Bassett-Lowke were the pre-eminent suppliers of model railway and model engineering systems in Great Britain during the period from about 1900 to 1965. Although the Company was predominantly Gauge 0, they also supplied, particularly up to World War II, the larger gauges 1,2 and 3. In the 1920's they retailed the Bing 00 table top railways, and in the 1930's introduced Trix 00. Unlike Homby, their rivals in the toy manufacturing field, Bassett-Lowke were mainly retailers contracting out the manufacture for sale under the Bassett-Lowke trade mark; there was a very considerable mail order side to the business~and the catalogues are now much sought aftcr collectors items, As well as railways, Bassett-Lowke supplied model steam engines, live steam locomotives and railways, a very extensive range of model boats and scale ships, and construction sets.
Such was the craftsmanship built into models, and the care lavished upon them by their owners, that many of the models have survived the years, being handed down from family generation to generation, and notwithstanding house moves, wartime upheavals, including Zeppelin raids in World War I and the Blitz of World War II, they continue to provide much pleasure.
However, time is taking its toll,. and with the sources of original spares and expertise being scattered for many years it was realised that something had to be done if the old models were to continue in service much longer. Consequently a number of Bassett-Lowke enthusiasts met for an inaugural meeting at the Red Lion, Hatfield, Hertfordshire on 25th April 1992 under the provisional chairmanship of Mr Bob Burgess and the Society was launched. The Society continues to meet regularly at the Red Lion, Hatfield, Herts, takes stands at vintage train fairs and is often represented at model railway exhibitions including Gauge 0 Guild events, A comprehensive spares and services directory is published annually and the Society's news sheet "Lowko News" is published four times a year.
Bassett-Lowke items are now very popular with collectors and have become valuable. Quite ordinary Gauge 0 locomotives in the standard range might reach a few hundred pounds at auction, while the larger limited production engines in good order often fetch several thousand. Rolling stock, accessories, literature, track and ephemera are equally sought after. Even a quite modest collection can be a considerable asset. A very good reason for joining the Society is to ensure that not only do you get good advice on looking after your investment, its originality and history, but you have access to the best advice on its value and insurance.
The society also caters for those interested in the other model railway makes of the period. As there is a separate Hornby Railway Collectors Assocation we do not specifically cater for Hornby O Gauge trains, although members are always welcome to run these at society meetings.
The objectives of the Society are:
1. Fostering an interest in the products of Bassett-Lowke.
2. Promoting an interest in the history of the Company through setting up a library of information, catalogues, articles and literature for members use,
3, The establishment of a register of traders, repairers. restorers and parts manufacturers and the maintenance of a spares and services directory.
4. The production of a newsletter for
a. Sales and wants,
b. Advertising meetings and exhibitions,
c. Auction reports and price information.
d. Sharing experience and knowhow.
5. Arranging regular meetings.