Hornby Visitor Centre to hold sale of ex-display models

Inside the Hornby Visitor Centre

By Dan Thompson

Margate’s Hornby Visitor Centre is holding its annual sale of ex-display models in July.

On Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th July from 1am0-3pm there will be a selection of ex-display models, and items with damaged boxes, all sold at up to a 30% reduction. The sale includes products from the Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix, Corgi & Humbrol ranges.

What is now the Hornby site at Margate was first constructed by Lines Brothers Limited in 1953 as a purpose built, state of the art factory for Rovex Scale Models Ltd and their Tri-ang Railway system.

In 1964, Lines Bros purchased Meccano Ltd., the company started in 1901 when founder Frank Hornby received a patent for his Meccano construction toy.

Line Brothers merged Hornby and Tri-ang into Tri-ang Hornby at the Margate site. The former Hornby metal trains were discontinued in favour of Tri-ang’s cheaper to manufacture plastic designs.

The company acquired a number of other well-known brands after that date.

Invented by Fred Francis, the very first Scalextric was made in Havant, Hampshire in 1956. Hornby bought the company in 1968.

Photo Steven Collis

Airfix was founded in 1939 by Nicholas Kove, a refugee from Hungary. It has been producing kits for the mass market since 1952. Hornby acquired the company in 2006.

The Corgi brand was created by the Mettoy Company of Northampton, which first started to produce colourful, pressed metal toys in the 1930s.  It was bought by Hornby Hobbies in 2008.

In July 2010 the Hornby Shop And Visitor Centre opened, to showcase the 15 brands that by then made up the Hornby Hobbies group.

Hogwarts model railway Photo John Horton

The company sold its site in Margate for £2.25 million following a move of distribution to Hersden in 2014 and office functions to Discovery Park in 2015. Those moves marked the end of 60 years in Margate.

An overhaul of the management in 2017 resulted in the decision to bring the offices and a new showroom back to the town, and they moved back to Margate at the start of 2019.

The sale on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th July takes place at Hornby Visitor Centre, on the Westwood Industrial Estate (to the Margate side of Westwood Cross).


  1. Mr Thompson poking his nose into Hornby now that was there before he moved here he was one of the objectors who stopped the redevelopment of Arlington square shopping centre still derilict not suitable for art that would have been good if Tesco got the go ahead now they have the shop in Westbrook.

  2. What is a ‘qualified reporter’.Has he some GCSE’s?
    I suppose it was a qualified reporter that outed Philip Schofield, or a qualified reporter who said that the Liverpool supporters were the cause of the Hillsborough tragedy, or hacked phones, used illegal subterfuges to obtain financial and health records, and trashed reputations to get stories, as discovered in the Leveson inquiry.
    Investigative journalists who risk life and limb to tell truth to power.I have the greatest of respect for, but Woodward and Bernstein and Carole Cadwalladr are not writing stories about Thanet.I wish they were because there is much to tell, that is not reported, but is subsumed under the compost of stories about stray dogs,minor car crashes, and miserable low level crimes.

    • NcTJ is the qualification for journalism and includes studying the relevant areas of law alongside other things such as shorthand. Thanet isn’t a war zone but local news needs telling whether that is the actions at council, crime, celebrating individuals and businesses or looking at homelessness and issues that affect residents. The other points, from hacking to Hillsborough, don’t apply to me or this website. No-one is forcing you to read this free resource

    • Normally, George, I look forward to your (usually) thoughtful comments.
      This time, I thought you were well off the mark.

  3. Brian and George – if you don’t like what you find here then go elsewhere – you have a choice.
    Kathy – thank you to you and your team for keeping us abreast of local affairs.

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