The Model Shop) at 187B, Lewes Road; Bradshaw Model Products Ltd., at 40, Waterloo Street and 5/6, Cross Street (later in the 1960s at 366, Kingsway). It would appear that by the 1970s only the model shops remaining were in West Street and Lewes Road, although there was also Adur Models, who had a brief existence in John Street. There may of course have been others who stocked model aircraft, but the above were all listed as specialist suppliers.

By Andy Grant (09/02/2010)

I well remember Clapshaw & Cleeve opposite the Regent cinema. Prior to and during WW2 my Mother was friends with the staff there and they used to give me model kits of ships and aeroplanes in wood and plastic to build for display in their shop window. There was also a glass cabinet on the wall behind the counter that displayed all the latest Hornby 'O' gauge locomotives.

By John Wall VK2 (09/02/2010)

The model shop on the corner of Cranbourne St and West St was called Model Aerodrome in the 60s. I also used to use a model shop in Lewes Rd right next to Gladstone Terrace on the east side, I think it was called The Model Shop. They used to have a good selection of balsa wood models, tissue and dope etc. I do remember Harry Brooks in Victoria Rd, that shop had a big selection of models and model making accessories. ( I’m sounding like an anorak, sorry).

By Michael Brittain (09/02/2010)

I believe the shop in West Street was called the Model Aerodrome.

By Geoff (09/02/2010)

I remember (back in the early 1990s) Model Aerodrome on West Street, and their impressive range of sci-fi model kits. I visited Brighton earlier this year (my first time back home in 16 years), and a) Model Aerodrome was now Model Zone and b) there was a lack of sci-fi models; I was not impressed.

By Kevin (10/02/2010)

Concerning model shops, there is still one in Queens Road Brighton, more or less opposite the top of North Road Brighton if that's any help.

By Paul (10/02/2010)

There is still a great model shop in Sackville Road, Hove called LSA Models which has fantastic window displays excellently made models in really good dioramas, although I only ever walk past late in the evenings and its always closed so I've never ventured in. I remember seeing the one in Lewes Road but never going inside. The boxes in the window display had all faded to a dull blue. Apart from the listed shops, in the 80s there also used to be Beatties in Dyke Road, in the same shop that is now Pizza Hut. I spent many a Saturday gazing wistfully at the massive boxes high up on the shelves of 1:32 scale bombers, but my pocket money would usually only stretch to 1:72 fighters. Woolworths and possibly WH Smiths also had fairly good ranges of model kits and even corner shops, (Johnsons in Woodingdean, for example) sold models for pocket money prices.

By Glen Robins (10/02/2010)

The comments on this page certainly take me back. I'm not from Brighton, but there used to be plenty of model shops in London. Hammersmith Broadway had a huge one. I was keen on boats mostly, living near the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens, but I also made balsa planes with elastic band propulsion. I wonder what the balsa trees are used for now? A pity most kids don't indulge in this 'anorak' activity, perhaps there would be less violence around.

By Stefan Bremner-Morris (12/02/2010)

I am suprised that in all the comments no-one seems to remember Clapshaw & Cleeve.

By John Wall VK2 (12/02/2010)

Yes, I remember C.T. Hammond's model shop in Lewes Road: it used to be big on flyable model aircraft. However, my particular bent was for scale model aircraft plastic construction kits, which I bought there as well as at Bradshaws in Lewes Road, Woolworths in London Road and Model Aerodrome in West Street. When I was ten my mother bought me an Airfix Spitfire and Gloster Gladiator. By the end of that weekend I had two wonkily assembled models, streaked with plastic cement, unpainted and with the waterslide transfers cut out and glued on as I had no idea how to fix them properly. From these small beginnings came a hobby that kept me happily occupied for the next eight years, by which time I had assembled over three hundred model aircraft kits, eventually to a really good quality finish. In the end I had to resort to buying hard-to-obtain French and Japanese kits via mail order as I'd exhausted the catalogues of Airfix, Revell and Frog. The assembled products filled my bedroom and overflowed into the rest of the house. Sadly, a couple of years after I went to university in Bath my mother died, and the house was cleared and sold in my absence. Doubtless the whole lot went into the bin. I note with interest that the same 1/72 Airfix Spitfire that cost two shillings in 1959 now retails for £5.65 on Amazon. That's a rise of 5,650%. I can't think of another commodity that's risen by that percentage in fifty years - not even petrol. Could be in part that that's why it's a rarer hobby these days, notwithstanding the advent of computer games and the Internet.

