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Bassett-Lowke Trains


Bassett-Lowke logo Bassett-Lowke was a toy company, based in Northampton, England founded by Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke (1877 – 1953) in 1898 or 1899 that specialized in model railways, model boats and ships, and construction sets. During its history, Bassett-Lowke offered trains in all gauges up to 15" and in all modes of power (clockwork, steam, and electric). They were also well known for their ship models, some of which graced the board rooms of the largest steamship companies of the time.

Bassett-Lowke 3 1/4in gauge live steam Midland Compound Albion and 8-wheel tender W. J. Bassett-Lowke was the son of a boiler-maker and a governess. He left school at thirteen. He spent eighteen-months in an architect’s office, before joining his father in the family boiler making business. In his early years he was apprenticed to his father's engineering firm, J.T. Lowke & Sons. While he was interested in engineering models, his first love remained models of railway locomotives, and marine (boat) types. He took up the hobby of making model stationary steam engines. Realizing the impossibility for the ordinary enthusiast of purchasing small parts, which he had made in his father’s workshops, he soon began a small mail-order business. His father’s bookkeeper, H. F. R. Franklin, joined him in the project. Bassett-Lowke initially started as a mail-order catalogue business and primarily remained so, although it sometimes designed and even manufactured some of its own items. Helped by Percival Marshall, W.J. Bassett-Lowke assembled a formidable pool of talent for his new business. The first Catalogue was issued in 1899.

Bing for Basset-Lowke #440 Clockwork 4-4-0 steam locomotive SYDNEY 2B with triaxial tender and London and Northwest Railway Baggage Car In 1900, new types of low-pressure, slide-valve steam engines were introduced, along with the first gauge 1, high pressure steam locomotive. It was a model of a Lancashire & Yorkshire inside cylinder type. Bassett-Lowke was inspired by his visit to the Paris Exhibition in 1900, where he made contact with German manufacturers, including Stephan Bing, from whom he bought model trains painted in British livery. An encounter with Stefan Bing at the Paris trade fair convinced both men that there was a market for new model trains based on British locomotives (as opposed to the "continental-only" designs then being produced by German companies). W.J. then drew up a design based on the London and Northwest Railway 4-4-0 locomotive, which Bing put into production. The success of this first locomotive encouraged W.J. to source more German-made locomotives and rolling stock, from Bing, Georges Carette and Märklin. These were initially mostly quite Germanic-looking models, Bassett-Lowke NE Wordsell 4-4-0 Steam loco & tender in 2½ gauge sometimes re-finished in British railway company livery, with B-L emphasising that the models were "in correct colours", perhaps to divert attention from the less-than-correct bodyshapes. However, as the business grew, and B-L became a more and more important client, and supplied further designs and feedback, their German suppliers got to produce more and more faithful reproductions of British locos, carriages and wagons. Soon Bassett-Lowke began manufacture in Northampton. In 1901 low-pressure steam models of the famous London and Northwest Railway Black Prince locomotives in No. 3 (2½") gauge, were designed and produced by Bassett-Lowke. Mr. Henry Greenly was appointed Consulting Engineer and designer in the company. The Black Prince became so successful that the company's future was secure. Soon, new models in both 'O', and 1 gauge were added to the line.

Bassett-Lowke 2-6-0 LMS Mogul (Hughes) electric in 1 gauge At this time in history, miniature railways were made for wealthy individuals and for exhibitions and resorts. The skilled model maker E. W. Twining formed Twining Models Ltd., which produced high quality architectural models in partnership with Bassett-Lowke Ltd. Bassett-Lowke was primarily a sales organization, contracting out the manufacture of models and parts to other manufacturers, such as Twining Models, and Winteringham's also of Northampton. George Winteringham had designed some mass-producable model railway track, and in 1902 he joined the company and ran a new Bassett-Lowke factory space, Winteringham Ltd., aided by engineer J. Mackenzie. In 1902, the first B-L scale-rail track was produced, though vast quantities of tubular tinplate track were also manufactured. Bassett-Lowke did keep the manufacture of ship models for display purposes entirely in-house. Bassett-Lowke produced trains in a variety of sizes, from 15" gauge live steam models to gauge 2, gauge 1, and 'O' gauge.

