BAYKO in FREEMANS Catalogues

The company was founded as FREEMANS & Co in 1905 by four partners, A.C. Rampton, W.E. Jones, S.C. Rampton and H.A. Freeman and began life with only twelve staff out of a terraced house based in Clapham, just outside London. Each member putting up £100 as capital to get the business going - worth around £10,000 today [2019]. The company's name suggests who was the dominant partner.
A year later, the renamed FREEMANS of LONDON moved to larger premises at 215 Lavender Hill, Wandsworth. Company staff are affectionately nicknamed ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’ - 45 years before the famous Alec Guinness film of the same name was made.
FREEMANS grew to dominate the mail order landscape in the 1930s, being the largest mail order company in the U.K. with over 30,000 agents. Expansion also meant that the company was required to move into larger premises at 139 Clapham Road, London, a move they made in 1937.
In 1969 the company required more warehouse space and opened an automated distribution centre in Peterborough, U.K. It became the first company to post goods in plastic packaging along with the first U.K. company to generate heat from waste packaging.

Second FREEMANS Logo

In 1963 FREEMAN P.L.C. was floated on the stock market, and were subsequently bought by SEARS [now ARCADIA] joining SELFRIDGES and bookmaker, WILLIAM HILL.
In 1997 LITTLEWOODS P.L.C. attempted to takeover FREEMAN but the move was blocked by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission of the Board of Trade, however within two years the company had attracted the attention of German mail order giant OTTO VERSAND, who had already entered the U.K. market with the purchase of established mail order name GRATTAN in 1991.
Initially FREEMANS operations remained in London, but was quickly integrated with the Bradford based GRATTAN, utilising not only its head office at Anchor House, Ingleby Road, Bradford, but warehousing in Peterborough and Bradford and a call centre in Sheffield.
All of which brings us up to date, courtesy of WIKIPEDIA. So far I've only come across one BAYKO entry in FREEMANS catalogues, but I will try and chase up more if I can…
A final note about connections between FREEMANS and BAYKO. On several, pre-Christmas Fridays [November 29th and December 6th, 1957; December 5th and 12th, 1958; and November 27th, 1959] Plimpton and the Liverpool Echo' put together a 'batch advert'. Basically a BAYKO advert, with a clutch of modest, almost classified style, small business adverts nestling under its wings. FREEMANS, perhaps as a deliberate sideswipe at locally based mail order rivals, LITTLEWOODS, joined in, to what had already become a well established programme. This must surely mean that BAYKO was sold in FREEMANS catalogues during the autumn/winter catalogues of those years - the search is on! If you would like to find out more about these, and other BAYKO adverts in the 'Liverpool Echo'

Autumn / Winter - 1963 / 1964

Page 281 of LITTLEWOODS 1959 Autumn/Winter Catalogue
The image [left] is page 675 of the FREEMANS Autumn/Winter 1963/1964 catalogue.
If you slide your mouse over the image, you will see the BAYKO sections highlighted.
Alternatively, if you click anywhere on the image you will see a larger version of the BAYKO section.
The quirky decorative stripe down the right hand side of the image is half of a decorative central strip separating the two adjacent pages.
The modest BAYKO-related script reads as follows : -
T6552 “Bayko” model building outfit.
A strong plastic and steel-reinforced construction kit for buildings to your own design. Complete with plan book and instructions. Box size 18¾ by 15¼ x 1ins.
For completeness, the BAYKO set on offer is the MECCANO set #14.
This image comes from a C.D. containing images which I picked up on eBay.

If you can help provide details of any other BAYKO entries then I'd love to hear from you…
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

The 'Flaming BAYKOMAN' site logo

Latest update - August 10, 2022
The BAYKO name and Logo are the Registered Trade Mark of Transport of Delight.