By Len Liechti (14/02/2010)

You are right about the lack of model shops in Brighton & Hove. We now have to go over to Worthing to buy modeling bits and pieces, or buy online. There is a thriving model aircraft club called Brighton Radio Flying Club - see the website http://www.brightonradioflyingclub.co.uk/

By Ian Wordsworth (16/02/2010)

I well remember the model shops that were in Brighton during the 40s 50s and 60s. Can anyone else remember Southern Junior near the Co-op on London Road or ABC (Alan Brett Cannon) a rather up-market model railway business on Queens Road? I used Arthur Mullett's regularly for most of my requirements, in particular I bought a Cox Olympic 15 for a then New FAI regs power model that I flew in the 1960 RAF Champ's. C T (Fred) Hammond's was handy for bits and pieces being within walking distance of where I then lived. Like Ken and Ian I have returned to model flying, now with Lincoln Aeromodellers. Looking at Mullett's advert above the prices seem so low but then a single channel "left-centre-right-centre" set up cost about one and a half times the average weekly wage. Nowadays I can buy a 2.4Ghz 7channel set, with 6 digital servos for about half my weekly pensions.

By Raymond (Dickie) Bird (24/02/2010)

Lewes Road shop is now called 'If Only' - like the thought 'if only I'd have kept them in the boxes...' run by Dennis Tompkins and his wife. He's ex Post Office, although has many friends in the bus depot, hence many bus models there. Retiring some day. Previously he called it something '... Bazzar'. The railway shop down Preston Street I used to go to was John Taylors, later he moved to a smaller shop in Spring Street, then Beatties was to open and he became manager. In the latter heyday of the collectors shops in Brighton I proposed and had the 'Collectors Gazette' making a map of all the model shops in Brighton and at one time there were 30 outlets, which then expanded to cover Sussex. We operated our Model Shop which latterly became a book shop in Little Preston Street between 1990-2000 and we now trade online. Queens Road still has John Trory selling stamps, coins, railway and other models trading as Valelink. I recall another model shop in the seventies opposite the Granada in Portland Road, Hove. There's been a few little shops that came and went during our ten years, but these days specialist shops just cannot survive with rent/rates against online shopping and auctions.

By Gordon Dinnage - Picture Publisher (24/02/2010)

Yes, you are right Gordon, there was quite a big model shop in Portland Road Hove - it was called 'The Hove Toy and Model Centre. The shop was double fronted with a red fascia and window frames. My dad purchased my first Hornby train set there when we lived opposite in the Granada Restaurant in the 1960s.

By Michael Brittain (26/02/2010)

Thanks for all your comments so far everyone. My own interest is in building and flying model aircraft, but as so many people have mentioned, there were model shops in Brighton for all the other branches of the hobby (trains, plastic kits etc.). One or two survive thankfully, and I guess the Internet and mail-order has created access to like-minded modellers and suppliers. You can't beat browsing round your local model shop though!

By Danny Bloomfield (27/02/2010)

The Clapshaw and Cleave shop in Brighton I remember from the Seventies was a sports shop. They sponsored a women's football team called C and C sports which I managed.

By John Hewitt (05/03/2010)

I remember Clapshaw and Cleave sport shop. Does any one remember A A Baker in London Road opposite Branch pub?

By Lee Ambler (09/03/2010)

I was buying plastic model kits, rather than the balsa flying ones, and this had jogged a few memories from the late 70s/early 80s. Here's some more places that I used to frequent on my trips in from Lewes. A toyshop in Churchill square, near to the old HMV, with a model section upstairs, which yeiled many interesting kits. They did some flying ones as well. Selina Squirrel in St James Street, another toy shop with a basement of kits, I still regret not buying the 1/48 Otaki Fw190. CTS Models in College Place, funny little place, used to have old kits in stock, run by a couple of modellers I think. A toyshop on the Level, ended up as Pig City skateboards, had a load of kits. I remember not having the money for a Nichimo 1/35th Sherman, unusual kit,  I only ever saw one. A toy/cycle shop in Lewes Road next to the Labour Club, seeing the Frog Sea Fury and I think, Shackleton there in 77 and the flying models shop nearly opposite. Finally, a specialist place in Spring Street for military figures, used to stock Historex not to mention that pretty much every newsagent used to have a few kits for sale, lots of Frog kits from 77 onwards after they went out of business. The only place like it these days is LSA in Sackville Road, that is a proper model shop, but bear in mind plastic modeling has become a very serious business, with a vast range of extras to make very detailed scale replicas, like prepainted photo etched metal by Eduard, stocked in LSA. Modelzone is more about diecasts and the like, with the kits relegated to basically a cupboard.. Hope this jogs a few memories for folks. cheers