Carette for Bassett-Lowke gauge III hand enamelled European outline live steam loco Lady of the Lake with 6 wheel tender and 2 coaches circa 1904 In Bassett-Lowke’s early days, the company commissioned a lot of its products from other manufacturers. Georges Carette struck up a working relationship with Bassett-Lowke to supply models designed for the British market. Carette then made a good deal of carriages for the English market. They were very elegant and the reality was artistically interpreted. Around 1904 George Carette created a gauge 1 model locomotive for Bassett-Lowke called The Lady of the Lake. It was a simple, beautiful and a reliable example of workmanship from Germany. It was a Ramsbottom 2-2-2 configuration with oscillating cylinders and an externally fired boiler. This is commonly considered to be the first ever commercial semi-scale model mass-produced in the form of an actual prototype. Later came gauge II and III equivalents, the Claud Hamilton and the Smith Compound.

Carette for Bassett-Lowke gauge III #1619 Smith Compound North Eastern Railway 4-4-0 and coach

Bassett-Lowke Aspinal 4-6-0 steam loco & tender in 2½ gauge During 1904, the first 15" gauge passenger trains, designed by Mr. Greenly, were issued. Their first 15" gauge steam locomotive, test run on the Eaton Hall Railway in 1905 was the Little Giant. Unlike other engines on the line it was a replica of main-line locos, being built for a new public miniature railway at Blackpool. It was a quarter scale 4-4-2 Atlantic tender engine, though not an exact copy of any particular prototype. This engine still exists in private ownership. Also in 1904, a 3½" gauge model of the Midland Railway 4-4-0 loco/tender, constructed entirely of castings went into production. The Sultan of Turkey ordered a complete model railway for his Palace in Constantinople. Not to be outdone, a special model of the latest type of Great Northern Railway locomotive was ordered by the Duke of Zaragoza, Spain.

Bassett-Lowke 2.5 inch gauge 4-4-2T Atlantic Tank live steam spirit burning loco with water-tube boiler and drywall firebox, Joy valvegear, third eccentric for water pump, 4-4-2 wheel arrangment In 1905, Bassett-Lowke products included the first mass-produced stationary steam engines, and 2 gauge Great Northern Atlantic type, high-pressured locomotives. Also this year, the first edition of the Model Railway Handbook, and the B-L catalogue, now divided into three sections, were published. Section A was for Model railways, Section B for Engineering and Section S for Ships. In 1906, a 2 gauge scale model electric locomotive, a GNR prototype, with a single drive-wheel was introduced. A special model train done in silver, to be used on the dining table of the East Indian Maharajah of Gwalior, was built. In 1907, a special, universal type motor, usable for all gauges, up to 3½", bearing the 'Lowko' trademark, was added.

Bassett-Lowke gauge 1 Great Northern Railway 4-4-2 Atlantic #251 Live Steam locomotive & tender The company began making ‘waterline’ ship models in 1908. These types of models, showing only the parts above the waterline, were used in wartime as training aids for the Navy and Air Force. Yachts were also made to sail on boating lakes. Large shipping companies commissioned models of their luxury liners to display in their offices. In 1908 Bassett-Lowke opened his first London shop at 257 High Holborn, moving to number 112 in 1910. E.W. Hobbs, a well-known marine architect was tasked with running the new showroom. Shortly thereafter, Hobbs then proceeded to churn out a range of ship and boat designs for B-L, and introduced the company's waterline models range in 1913. Also in 1908, a special and elaborate electric model railway in gauge 2 was built for the LNW Railway exhibit in the Franco-British Exhibition at White City in London. Bassett-Lowke made great use of trade shows, not only displaying their own goods, but often supplying companies with models, too. Many 15” gauge railways were installed to carry visitors around exhibitions. Usually the displays were of smaller gauge models and large tabletop systems. However, mail order remained an important part of the business.

Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge George the 5th 4-4-0 live steam locomotive, 6 wheel tender, London and Northwest Railway Baggage car and two coaches

Carette for Basset-Lowke Caledonian Railway Clockwork loco and tender in 'O' gauge circa 1910 By 1909, Bassett-Lowke was making model railways in all gauges, including 'O', 1, 2, 2½", 3½", 7¼" and 15" measurements. In 1910, the Caledonian Railway gave an order for 30,000 clockwork 'O' gauge models in ¼" scale. This became a sub-contract with Georges Carette to produce the well-finished lithographed tinplate models of a Caledonian Railway locomotive and West Coast carriage, which were sold as a marketing exercise in conjunction with the CR at bargain prices through stands at railway stations. This effort boosted the public's appetite for model railways. Also, a new line of ship models and fittings were introduced. In 1911, many special model locos were shipped to different parts of the world. Another complete gauge 2 railway for electric operation was produced for the Glasgow (Scotland) Exhibition, where the Great Northern, North Eastern and North British Railway Companies had this combined display. In 1912, the first European retail agency was opened in Paris, France. In 1912 W. J. Bassett-Lowke, Robert Proctor-Mitchell and John Wills set up Narrow Gauge Railways Ltd. (NGR) to promote and run 15-inch (380 mm) railways. An earlier company, Miniature Railways of Great Britain Ltd, went into voluntary liquidation in 1912. NGR's first railway opened in 1912 at Luna Park in the Parc des Eaux-Vives, Geneva, Switzerland. In Britain, the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway was taken over by Bassett-Lowke, converted to 15-inch (380 mm) gauge and re-opened in 1915. The class 30 4-4-2 Live Steam Locomotive 'Synolda' which was built by Bassett-Lowke in 1912 is still running there today. The Fairbourne Railway followed in 1916. In 1913-14, a special, 9½" gauge model railway was installed at the Children's Welfare Exhibition, at Olympia. One of the primary suppliers of 2½" gauge (gauge 3) locomotives prior to 1913 was Carson & Co. (James Carson). In 1913, Bassett-Lowke acquired all of Carson’s tooling and continued to make at least some of the Carson range for some time afterwards. This included the 4-6-0 'Experiment' live steam locomotive. Bing For Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge MR 4-4-0 Loco & Tender RN 1000 clockwork circa 1923 The company produced its first architectural model in 1912, and in 1913 asked model aero engineer and artist Ernest Twining to continue this business, via Twining Models Ltd. Twining also designed much of the company's distinctive Art Nouveau corporate artwork.

In 1914, Bassett-Lowke produced only the second Pacific 4-6-2 (of any size) to be built in Britain (the first was GWR 111 The Great Bear). This was the John Anthony, built for a private miniature railway at Staughton Manor. It was never delivered, but after storage at Eaton Hall during World War I, it was sold to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and renamed Colossus. It was scrapped in 1927. Previously the Ravenglass and Eskdale had purchased another Bassett-Lowke 4-4-2 Atlantic, the Sans Pareil. In smaller scales, the most popular models of the period 1899-1914 were the "Precursor" tank locomotive, George the Fifth, Sydney, Deeley Compound, GNR "Atlantic" and Sir Sam Fay.

Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 12 Volt DC electric LMS Euston-Watford Set powered 3rd class brake coach #1652, 3rd class coach 12 #6560, and 1st and 3rd class coach #3416

The outbreak of World War I ended B-L's ability to import German trains, and increased the focus on Winteringham and UK suppliers. In the 1914-18 war Bassett-Lowke Ltd. made the gauges which tested the standard parts of guns for the Ministry of Munitions. In 1919, following the War, new mass production techniques were initiated in the enlarged plant facilities, devoted to the production of smaller-gauge models. Many models were made for documenting prototypes, and Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge, LNER, Ivatt Express, 4-4-0 Loco & Six-Wheeled Tender, RN 4390, Clockwork 1927-30 for historical displays in Museums. In 1920 a large quantity of model warships, airplanes, tanks, and highway vehicles were produced. The model ship business boomed as shipping lines rebuilt their fleets to make up for war losses, and wanted models of their newest builds, with B-L often being the default supplier. As a Frenchman living in Germany, Georges Carette had found that he could no longer operate his business, and B-L acquired the Carette tooling and designs and started to manufacture the equivalents of the earlier Carette pieces in-house in the UK. In 1922, Bassett-Lowke introduced lithographed 'OO' gauge products from original Bing designs. These were modeled after the prototypes of the big 4 railways of Britain. The company would also provide a complete custom-build railway service for those with necessary funds; one such layout survives in modified format at Bekonscot Model Village in England. Also in 1922, branch offices were opened in Edinburgh, Scotland and New York City, NY.

Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge clockwork Princess Elizabeth loco and tender In 1924 the smallest railway in the world was made for the Queen's Doll House; also several special ocean liners and a 2½" gauge model of Canadian Pacific styling were produced. In 1925, a 7¼" gauge passenger-carrying railway was built for the Wembley Exhibition, and called Treasure Island Railway. The late King George V and Queen Mary enjoyed a ride on this train. A 1¼" scale model of a Southern Railway King Arthur class locomotive was built for Sir Berkley Sheffield. In 1925, Bassett-Lowke celebrated a major milestone in the development of his company when he marketed his very successful range of 'O' gauge 2-6-0 locomotives. The Bassett-Lowke Moguls were a sign of what was to come from the company which hitherto had imported most of their models from Continental manufacturers. They initially introduced a Hughes design utilized by the LMS, a Gresley K3 for the LNER and a GWR class 43xx.

Bassett-Lowke Moguls

Bassett-Lowke LMS Mogul Hughes type steam in 'O' gauge #5524 Bassett-Lowke LNER #1864 Gresley Class 2-6-0 K3 Mogul Live Steam Locomotive & Tender Bassett-Lowke GWR Mogul 2-6-0 electric in 'O' gauge
Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Gresley Class 2-6-0 K3 Mogul 12 volt DC electric LNER Green Locomotive and Tender #33 Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge live steam 2-6-0 LMS Mogul #2945 Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge live steam 2-6-0 mogul in black British Railway livery
Bassett-Lowke by Corgi 'O' gauge 12 volt DC SECR Maunsell 2-6-0 N class Mogul type locomotive and tender, finished in Austerity grey with #810 to tender sides, in the original black box, limited edition Bassett-Lowke by Corgi 'O' gauge 3-rail electric ex-Southern Railway N class 2-6-0 Mogul Locomotive and Tender, finished in British Rail lined black as #31407 with early crest Bing for Bassett Lowke 'O' gauge Live Steam 2-6-0 LMS Mogul Locomotive and Tender #42980

In 1926, a special 2" scale railway was made for the Maharajah of Jodhpur in India. A ½" scale model of an LMS 4-4-0 compound locomotive was built for Lord Louis Mountbatten. In 1928, several additional scale models in Bassett-Lowke Sherlock Holmes Metropolitan 1½" and 2" size were built, as well as a ¾" scale model of the Royal Scot was built for the LMS Railway. The first mass-produced 'O' gauge models of the Royal Scot came out in 1929 for both clockwork or AC/DC operation. Also, the Flying Scotsman, in both types. These were two of the most popular models ever made by Bassett-Lowke, and were 4-6-0 and 4-6-2 arrangements respectively. Earlier models had been 0-4-0, 0-6-0, 4-4-0, 4-4-2 types, along with the odd single-drivered 2-2-2, or 4-2-2 styles. By this point in its history, thousands of Bassett-Lowke models had been shipped around the world, most from Northampton. Bing and Märklin models were also stocked.

From 1930 to 1933, Bassett-Lowke received and filled an order from the Great Western Railway for a highly detailed ¾" scale model of their King George V locomotive. A huge model of the 'Empress of Britain', 21' long also was produced. The regular lines of 'O' and 1 gauge steam locomotives were enlarged to include five types in 'O' gauge, and an equal number in 1 gauge. These came in the liveries of the English 'Big 4' LMS, CWR, SR, and LNER Railway Companies. Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 1931 Series LMS Royal Mail TPO Coach In 1939 a special 2½" scale, and a 10¼" gauge model of the 'Royal Scot' was produced for Lord Downshire. Previously, the largest such miniature had been one for 7¼" gauge operation. Other scale models built by Bassett-Lowke in the 1930's included a 7¼" scale model of the underground railway system, for the London Passenger Transport Board, a 1½" scale model of the Robert Stephenson & Co. Locomotive No.1, ½" scale models of the French Normandie and the British Queen Mary ocean liners, and a miniature Graf Zeppelin. During this period the Edward Exley Ltd. company supplied Bassett-Lowke with models. This included the finely detailed Exley 'O' gauge coaches, which Bassett-Lowke marketed as their own ‘scale range’.

