Saturday 16th November
It was a chilly day on Saturday 16th November, but it did not rain! Which made a change! After a safe journey, we arrived at the Hornby Visitor Centre, on the Westwood Industrial Estate, the long term home of toy manufacturing over the decades.
We enjoyed looking at trains, cars, lorries and wonderful model scenes of villages tunnels and industrial areas with trains going around the track at the push of a button. Also a Scalextric track with cars that could be driven by visitors, (although Bridge Racing‘s set up is just as exciting) Robin shared the story of his latest landscape model that he is making for his grandson, so this was a very apt day out for him too.
The museum section of the Hornby visitor centre was interesting, giving detailed history of toy makers such as Tri-ang, Hornby, Airfix and Meccano and others and how over the years, they survived and amalgamated into who they are today, and they are still thriving after so many decades. We also saw how new models were developed through research stages, measuring real vehicles and scaling down to various sizes, and passing this knowledge onto designers and manufacturers who with great skill developed molds to perfect the model kits and toys that we have known and loved through our lives. They even had a section on the latest model developments using CAD software linked to 3D printers.
We then moved on to part two of our trip, to the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum at Manston. First stop the café where we had some very welcome lunch, fuel for the rest of our visit, we enjoyed each others company and chatted about all sorts, before moving along to the museum, with a pair of great fighter planes of WW2, the Hurricane and Spitfire. They had both of these planes on display, with lots of memorabilia from the war period, with samples of old downed aircraft both German and British, and lots of stories of heroism and tragedy. The planes looked big in an enclosed space and it was good to see these wonderful aeroplanes close-up. I even learned that the big vent underneath the Hurricane, (and probably the Spitfire) was to keep the oil in the engine cool during operational flight.
They did have a flight simulator, but time was against us, and we had to hop along to the next part of the museum across the carpark. This had a German flying bomb replica outside the entrance to the museum. We ventured in and saw many different aircraft that were operational during the modern era, including a Lightning Jet fighter and the Jaguar jet fighter too. They also had cut-away views of cockpits and interiors of planes and helicopters, and a vehicle that had been used in Downton Abbey ( I don’t remember seeing that in the show…)
There were many excellent models of planes, transport of all sorts and people, and also many weapons of war, (which made you wonder what damage each weapon may have done, a very sobering thought). We took many photos, and at 4pm it was time to leave for the homeward journey, we could have spent much more time there, like so many museums, there is so much information, that does not get read!
We arrived back home around 6pm, after a very good day together.
Thank you to all who organised the trip, and gave us a very informative and inspiring day.