By T.Smith (12/03/2010)

Thanks Mr Smith, I'm glad I'm not the only one to remember the shop near to HMV in Churchill Square. I remember buying a model aero engine there but not having enough pocket money for a propeller, so I had to wait a while to use the engine. As you say, many newsagents sold plastic kits, and my father would sometimes treat me to a kit, and a small tim of Humbrol paint. Several school friends used to build and paint fantastic plastic kits but although I enjoyed building them, I could never paint them very well.

By Danny Bloomfield (14/03/2010)

I'm doing some research into Southern Junior Aircraft, of particular interest are their Steam Boat and Marine engine. Does anyone have any information about the company, its products, where their products were made, etc? Any information, photos, old adverts etc would be very gratefully received. Thank you

By Ian Grantham (19/03/2010)

There were two shops in Lewes Road between the Racehill pub and the Labour Club, both called Filbys. One was a bike shop, the other was toys and models.

By Lee Ambler (22/03/2010)

Two small additions: Ashplants were a bike shop on Western Road near York Road, and they sold model railway bits and pieces, as well as Triang Minic ships. I wonder how many people remember a small shop on Queen's Road that I used to help out in during the school holidays in 1965? It was mainly a greetings card shop but also sold a small selection of continental model railways (hence my interest). It's name was the amalgam of it's two owners, Messrs Colley and Ferris and it was known as Leyris and for a couple of years hosted the fledgling Brighton Model Railway Club in its back room.

By Tony Hagon (23/03/2010)

Southern Hobbies won a contract to build a model railway as a prop for the BBC soap 'Compact' c 1962/3. It was built in the showroom of the shop. It featured (in black and white of course) for all of 10 seconds!

By Tony Hagon (23/03/2010)

Yes, the Model Aerodrome (now Model Zone) was certainly in West Street and specialised in elaborate radio controlled as well as large static models (not necessarily of planes). One other place not mentioned in this discussion so far was a model shop in Ditchling Road immediately downhill from the Open Market entrance that specialised in OO railways especially Triang and had an extensive range including the latest stuff. I'm not 100% sure I remember the name of the shop but it might have been "Wicks Electricals" (or perhaps "Wicks Models"). The owner was, I think, called Charlie Wicks and he had his own very elaborate OO gauge layout up some rickety stairs on the top floor or attic of the building that ran all the way round the room - I saw it once with my father, who I think knew Charlie Wicks, and was suitably amazed.

By Adrian Baron (10/04/2010)

I remember those shops from when I came down to Brighton from Horsham. We had an excellent old shop there called Model Corner. (The area of town has since been absorbed in the over development of the town and Sun Alliance spreading). There was a good model soldier shop in Spring Street, called I think, John Taylors. There was a Radio Controlled place over Portslade too, was there not?

By Ian Hickley-Smith (30/04/2010)

The shop in Portslade was called Harry Brooks and was a very well stocked model aeroplane shop. Regarding the Spring Street shop, my father bought the complete series of a new Matchbox vintage car range from there in the late 70's with a view to selling them boxed in mint condition a few years later. He did sell them, but not for much more than he paid. If he had sold them to a collector now he would have made a few £££s!

By Danny Bloomfield (04/05/2010)

I used to pour over the Arthur Mullet adverts in the Aeromodeller every month. When we lived at RAF, Amman, Jordan for 2 years, I was so excited about not having to pay the "purchase tax." I ordered several models from Mullets by badly hand-written letters from a schoolboy. My father started a model club in Amman. He ordered lots of stuff from Mullets. Unfortuneately it fizzled, but I was the lucky recipient of a free Elfin 2.49 and Mills 1.3. Other model shops I frequented: Wembley High St. (White's?), Keen's Model Shop, High Wycombe, Model Shop (briefly - didn't last long) in Station Rd., Marlow, Bucks. I miss them all to this day.

