The Hattons model railway shop stocks a huge amount of purely British railway, tram and lorry models available to mail order, through the internet and at this large shop.
Stepping inside really does remind you what's wrong with modern day toys: too plastic and designed to break after 6 months worth of playing with. Fisher price meets old school toys in this Smithdown Road shop. My dad still has the train set he was given for his 10th birthday somewhere in our house and it will still be serviceable today. I think it's depressing that the toys of today have such a small shelf life and that the last generations toys will probably out live them. This shop is home to everything related to model trains from rare originally boxed examples through to extras and additions. It also has lorry models and tram examples too. It's really interesting to go into and browse, even passing the windows outside seems such a far cry from the monotony of window shopping in staid high roads. The effects of MacDonaldisation I guess. Maybe I'm just being melodramatic...
The shop is large on the inside and is priced to match is exclusivity and rarity but isn't over the top. I imagine that the majority of the trade is online due to its emphasis on promoting their website, but it's always worth a look around the branch.
Hattons originated in 1946 and sold anything that was in demand after the war such as second hand toys hand fireworks but it was soon obvious that model train toys were where the business was.
Christine is the daughter of the original founder, and is determined for the growth and development of the business to continue in the same way it always has done.
The shop very easy to find, situated on Smithdown Road. On first glance it does look like the sort of store that you would find in the war, but it's quite nice that there's a bit of heritage left! I suggest you check out the website or call them as they're really helpful. The shop is always fully stocked so you're bound to find what you're after. If for some reason, they haven't got what you want, they will try their best to get it for you as soon as.
Now to many of us in Liverpool, Hatton's is a place that we will walk or drive past without noticing or paying much attention to and for eeryone around the country it is somewhere they have never heard of. Yet for millions - yes millions - of people around the world this place is the premier supplier of model trains!
You can't make this s**t up. A mate of mine works there and even he is still in disbelief at how much money this place makes and how many online and telephone calls he deals with on a daily basis. Trains are big business.
And yet many of us will scoff but who are we to argue with Rod Stewart or Neil Young for that matter!
The website is pretty basic but then I guess many of those purchasing model trains don't need anything too complicated and probably know the seriel numbers and model ID by heart but for those interested you can find a huge range of engines and the very cute and innocanet accessories needed to make an authentic track all of which can be found in this small store at the start of Smithdown Rd.
This place takes me back to my childhood only its just not how I remembered it. The window display is really poor and the inside looks a bit of a mess with a group of young men taking telephone orders. There are a number of glass cabinets with a range of models but even as an enthusiast I didnt want to spend any time in there. I think this is a business that has moved online and totally neglected it's shop.
I visited recently to ask if I could take a few cardboard boxes from the huge pile to be recycled outside the door as I'm moving house. They were not really interested in my need for boxes and told me that it was not their policy and that they needed to be disposed of properly. They were really good quality double thickness boxes - the type that the moving company wanted to charge me £3 each for so its a pity they would be destroyed. So many businesses have staff that lack any authority or ability to think for themselves.
l use this shop regularly and what a difference since the recent refurbishments. Now you can get served immediately whereas at one time, you would be endlessly waiting for attention and getting ignored as they seemed to prefer mail-order custom rather than shop callers. l have stormed out of there on more than one occasion but now they obviously have far more staff. lt would be nice though to see the proprietor, Christine Hatton being more customer-friendly. l was in there recently when they were particularly busy so there were several of us waiting to be served when she walked in and immediately went and sat at her computer. lt was a reminder of the "old days" of customers getting ignored. These customers provide your bread and butter so why not be more welcoming towards them? The other current staff there are brilliant.
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