Bassett-Lowke Tank engines
Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 0-6-0 Black #5374 Clockwork Tank Locomotive Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 78 LMS 0-6-0 steam tank locomotive Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge clockwork L&NWR 4-4-2 Precursor Tank RN 44 Bassett-Lowke 0-6-0 Tank Steam loco in 2½ gauge Bing for Bassett Lowke 'O' gauge 4-4-0 L&NWR Precursor Tank Loco #6611 live steam Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 2-6-2 12 volt DC electric 2-6-2 Tank Locomotive #94 in LMS livery Bassett-Lowke 3-rail Electric 2-6-4 Fowler Tank Locomotive #2606 in LMS Black Livery Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge GWR 2-4-2 Birdcage Tank RN 3611 Clockwork circa 1911-13 Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Clockwork LSWR 0-4-4 M7 Tank Locomotive Bing for Bassett-lowke gauge 1 NER 0-4-4 Passenger Tank engine #441 Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 3-rail electric British Railways 2-6-4 Stanier Tank Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 4-4-2 Precursor Tank 12 Volt electric DC Locomotive #6810 in LMS Maroon livery Bassett-Lowke 4-4-2 Tank locomotive in Midland & Great Northern mustard livery Bassett-Lowke Gauge 2 Great Central 4-6-2 clockwork J-class tank locomotive #160 Bing for Bassett-Lowke Clockwork 'O' Gauge London, Brighton and South Coast Railway 4-4-2 I-3 class Tank locomotive, in original D. E. Marsh’s Umber livery as LBSCR #11 Bing for Bassett-Lowke spirit-fired steam 4-4-2 MR Tilbury Tank Locomotive #2178 in Gauge 1
Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Live Steam Tank Loco #112 Bing for Bassett-Lowke Gauge II 0-6-2 GNR Condensing Tank engine Bassett-Lowke #88 LNER 0-4-0 Tank electric in 'O' gauge Bassett-Lowke 0-4-0 Peckett Industrial 'Wenman' Electrically powered tank locomotive Bing for Bassett-Lowke #112 clockwork 'O' gauge L&SWR Class S14 0-4-0 Tank Loco circa 1921-29 Carette for Bassett-Lowke #1017 clockwork 'O' gauge L&SWR Class S14 0-4-0 Tank Loco circa 1921-29

Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Wood Varnished Newspaper Kiosk with cardboard cut out woman passenger In the 1930's, Bassett-Lowke distributed 'OO' gauge Trix models in the United Kingdom under the brand name 'Twin Train Table Railway'. B-L had carried the slightly experimental Bing Tabletop Railway range from 1922 onwards, and then cooperated with Stefan Bing in the design and manufacture of the next-generation range, the 1935 Trix Express range, with Stefan organizing the manufacture of the mechanisms and German bodyshapes, and B-L designing and building the UK-styled bodyshells, at Winteringham. When the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany made conditions intolerable for Stefan, W. J. helped Stefan to move to the UK and start manufacturing Trix Twin Railways at the Winteringham site. They initially used German outline models painted in British colors, but from 1937 onwards they made and sold relatively crude models of British locomotives and rolling stock. This included Flying Scotsman, Princess Elizabeth, Coronation Scot, Hunt and Schools Classes, and the LMS compound types. The B-L catalogues also carried accessories, sets of castings and plans to build your own locomotives and ships, static steam engines (from Stuart Turner and German companies), and a selected range of items from other manufacturers, such as the Anchor Blocks company's metal construction system, and Structo kit cars.

Bassett-Lowke 2-6-0 Live Steam 'O' gauge LMS - RN 2945 In 1937-1938, Bassett-Lowke released an 'O' gauge model of the Great Western Railway's King George V. The locomotive body and the tender were manufactured by Märklin, while the motor and wheels were made by Bassett-Lowke, Ltd. The Bassett-Lowke Northmpton shops followed up by making several improved 'O' gauge models, including the Princess Royal, Princess Elizabeth, LNER Silver Link, LMS Coronation Scot, CWR's 2-6-2 tank loco, LHS' 2-6-4 tank, and a Victory 4-6-0, LNER 4-6-0 Melton Hall, and an improved Royal Scot, with smoke deflectors and a high-side 4,OOO-gallon tender. All locos were available in clockwork, or as AC/DC electric powered models. These trains were made from soldered sheet metal, a distinct feature of the company since they began.

Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Coronation 4-6-2 Streamlined Pacific Clockwork Locomotive and Tender in LMS Blue Bassett-Lowke’s model of the bullet-nosed Pacific locomotive and tender, ‘The Coronation’, ranks among the rarest of all British toy trains. They produced their gauge 'O' model of Coronation in 1937, as #6220, and it prominately appeared on the cover of their gauge 'O' catalogues for 1937/38 in blue, and 1939 the Duchess of Gloucester" locomotive #6225 in maroon and gold graced the cover. This model was also heavily promoted in those years' advertising as their new "flagship" piece. These locomotive models were handmade and hand-finished and handpainted, including all the lettering. They also had factory numbers stamped into or scratched into their undersides, presumably so that the builders could work on a few items at a time, and not confuse which parts had been hand-tailored to fit which locos. It is believed that only around thirty of these locomotives were made. The maroon and gold-striped gauge 'O' model of the streamlined, bullet-nosed 4-6-2 "Pacific" Coronation/Duchess class LMS "Duchess of Gloucester" locomotive #6225, was designed by Sir William Stainer.

Bassett-Lowke Duchess of Montrose LMS 4-6-2 loco & tender in 'O' gauge During the 1939-45 war a great variety of work was done by Bassett-Lowke to support the war effort. Many projects were of a highly critical, secret nature. A method of training for aircraft recognition using mirrors was devised. They produced training models of the sectional Inglis and later Bailey bridges. Perhaps the most important construction of this nature was the model of the floating Mulberry harbour, which was used to land troops in Normandy in 1944. Bassett-Lowke spent World War II producing lots of models as the war effort required new recruits to be trained as quickly as possible, and it was now recognised that models of ships and aircraft made it easier to train recruits in how to identify friendly and enemy aircraft and ships, or to find their way around ships or technical equipment. Bassett-Lowke models were used to plan the D-Day landings, and to train operators to assemble the Mulberry Harbours and other new equipment. Bassett-Lowke did continue to sell locomotive models from remaining pre-war production stock.

Bassett-Lowke Freight Wagons
Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Wooden GW Covered Van Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge LMS brakevan & coal wagon Bassett-Lowke Model Engineers wagon Bassett-Lowke Tinplate 7 Plank Coal Wagon N.E 'O' gauge Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge NE Flatrol Bassett Lowke Ltd Boiler Makers Wagon Bassett-Lowke LM Freight cars 'O' gauge #730273 box car, 2 #91375 box cars, #36721 open gondola Carette for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge London and Northwest Railway 10 Ton Open Wagon #1346-0 Carette for Bassett-Lowke Guards Brake Van Bassett-Lowke United Dairies milk tank wagon

Bassett-Lowke LNER 02 2-8-0, prototype model not put into production, 1950's In the post-war period of 1946-1965, train production at Bassett-Lowke was resumed, but only in 'O' gauge. Other larger gauges were discontinued. Prices were raised, as labor and material costs rose following the war. Such models as the LMS 4-6-2 Duchess of Montrose, and GWR 4-6-0 Pendennis Castle were produced.

Bassett-Lowke Flying Scotsman in British Railways blue circa 1950's Business trailed off in the late 1950's and even more so in the 1960's. Bassett-Lowke's fall was mirrored by two of its U.S. counterparts, the A. C. Gilbert Company and Lionel Corporation. Bassett-Lowke's decline starting in the late 1950's can be blamed on at least two factors: Sometimes people would browse the firm's free catalogue and then buy similar or nearly identical items elsewhere at a lower price, but also consumer interest in technical toys in general began to decline in the hobby market.

Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Empire of India Electric 4-6-2 Streamlined A4 Pacific Locomotive and Tender in LNER Blue 	livery After W.J.’s death in 1953 the company continued to make high-quality ship and industrial models. However, the 1960's were also to bring their problems, and in 1964 the company ceased its retail sales and sold its shops, including the famous one at High Holborn in London, to Beatties. The original Bassett-Lowke went out of business in 1965. The Bassett-Lowke and Franklin families sold their shares in 1967.

Bassett-Lowke LMS 4-6-0 gauge 1 Royal Scot steam loco & tender In 1966 the company was acquired by Messrs. Riley and Derry. An effort was made to revive the model railway business around 1969 by Ivan Rutherford Scott, Allen L. Levy and Roland H. Fuller. In the late 1980's Nigel Turner, a Northampton businessman bought the business and the company was based next to his business of Turner's Musical Merry-Go-Round, near Wootton, Northampton. In 1993 the name was revived for a while with short-run white metal models. These included a Burrell Type Traction Engine, Clayton Undertype Steam Wagon, Burrell Type Steam Roller, and London 'B' Type bus.