By Geoff G (17/05/2010)

Having had a model shop in Queens Road, Brighton for 30 years now, I am disappointed at how few people have posted glowing tributes. Too late to worry now, I am retiring next year.

By John Trory (22/07/2010)

Hi John, I wouldn't be too concerned about the lack of feedback because this thread mainly discusses model aircraft shops, and I think your shop sells trains and vehicles (I may be wrong?). Why not start a new thread about Brighton model railway shops? I bet you will get a good response and you could tell us about your background and involvement with the hobby. You must have some great memories of Brighton to share.

By Danny Bloomfield (30/07/2010)

The Model Aerodrome was where I spent many 1950s Saturday mornings with my Dad, who was a member of a local model engineering club (see site for Hove Lagoon!) He built radio-controlled boats and planes and our kitchen always smelled of balsa and fibreglass! One of the regular patrons in the shop was Dick Emery, who always had time for a chat and a giggle. I'm not sure if it's still there, but there was a toy museum under the railway station, which I'm sure would have a few of those old models. Would be interesting to know?

By Patricia Silsby (17/08/2010)

...BUT DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET BALSA WOOD IN BRIGHTON THESE DAYS?

By JOHN (19/11/2010)

Yes the toy museum is still here -I'm sitting in it at the moment! I happened to notice this page whilst looking for references to Southern Junior Aircraft Company at 89/90 London Rd, which I used as a child. I think it became A A Baker, subsequently The Black & Decker shop, then BMJ Power of which I was the last manager. The reason for this research is that we have been given a model boat kit in balsa wood made by Southern Junior and I hadn't heard the name since childhood. Sorry to you model aircrafters for rambling on. Ps Greetings Mr Dinnage.

By Gordon Hall (10/06/2011)

The Toy and Model Shop in Churchill Sq was called the Toy and Model Market - I know because I worked there for around 6 months between leaving Varndean in 1975 and joining the RAF in 1976. It was part of a small chain of, I think, 3 or 4 shops based around Portsmouth. As a teenager interested in model railways and airfix kits it was heaven for me! I mainly worked in the stock rooms downstairs but also helped cover the Model department on the top floor (we also sold Mamod steam engines which fascinated me) and with the larger toys (bikes, pedal cars etc) on the ground floor. I only recall about 6 staff but they were happy days!

By Geoff (11/06/2011)

I found an old advert for the model shop in West Street (now Model Zone, before that Model Aerodrome). In the late 1940s it was call South Coast Models and the advert states that it was "The largest model shop on the South Coast".

By Danny Bloomfield (02/07/2011)

As a small lad, I used to buy model kits from a shop that was in Churchill Square; I think it was to the left of where HMV used to be, opposite the side entrance to BHS. Does anyone else have any stories about this shop and what it was called? Cheers.

By Kevin (03/07/2011)

Blimey! I had a saturday job working for Toy and Model Market in Churchill Sq. (The Manager's name was George Feviere). I used to help with the orders for RC models. I remember persuading them to get in a Graupner Cirrus, just because I wanted to see what it looked like. It sat on the shelf for ages. We used to sell a lot of Cox control line aircraft and I inevitably had to deal with people who could not get their cox 0.49 engine to start. I became a bit of an expert starting these engines. Still occasionally dabble but failing eyesight meant that I had to sell most of my models. Anyway thanks for bringing back a few nice memories of my time at T&MM

By David Carstairs (13/07/2011)

David; when were you at TMM? I don't recall you (maybe we didn't overlap) but I certainly rmember George Fevier from my time. He had, as I recall, a liking for pork & apple sandwiches from the Deli near West St.

