End2end wrote:This is only going to end badly!
Much as I sincerely lament the removal of yet another apparent
item of significance with an inarguably twee cultural identity associated with nostalgia for Britishness of yore, I think it is a smart business move by Hornby nevertheless Not only has the market demographic changed, all is not necessarily as was made to appear.
Aware of the Wiki (which is frequently IME the origin of arguably dubious retelling of events aka popular history) entry, but I don't personally recall ever seeing Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends
in my local or other hobby shop or toy department regular haunts during those years, or ever being available as model railway toys in OO or in any other gauge or model form either during my infancy in the late 1950s or childhood during the baby boomer heyday of Tri-Ang Trains in the 1960s. I also had older brothers born in '38 and the '41 and '45 whose hand-me-down toys and books I inherited, and nought there of Thomas either. Until ..... 1985.
The emergence of popularity of what was to impact as a marketing opportunity and Thomas cult on a particular demographic of a particular era really only occurred within the past three decades. Despite being erroneously perpetuated by subsequent lore as it having always been so, the wide Thomas and Friends franchise which is familiar today of today was a marketing phenomenon originating only in second decade of the 1980s.
I was also an voracious reader during those childhood years, spending many, many happy hours perusing library shelves selecting my take home reading as well as being frequently supplied with gifted books as presents from parents and relatives. Whilst British childrens' authors such as Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton or W.E. Johns and later Nevil Shute were to feature large in my early childhood library, I had never seen or heard of
Thomas until popularised with Ringo Starr's narration of the animated TV production, the first UK broadcast of which wasn't until 1984, or even later and U.S. broadcast 1989. In the 50's and 60's, alongside a collection of Little Golden Book and Ladybird Books volumes, a developing child would have been more likely to be familiar with "The Kathleen Fiddler Omnibus" and "Mr Galiano's Circus" or classics such as Dumas' "The Count of Monte Christo" or "The Three Musketeers" and the Bronte sisters "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" or Dickens', Conrad and the feast of other works still popular in print then than the writings of Reverend Awdry.