Letters Direct to Individual BAYKO Collectors

These days manufacturers tend to use the word 'customer' to refer to the retailers that they supply directly, and use the word 'consumer' to refer to the person who ultimately buys the product. Here I've decided to use the word 'collector' for the person who bought BAYKO, which seems more appropriate.
This section shows examples of letters sent by Plimpton [or MECCANO if I come across any] direct to BAYKO collectors in response to their enquiries.
I feel personally frustrated that, when I wrote about the restricted range of BAYKO Roofs, not long before the MECCANO takeover in 1959, I never received a reply - anyone would think they were busy!
This is still quite small section, though there are now six of them, all dating from the Gibraltar Row factory years, but I will try and build up the numbers as opportunities arise...
 
August 9th, 1948 Letter to a Collector with Pre-War BAYKO
This letter [right] was sent to a BAYKO collector, in Weston Super Mare, Somerset, in August, 1948.
It is interesting as it clearly responds to an enquiry about the possibility of adding to a pre-war collection. It came with a large job lot, including mid 1930s brown and cream BAYKO, and a set #21. Matching the former was doomed to fail as Plimpton hadn't produced parts in that colour scheme for at least eleven years.
Given that we are talking of a decade between the original BAYKO purchases and this quest to supplement the collection, four scenarios suggest themselves : -
The original collection had been passed on to a younger sibling - large clerical families were not unknown.
The set had been passed on to another branch of the family - in which case white lies would have been told in the original enquiry.
The set had moved via the second-hand toy market - in which case blatant lies had been told.
The set was still firmly in the hands of its original owner, in which case we have an early true collector.
I prefer the last explanation...
...though I can't justify it!
Letter to a BAYKO collector dated August 9th, 1948
Thanks to Robin Throp for finding this one for me.
Judging by the size of the collection, "Messrs Coulstings" will have done rather well out of the recommendation!
 
1949 Letter to a Would-Be Customer
Letter to a customer, 11th April, 1949
This is an interesting letter for students of the retail market place in the late 1940s.
A lady, Mrs. L. W. Byford, had evidently written to Plimpton to buy either a BAYKO set or some spare parts. I suspect the former.
The letter shown here [left] is a polite rebuttal, stating that "in fairness to our dealers, we cannot supply either Bayko 'sets' or 'separate parts' direct to the public".
This has the general appearance of a standard letter, but the use of quotes twice in the script may be suggestive of a more personal response.
If the job lot of BAYKO I recently picked up on eBay [with this letter] is anything to go by, "MESSRS W.S. COWELL LTD, Buttermarket, Ipswich" did 'very nicely, thank you' as a result of this referral by Plimpton.
Quite whether the refusal to supply direct was born of operational convenience, or general pressure from retailers, I don't know. I'll let you make up your own mind.
I'm pleased to say that this document is mine.
206 x 255 mm = 8.1 x 10 inches
 
1950 Letter to a Would-Be Customer - Set #3X Reference
This is, in part, an interesting letter.
Mr. R. Ward, had evidently written to Plimpton on December 12th asking about larger BAYKO sets, set #3 being the largest available at the time.
The reply, dated Thursday, December 14th - not a bad response time - refers Mr. Ward to a choice of Nottingham retailers to add to his collection "by purchasing some of the supplementary Spare Parts which are available".
To that extent, the letter merely parallels the other letters to customers shown on this web page. However...
...there is one further short paragraph with some very interesting information.
"We would advise you, however, that we are at present working on size 3X, and trust to have this Set available in approx. 8-weeks".
This brings forward the estimated launch of conversion set #3X to early February, around the 9th, which was a full year before set #4 itself was launched.
Letter to a customer, 11th April, 1949
I'm pleased to say that this document is mine.
206 x 255 mm = 8.1 x 10 inches
 
