Deputy manager for a year
The year I spent in 1970 at Gamley’s in Church Road I was a sort of deputy manager, running the lower floor shop which was mainly given over to plastic kits and models. This was a very popular venue for kits at the time, and on some Saturdays prior to Christmas, the trade was amazing. I recall ordering a lot of 200 Air-Fix Saturn Five Rocket kits; of course this was one year after the first Moon landing. I was hauled up before the directors – not so much for the size of the order, but for the fact that the storage of these large kit boxes presented a real problem. I had the last laugh however as all of my Saturn V’s were sold in six weeks and we ran out of stock before Christmas.
The mysterious passage
I got round the storage issue by using a tunnel or passage which ran from the back of a small tea room attached to the rear of the basement shop area. This passage had a rough hewn stone and brick lining. It meandered rather erratically around several bends and evidently well out under the Church Road itself. Off this passage were a number of recesses; we called them dungeons for that was what they felt like. I used my doubtlessly inept electrician’s skills to rig up lighting to the far end of the passage and thus increased the storage area for literally hundreds of Air-Fix and Revell kits. I often wondered what the original purpose of this passage was and would be interested if anyone has an answer.
Do you remember?
Did you shop at Gamley’s? What about those Air-Fix kits – do you remember them? If you can share your memories about this time with us, please leave a comment below.