By Geoff (13/07/2011)

I have tried to work out when I was there (it was a long time ago!). I think it must have been the early '70s, as I used to work there on Saturdays and during school holidays, so I suppose I was around 15 or 16. I don't know if you remember there was a huge glider (black body with yellow wings) hanging above the stairs. That was mine (my mum made me get rid of it from the house as it was too big - 10 foot span I recall). As I recall we seemed to sell a lot of Tamiya Tanks and formula one cars too plus of course loase of model railway stuff (Flieschmann, Pico N guage etc.) I also seem to recall Feviere being a bit of a gruff individual. I remember on one occasion he dragged me down to the door at the back in the basement to chastise me in front of some council officials for not putting out the rubbish correctly, even though I didn't do it (honestly). At the time I was involved in RC racing boats (at the lagoon) so I used to order a load of obscure bits and pieces for myself and other club members - OPS engines, Taipan Engines and some weird fibreglass hulls from a guy who made them in Eastbourne (I think they were called OPUS ). Things have changed. When I was at T&MM ARTF meant that the kit had a set of veneer covered foam wings, and that was it, whereas now they really are ARTF having been almost entirely constructed in a traditional way in Vietnam. Gone are the days of Kiel Kraft, Veron, Cox, OPS, Taipan,etc. Like many things in life they only remain as memories.

By David Carstairs (14/07/2011)

I remember Harry Brook's shop in Portslade (it was also a Gun Shop), I got my first Radio control set from there (27mhz) and I still have the red linear servo's. When I moved to Brighton between the mid 8's and early 90s, I also remember a shop in one of the side streets close to the junction of Elm Grove and Queens Park Road. I cannot remember the name but he kept spares for Micron R/C. I acquired a Micron TX and built a micron (then sub minature) RX from a kit

By Norman Chandler (17/07/2011)

Adrian Baron's comments (10/04/2010) have brought back 1960s memories of Wicks, the shop on the west side of Ditchling Road just below the entrance to the Open Market. Although I had a Triang Model Railway system at the time, (which I later sold to buy a red and black Coventry Eagle bike from Redcross Street) I remember admiring models from the Triang Minic Motorway system displayed in the front window.

By Alan Hobden (18/07/2011)

Thanks to everyone who has kept this thread going for nearly a year and a half since I started it. There are certainly many modellers who shopped in Brighton and Hove and I have counted over twenty model shops from the information given. There were probably more if all of the model train, plastic kit and die-cast kit shops that may have come and gone are included. As Mr Robins pointed out, many corner shops and larger stores also sold plastic kits. As well as retail outlets, some model products were manufactured in or near to Brighton. The Kalper .3cc diesel engine was produced by Seymour, Hylda & Co. of Southwick around 1950, and the head office of the Foursome Products 1.2cc diesel engine was given as 16 Meeting House Lane (Aurthur Mullett's premises). In the 60s, Harry Brooks of Portslade, together with Doug Spreng, produced the Sprengbrook proportional radio control equipment range. Keep those modelling memories coming!

By Danny Bloomfield (22/07/2011)

What names from the past. Mullets moved in the late 60s to a small shop below Western Road. The shop was gone before 1970. Harry Brooks died several years ago and his shops returned to houses. The only place to buy balsa these days is Sussex Models in Worthing. They have been going for over 30 years. Now most models are built from depron sheets or injection molded foam rather than balsa but give me a balsa built model any day . Did you know there is a Balsa tree growing in the Eden Project in Cornwall. It's the tallest tree in the biodome there and needs to be trimmed regularly. Radio Modeling still happens in Portslade. We fly "Parkfly" models locally. Who would have believed 30 odd years ago that an electric model of 40 inch wingspan could weigh just over a pound and be capable of 10 minutes aerobatic flights and you can buy a ready to fly model for a hundred pounds. Most Modellers now use SMC in Worthing and mail order companies like Giant Cod who offer good deals on accessories.

By Emma Wheatland (29/07/2011)

Hi David (Carstairs) - just saw your comment re Toy and Model Market in Churchill Square. Don't know if you remember me? We used to "do" multi-racing boats back in the early 70s, remember your Fagan Firefly and Tapain 19/20 that my father and myself helped you build? It was also because of your interest in model aircraft that we were introduced to such luminaries like Chris Foss (do you remember, he test flew that model Fokker tri-plane that you had acquired at the model shop, down at Shoreham Airfield?). I also remember a big glider (not sure if it was the one you mentioned above) but we took it up to the Dyke one hot afternoon and couldn't figure out why we couldn't fly it. After it was lost and recovered (by being returned to your address in Hove) you told me it was because you found out that the elevator servo was working in reverse! Dive dive dive! I see that Chris Foss is still involved with model aircraft, but the other names "of the day" like Harry Brooks, Ken Binks, Ron Bray etc seem to have faded away. Good to see your name again!