Bassett-Lowke British Railways Brittania circa 1960's The brand name was acquired by Corgi in 1996. Corgi linked the company with live steam and electric 'O' gauge locomotives. Manufacturing was moved from Northampton to Leicester England. Corgi re-launched the railway locomotive products in 1999 to commemorate the original company's 100th year. Bassett-Lowke continued to produce a range of 'O' gauge locomotives that were individually made from sheet metal using soldered construction and that reflected those made in a bygone era. The company's intentions were to produce a limited number of each livery style and move onto the next item in a plan. The company stated that "Those involved in the production of Bassett-Lowke trains have a passion and knowledge of trains and their aim is to produce a good value and quality product". These products were made with wheel standards that allowed reliable running on most commercially available 'O' gauge track systems. The recommended smallest radius being 36". All the locos manufactured were electric motor powered and fitted with a smoke generator which meant that with a few drops of smoke oil down the chimney the loco would produce what looked like steam from the smokestack. All locos were switchable between 2 and 3 rail operation.

Bassett-Lowke LMS Compound clockwork 4-4-0 circa 1950's Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge LMS Compound 4-4-0 Loco & Tender RN 1108 Electric 3 Rail 12v DC Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge MR Deeley Clockwork Compound Locomotive #999

Bing for Bassett-Lowke Gauge I L&NWR Post Office mail van Key competitors to Bassett-Lowke were Hornby and Exley. Hornby acquired Bassett-Lowke when it purchased Corgi in 2008. With that acquisition, Hornby added to its ownership of a group of historic European model railroad firms, including Bassett-Lowke, Electrotren, Lima, Rivarossi, Jouef, and Arnold. Production for all firms, except Bassett-Lowke, was moved to China. Hornby has plans for future development of Bassett-Lowke products but no public announcements have been made. For a brief period Bassett-Lowke tinplate freight cars were being made by ETS in the Czech Republic. A few new Bassett-Lowke models appeared in the Hornby catalogs starting in 2009. Offerings included a small Peckett 0-4-0T industrial steam loco named “Wenman” and “Joseph” in honor of Wenman J. Bassett-Lowke. Also produced of heavy sheet-metal construction were 2 Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge steam outline locomotives in limited runs. They were a class J39 0-6-0 with a 6-wheel tender in a British Railways paint scheme, and a Patriot Class 4-6-0 in British Rail green named “E. Tootal Broadhurst”. The very small production runs were 130 and 180 units respectively.

Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge LMS Black 0-6-0 Class J39 Standard Goods Loco & Tender #4755 Electric powered for 3 Rail 12-14 volt DC operation Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke was the son of Joseph Tom Lowke. Tom Lowke’s stepfather, Absalom Bassett, had established a boiler making business in Kingswell Street, Northampton, in 1859. Tom Lowke continued the business, and when he married he gave his two sons, Wenman and Harold, the middle name of ‘Bassett’ in honour of his stepfather. W. J. himself married Florence Jane Jones, the daughter of Charles Jones, one of the founders of the Crockett and Jones shoe manufactory, still in business today. W. J. Bassett-Lowke was an early member of the Design and Industries Association, established in 1915 to encourage good design in all aspects of manufacture. Bassett-Lowke was very interested in travel, in planes, ships and trains. He was also intrigued by ingenious gadgets, and delighted in the mechanical toys that he bought on his frequent trips to the European continent in his younger days. Although Bassett-Lowke left school at thirteen, he absorbed many new ideas from his travelling and contact with people from all walks of life. He went on fact-finding missions to Germany and Holland. He was also keen to ensure that the outside world Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge British Railways Class 20 Diesel Loco Electric appreciated the benefits of Northampton. In 1932, he was instrumental in producing a film showing Northampton’s history and current attractions. Despite his incessant travel, Bassett-Lowke never thought of leaving Northampton. He was a member of many societies, including the Rotary Club, of which he was a founder. His work on the Council gave him most opportunity to influence the future of Northampton. He was also a founder Director of the Northampton Repertory Theatre in 1926.

Because of the premium nature of Bassett-Lowke's toys, they tended to be well preserved, and many examples of older product survive today. They are highly collectible.