Undated Letter About Storage Boxes
Brief letter from Plimpton about the use of the BAYKO Storage Boxes.
It's a shame that this letter [left] is undated, not least because Plimpton were based at the address in the letter head, "Gibraltar Row, Liverpool 3", between 1938 and 1955...
...however, the storage box referred to in the letter looks very much like a 1950s product, so we can probably narrow this down to between 1950 and 1955.
The lack of a specific date, perhaps, lends weight to the theory that this was a standard, possibly pre-printed letter, however, it looks very much more like a normal letter, so is more likely to have been 'freshly typed' from a standard script.
If you would like to know more about the Storage Boxes referred to in this letter...
Thanks to Stan Curran for this image.
206 x 255 mm = 8.1 x 10 inches
 
1952 Letter to Belgium
About the Block of Flats and Country Club Parts List
You might find it interesting to compare this letter, which certainly gives the impression of being personal, with the two standard, pre-printed(?) ones below.
This letter [right] was sent to a BAYKO collector in Antwerp, Belgium, following her request for the Parts List for the two models on the set #3X manual covers...
...the Block of Flats + the Country Club...
...which, together, were widely used by Plimpton for promotional purposes, as well as gracing covers of the set #3X manual.
Covering letter sent out with the Block of Flats / Country Club flier
The envelope in which the letter, and presumably the flier, were enclosed
If you'd like to know more of the role of these two models in Plimpton's marketing programmes in the early 1950s...
It's a shame that Plimpton demonstrated their ignorance of basic Flemish by mistyping the address...
...but the franked envelope is also interesting...
...so is the 'autograph' of Fred Rogerson, BAYKO Sales Manager.
206 x 255 mm = 8.1 x 10 inches
Thanks to Johan Debeuf for finding this one for me.
 
March 8th, 1954 Letter to Stoke-on-Trent
About the Block of Flats and Country Club Parts List
Letter dated March 8th, 1954 enclosing the Parts List for the Block of Flats and Country Club models
March 8th, 1954 envelope, complete with BAYKO franking
This letter [left], dated March 8th, 1954, should be read with reference to both the one above, and the one below, as all three enclosed Parts Lists for the Block of Flats and Country Club models from the set #3x manual covers.
This letter is pretty well identical to the one below, which proves to me that much of the communication used standard letters.
This letter is signed by F.H. [Fred] Rogerson - Sales Manager since 1938 - indicating that the supply of this Parts List was firmly in the Sales / Marketing arena.
A negative comment - I'd rather they hadn't just crossed out the ubiquitous "Dear Sir/Madam" but started again with "Dear Derek" - not indicative of the highest quality standards I'm afraid.
It's also nice to be able to include the envelope [above right], complete with its BAYKO franking which is clearly visible.
These items are shown courtesy of Peter Hilton and Andrew Lance of the HORNBY Railway Collectors Association.
206 x 255 mm = 8.1 x 10 inches
 
1954 Letter to Rotherham
About the Block of Flats and Country Club Parts List
This letter [right], which is dated March 15th, 1954, just a week after the oneabove, should be read with reference to the two above, as they both enclosed Parts Lists for the Block of Flats and Country Club models from the set #3x manual covers.
This letter is pretty well identical to the one above, which proves to me that much of Plimton's communication used standard letters.
This letter was p.p.'ed by what looks like C. Williams, on behalf of F.H. [Fred] Rogerson - Sales Manager since 1938 - indicating that the supply of this Parts List was firmly in the Sales / Marketing arena - but where was our Fred?
A negative comment - I'd rather they hadn't just crossed out the ubiquitous "Dear Sir/Madam" but started again with "Dear Andrew" - not indicative of the highest quality standards I'm afraid.
Letter dated March 15th, 1954 enclosing the Parts List for the Block of Flats and Country Club models
I'm pleased to say this letter is also mine.
206 x 255 mm = 8.1 x 10 inches
 
That's not quite it. I also have another letter, this time it's one sent direct to Bepin Behari Das and Grandson, an Indian wholesaler in Kalkota [Calcutta]...
Finally, we are all familiar with the 'with compliments slip', which used in their communications with varying degrees of enthusiasm, by businesses over the years - well Plimpton, at least, were no exception...
 
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