By Simon Fox (15/08/2011)

Hi Simon, I certainly do remember. I seem to recall that that Firefly was orange. I used to really enjoy our racing sessions on the lagoon, I even remember on one occasion beating some chap who was the national champion. I think it was with an opus hull and OS40 engine. It just kept going whilst all around broke down. I also remember that Tri plane. I put a massive engine in it so it was completely overpowered and almost impossible to fly. I think even Chris Foss struggled with it. I took a long break from RC when I moved to London in the late 70's but took it up again in the 90's flying a wide selection of models including a Mick Reeves Spitfire and a Flair Triplane and also dabbling a bit with helis with a Kyosho Concept. Old age and fading eyesight caused me to stop again about 5 years ago although I still have a couple of Parkzone models that I fly with my son in the local park. It was great to hear from you again Simon. I hope you are well and enjoying being grown up.

By David Carstairs (17/08/2011)

Hi David, Yes I do (amazingly) remember your "dominance" on that particular Sunday. Sounding like an old bore (which I am I suppose!), I recall that your motor in that Opus (designed by Graham Pollard in Polegate near Eastbourne as you commented on above) was a K&B40 (not an OS). BUT maybe to just "impress" you (or not as the case may be) about my potentially dodgy memory, I reckon the guy you went head to head with (or bow to bow) was a guy called John Stillwell (or something like that), does that ring a bell? I don't do any model related stuff whatsoever nowadays, but having heard (via the www) of Doug Spreng's death (quite recently) who worked with Harry Brooks, I do occasionally re-visit model engineering www sites to see how things are progressing (or remembered). It may be my jaundiced view on present life (yes of course, it probably is) but those guys in the 60s and 70s seemed to bring it all together i.e. work and fun (plus maybe more!). That doesn't seem to happen now (well not in my "circles"). I still admire those 50s/60s electronic guys working with what they had at their "disposal", very testing. I think I'm going to run out out of space any minute now, so cheers to you David and your son, and keep on flying those Parkzone models! All for now, Simon (PS Oh by the way I'm doing the best I can at being grown up, but it's difficult, so that's why I still play in bands either playing guitar or trumpet!)

By Simon Fox (19/08/2011)

The two elderly and very correct chaps who ran the Model Aerodrome in the late '50s/ early 60s (anyone remember them?) would probably turn in their graves if they saw the present shop! I remember going in there aged about twelve to buy some 3/8th balsa and they wouldn't sell me it unless I could tell them what 3/8th was as a decimal! And they were serious! Such happy days in retrospect. I vaguely remember a place called the Balsa Cabin and a place called the Toy Exchange but can't remember where they were. My favourite models of those days were the Aerokits RAF fire tender and the Frog Hawker Tempest control liner.

By Nick Rosewarne (22/05/2012)

I worked at Arthur Mulletts from '61-'64. firstly in Meeting House Lane, then in Castle Street. Ian Mullett (my brother in law) took over from his Father, Arthur when he died n the late '50s. I used to serve in the shop and also the overseas parcel packing dept. Harry Brookes was a customer before he opened his shop in Portslade and was very knowledgeable about R/C planes. The 'Model Aerodrome' in West Street was the only other shop in Brighton that I can remember at that time. I also remember the original 'Airfix' plastic models that came in brown paper bags. Ian had R/C Model Aeroplanes of his own that he flew up at Erringham Farm in Shoreham often with Harry Brookes and a crowd of enthusiasts. The Model Shop in the Lanes had a massive mail order business and we would haul loads of parcels stacked in big red GPO bags around to the Ship Street P/O every day. Those were the days.

By Doug Banks (10/10/2012)

Thanks for sharing your experience at Aurther Mullet's with us Doug. The adverts that appeared in Aeromodeller etc at the time show that the shop stocked all the classic planes, engines and accessories. It must have been a great time to have been interested in aeromodelling.

By Danny Bloomfield (21/10/2012)

Being born in 1968 in Brighton, my mum used to take me to the model shop that was located in the old Churchill Square, during the mid-1970's. Being a space and Sci Fi fan as a kid (still am to this day), I remember that all the space model kits were stacked on the first floor of this shop; as I write, I remember climbing the stairs with anticipation to see what AMT/Aurora Star Trek kits would be in stock! Happy times; thanks a lot for starting this thread!