Bassett-Lowke Motive Power

Bassett-Lowke Enterprise steam in 'O' gauge Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Duchess of Montrose 4-6-2 Pacific 12 volt DC electric Locomotive and Tender in British Rail Blue Hunt for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 12 Volt DC Electric GWR 4-6-0 'King John' Locomotive & Tender
Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Black LMS Royal Scot #6100 clockwork Loco & Stanier Tender Bassett-Lowke by Victor Reader- 'O' gauge 12 volt DC Electric Great Western 4-6-0 Castle Class Locomotive and Tender Spitfire Bassett-Lowke Marklin bodied 'O' gauge Merchant Taylors 12 volt DC Electric Southern 4-4-0 Schools Class Locomotive and Tender
Bassett-Lowke 4-6-0 GWR Spitfire 'O' gauge electric Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 4-6-2 12 Volt electric Turbomotive Locomotive and Tender in LMS Maroon Bassett-Lowke Flying Scotsman 4-6-2 Electric Loco & tender in 'O' gauge
Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Clockwork LMS Maroon 4-4-0 George The Fifth Locomotive and Tender #5320 Bassett-Lowke By Corgi 'O' gauge 4-6-2 A3 class pacific #60052 Prince Palatine in British Rail Experimental Blue, early crest. Special Edition of 50 Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge Black Five 12 Volt DC Electric 4-6-0 Locomotive and Tender in LMS livery
Bassett-Lowke Flying Scotsman 4-6-0 Steam Loco & tender in 2½ gauge Bassett-Lowke Marklin bodied 'O' gauge Impregnable 12 volt DC Electric 4-6-0 5XP Locomotive and Tender in LMS Maroon livery Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge 4-6-0 Royal Scot Class 12 Volt DC Electric Locomotive and Tender in LMS Black
Bassett-Lowke 2-6-0 Royal Scot clockwork engine & tender in 'O' gauge Bassett-Lowke BL99006 LMS Princess class Pacific No.6201 Princess Elizabeth in LMS maroon Bassett-Lowke Post War 'O' gauge 4-6-0 Black Five 12 Volt DC electric Locomotive and Tender #45126 in British Railways livery

Bassett-Lowke Passenger Coaches

Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge LNER 3rd Class Brake Coach in Teak #603 Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge LNER Teak Style All 1st Passenger Coach #1235N Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge LNER Teak 3rd class coach Bing for Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge LNER Teak 3rd class Brake coach
Bassett-Lowke LNER 'O' gauge teak 1st Class Pullman car #36232 Bing for Bassett-Lowke Gauge 1 LNER Passenger Coach, 1234N, 3rd Baggage circa 1920 Bassett-Lowke 1916 model in LNER livery, brake third coach Carette for Bassett-Lowke LMS 12-wheel Dining Car #13210
Bassett-Lowke LMS 'O' gauge #2784 first class passenger coach Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge LMS #9343 3rd class Passenger Coach Carette for Bassett-Lowke gauge 1 1924 travelling post office Bassett-Lowke LMS #10153 1st and 3rd class coach
Bing for Bassett-Lowke GWR All 3rd Class Passenger Coach Bassett-Lowke Great Western Railway 'O' gauge 3rd class Coach Bassett Lowke 'O' gauge 1931 series GWR all 1st Coach Bassett-Lowke GWR 'O' gauge Great Western Railway 3rd class Brake End Coach
Bassett-Lowke GWR 1st class Passenger coach Bing for Bassett-Lowke GWR 1921 Series #3251 3rd Brake Coach No. 64 in 'O' gauge Bassett-Lowke British Rail 'O' gauge 3rd class Saloon coach Bassett-Lowke British Rail 'O' gauge 3rd class Breakend coach
Bing for Bassett Lowke London and Northwest Railway Baggage Car Bassett-Lowke 1921 Series London and Northwest Railway Brake Third class Bogie Coach Bing for Bassett-Lowke London and Northwest Railway passenger coach Carette for Bassett-Lowke 1 gauge London and Northwest Railway first-third coach
Carette for Bassett-Lowke 1 gauge GNR luggage van Bing for Bassett-Lowke Midland Railway eight wheel 1st class passenger coach Bassett-Lowke Great Northern Railway Teak 3rd class coach in 1 gauge Carette For Bassett-Lowke 'O' gauge London and Northwest Railway 12-Wheeled Dining Coach, #13210

Bassett-Lowke website
Bassett-Lowke Collector's Society website

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