By Clive (24/01/2013)

Hi, a little late to this page but I used to work at Harry Brooks Models in the mid 80s - 90s. It's a shame there's not much info around for the shop anymore. We had a real family atmosphere in the store and the guys I worked with became part of your family. Saturdays were like a club day in the store , in fact we ended up getting a coffee machine installed. After leaving Harry Brooks I worked for Ripmax for around eight years working along side Ali (ex Sussex Model Centre). Sadly I'm no longer in the trade but do miss those days.

By Mark McCulloch (07/06/2013)

Danny Bloomfield asks about owners of Brighton's model shops. Well, here I am, owner of Bradshaw Model Products and Southern Hobbies. Son of George Bradshaw, Bradshaw's for Bicycles. Still going strong at 89. I have lots of material if anyone is interested. Bob Bradshaw

By Bob Bradshaw (16/09/2013)

Hey, I'd just like to add, I used to work at LSA models. The owner (Jason Lake) is the original owner of 'Model Aerodrome'. I would check LSA models out -  thee web site is: http://www.lsamodels.com/ He is a really nice guy, the shop is small but has a lot in.

By Frankie Pulham (25/09/2013)

Arthur Mullett was my grandfather. I never actually met him as he died before I was born which is a shame. I am amazed at the lack of model shops these days. And when you can buy models they tend to be these quick fix so no glue or paint. That's the internet generation now. I can remember spending days over some models I built. Happy days

By Stephen (25/09/2013)

On a very recent visit to Brighton, I noticed with horror that the Model Zone (previously the Model Aerodrome) is no more and is now yet another eating establishment. What a shame, I have been looking in their window since I was a kid

By Dennis Fielder (03/06/2014)

I too used to work in the Toy and Model Market in Churchill Square on Saturdays in the early 1970s. I think the place was under-rated as a model shop because the ground floor was just a toy shop, and only if you ventured up the stairs did you find the delights of the model shop. If George was not around, we would build models on the counter, getting customers to hold bits while the glue dried. There was a train set/layout by the till for demonstrating and testing, but this was later moved to above the stairs to make more room, but made it hard to get  to it.

I used to make up kits to display in the shop window. I remember making a large scale Airfix Me109, and Stephenson's Rocket, and a Klingon Bird of Prey in particular.

As a railway modeller myself, I also used Southern Models, in the rear of a clothes shop in London Road, as it was closer to home, and Lewes Road Models and the Model Aerodrome for paints and other materials.

By Ian Morgan (06/03/2015)

I worked in T&MM for a few Saturdays in the early 70s.  I was asked to show my prowess by making an Airfix kit at home - I chose a VW Beach Buggy - awesomely painted in metallic green. However, after a short while, I moved on - but still went back as a customer (slot racers and OO gauge trains). Was proud to see my Buggy on display, 5 years later.

By Marc Turner (08/03/2015)

I was a regular customer at Arthur Mullet's in the early 60s (I was 15). The shop always had a great smell of engine fuel - ether and castor oil. After purchasing I used to go browsing in the army surplus shop nearby (Arthur Sallis?). My pal and I each bought an ex Army No.18 TX/RX radio set which used huge wax paper covered batteries. We set them up in our attics and used to chat to each other. Me in Ladies Mile Rd. and Chris Cooke about a mile away in Stoneleigh Ave, Patcham. I later swapped my set for a rusty decrepit Matchless 350 motorbike. I never managed to tart it and one day my mother gave it to the rag and bone man with a horse and cart who used to roam the streets shouting "Old rags or lumberrrr!" (The man shouted that of course, not the horse).

By Neville Bolding (21/03/2015)

Hey Neville,  I saw Chris the day before I emigrated to Oz in '68. I believe he ended up on one of the Channel islands working as a meteorologist. I contacted the Met Office over there once and they remembered him but he had moved on. Remember his crazy dog Tippett, always trying to hump my leg. Chris and I dug a deep hole in his garden, roofed it with tin and dirt and then dug an access tunnel out. Guess we are lucky to have survived our childhood. Regards

By Peter Wood (22/03/2015)

I remember Bradshaws in St George's Road, where they had an OO gauge model railway going round constantly in the right hand window, think it's now a restaurant, 24 St George's.

By John Sims (22/03/2015)

Surely the model shop in St George's Road was Barnards. Certainly in the 1950s anyway at that address. Most of the oo guage trains in the window were Trix Twin Railway, TTR. I always coveted the double ended railcar but at about £4/19/6 then it was beyond my means. They also did radio and TV sets and I remember the crowd outside watching the Coronation on a set in the window. I believe the first Barnard at this address was a photographer.

By Tim Sargeant (23/03/2015)

Thanks to everyone who has posted to this forum since it started in Feb 2010!  Since then, the model shop situation in Brighton and Hove has only got worse, with Modelzone and LSA having closed down.  There are now no model shops at all left in the city that I know of, the nearest being SMC in Worthing for planes, boats and cars and Morris Models in Lancing for trains. 

The good news is that the aeromodelling community still seems to be strong with a number of indoor and outdoor flying clubs in the area (presumably buying most of their modelling needs online).  The train enthusiasts also seem to be doing well with several exhibitions throughout the year in the City.

Please keep posting those modelling memories!

By Danny Bloomfield (25/03/2015)

I think there has only been one mention of the small model shop in Lewes Road at the north end of Gladstone Terrace which was run by Mr Hammond who was a really nice and helpful person. I popped in there regularly on my way home from the Brighton Secondary Technical School. On one of my visits the late Harry Seacombe came in and purchased a train set for his son. I think he was in town appearing at the Hippodrome or Theatre Royal. I remember Mr Hammond saying "are you Mr Seacombe"? We all three had a lengthy chat but we didn't ask for his autograph. I bought my first model diesel engine from Mr Hammond which I fitted to a Keil Kraft Piper Super Cruiser.

By Ken Norman (22/12/2016)

Confused of Ottawa writes: I remember in the late 1940's my dad buying me a Trix (Bassett Lowke) train layout. he had saved up for years to get me this. Tim, above, mentions Barnards as having Trix trains displayed in the window. that would be the shop I think. I certainly do not remember the shop being in Kemp Town, which according to Google Earth , is the location of St Georges Road. I have memories of the shop being located at the bottom of one of the streets radiating from Brighton Railway station . Did Barnards move to Kemp Town later on? The reason I am confused is that I think I would stop for an ogle at the window display on the way to BR from my school at Elm Grove (BSBE. Hanover Terrace) which would suggest it might be located in London road? I am sure Barnards was the name of the model shop. 

By Barry Flahey (23/12/2016)

One of the model shops from my childhood was Elliots in London Road, just around the corner from the Open Market. I can't remember if they sold balsa wood kits or not, but my main plane making hobby was gliders. My main reason for going to this shop was for the Meccano and Hornby train sets clockwork and electric. This shop sold steam engines and all interesting odds and sods for a lad. They also sold loads of tools and and copper wire for making magnets. Even today this shop would be a paradise to me. My dad bought lengths of tool steel for making his own engraving tools. One of those lovely shops that sold so much interesting bits. Probably the reason why even today I would be in my workshop making radio antennas and all sorts of other things, the same as when I was a kid. Good memories.

By Mick Peirson (24/12/2016)

Even More Confused of Ottawa writes: Another senior moment is upon me. Out of the blue the name "Bennetts" found its way out of the labyrinth of my fading memory cells. If Barnards was in Kemp Town as others remember, could it be that it was this store where I bought my Trix train set in the late 40's? Can anyone remember exactly where it was located? The store had all sorts of interesting stuff from slide rules to models of all kinds in the window.

By Barry Flahey (24/01/2017)

Barry, Bennett's was a shop in North Road which led to Queen's Road. This shop was also an interesting shop for tools and loads of other interesting things. The tools were very good quality. They sold boilers and also other household machinery. Dockerill's was another shop from my childhood which was very interesting. They also had an array of interesting tools and were probably in competition with Bennett's.

By Mick Peirson (25/01/2017)

Does anyone have any details on the Seymour Hylda company that was based in Portslade and also Southwick? The names of the owners and/ or a complete address? Also, does anyone know the name of the company that made the Foursome model engine? I'm trying to discover if the designer (name unknown) is the same person that designed the Kalper 32 made by Seymour Hylda. Seymour Hylda also made engineering dial gauges if that helps anyone.

By Miles Patience (12/07/2017)

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