Letters Direct to Individual BAYKO Collectors

These days manufacturers tend to use the word 'customer' to refer to the retailers who they supply directly, and use the word 'consumer' to refer to the person who ultimately buys the product. Here I've decided to substitute the word 'collector' for the person who finally bought/received the BAYKO, which seems altogether 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!
The contents of the letter read as follows : -
We thank you for your letter of the 6th instant, and we have pleasure in enclosing our latest price list for your interest and guidance.
We also enclose our latest booklet, @ 1/9, to cover cost and post, which you may remit at you convenience. As you will see illustrated herein, the attractiveness of the new range of sets we now manufacture.
We would suggest that you compare your set with one of the equivalent in the new range, and then purchase all the 'parts' you will require to convert your old-type set into a completely new outfit.
The new Bases cannot be used in conjunction with the old, but can still be used separately for making models with new parts, as all parts, both old and new, are of a standard size, and fit on the base easily.
All sets and parts as listed can now be obtained from your nearest Bayko dealer who is Messrs Coulstings, 24 High Street, Weston Super Mare. We feel sure if you contact this store they will deal with your Bayko requirements with every courtesy and satisfaction.
Assuring you of our best attention at all times.

We are, yours faithfully,

pp THE PLIMPTON ENGINEERING COMPANY.
It is signed off by somebody who's signature looks like Warren.

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.
The full script reads as follows : -
We thank you for your kind enquiry, but we regret to advise you that our dealers, we cannot supply either 'Bayko sets' or 'separate parts' direct to the public. We feel sure you will appreciate this.
We append below dealers in your district who will deal with your requirements with every courtesy and satisfaction.
In the event of any difficulty arising perhaps you would be kind enough to contact us again.
It is signed off by Sales Manager, Fred Rogerson.
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.
The full script reads as follows : -
We thank you for your letter of the 12th inst., and for your kind interest in our product.
As requested, we have pleasure in including herewith a copy of our current instruction booklet covering the Nos 0 to 3 sets, from which you will observe that the No. 3 Set is the largest in production at present.
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.
In the meantime, we suggest that you increase your existing Sets by purchasing some of the supplementary Spare Parts which are available, and not included in the standard sets. for your guidance, we enclose a copy of our current price-list detailing these parts on one side. should you require any of these Parts we suggest that you contact either of the undermentioned Dealers.
Wishing you the compliments of the season.
Yours faithfully,
pp PLIMPTON ENGINEERING COMPANY LIMITED
It is signed off by no less a person than Fred Rogerson, the Sales Manager.
206 x 255 mm = 8.1 x 10 inches

Undated Letter About Storage Boxes
206 x 255 mm = 8.1 x 10 inches
208 x 90 mm = 8.2 x 3.5 inches
Brief letter from Plimpton about the use of the BAYKO Storage Boxes.
Envelope for the Storage Box letter
It's a shame the letter [left] is undated, because Plimpton used the letter head address, “Gibraltar Row, Liverpool 3”, between 1938 and 1955
…however, the storage box referred to in the letter is very much a 1950s product, so we can probably narrow this down to between 1950 and 1955.
The lack of a specific date also lends weight to the theory that this was a standard, probably pre-printed letter, however, it looks very much more like a normal letter, so it may have been 'freshly typed'.
The typed envelope [above] enclosed this letter, and gives a similar impression of being a standard, pre-prepared item.
The blue typing on the envelope, which is underlined in red, simply says, “MEMO RE USE OF STORAGE BOX”
The full script reads as follows : -
MEMO RE USE OF STORAGE BOX
As this container is intended to suit varying collections of BAYKO, we have not included a specific layout of parts.
It will be interesting for you to plan the use of the various divisions to the best advantage.
There is no signature.
Alas I've never seen any published reference to these storage boxes, so all the information comes from direct observation.
If you would like to know more about the Storage Boxes referred to in this letter…
Thanks to Stan Curran for this image.
 

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.
The full script reads as follows : -
Thank you for you letter of the 24th instant and are pleased to hear that your daughter is so interested in our product, and that you have one of our No. 4 outfits.
As requested, we have enclosed a list of the parts required to build the large models illustrated in our new instruction booklet.
With our compliments,
we are,
Yours faithfully,
p.p. PLIMPTON ENGINEERING COMPANY, LIMITED
It is, again, signed off by Fred Rogerson, the 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.
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.
The full script reads as follows : -
We thank you for your letter received, and, as requested, we have pleasure in enclosing herewith details of the Parts required to build the two large models illustrated in our No. 4 Instruction Booklet.
With our compliments, we are,
Yours faithfully,
pp PLIMPTON ENGINEERING COMPANY LIMITED
It is, again, signed off by Fred Rogerson, the Sales Manager.
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 one above, 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 Plimpton'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.
The contents of this letter are identical to the one above, reinforcing the standard letter theory, though here the signatory is R. Williams on behalf of Fred Rogerson.
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

Belated Request for Pre-War BAYKO Parts - July, 1954
206 x 255 mm = 8.1 x 10 inches
257 x 191 mm = 10.1 x 7.5 inches
Letter to Wallasey customer, July 27th, 1954
Franked BAYKO envelope dated August 27th, 1954
You have to admire the optimism of the recipient of this letter [left] who, just before the 27th July, 1954 response date, wrote asking for some form of pre-war product - at least thirteen years after production ceased.
The BAYKO franking is clearly visible on the envelope [above]. I cannot explain why the envelope is dated a month later than the letter!!!
I really don't think there is any particular point to make, so I'll leave the letter to speak for itself.
The full script reads as follows : -
We thank you for your letter of the 23rd inst., the contents of which have had our attention.
We can only suggest, in your particular instance, that in order to extend your pre-war Set, you purchase from your local agent a small quantity of our present type of Base. As you will appreciate the design of BAYKO has considerably altered since production was re-commenced after the war years, and we feel that the present type of mouldings are far superior to those of pre-war.
Regretting our inability to be of further assistance to you in this instance, and returning herewith your Instruction Booklet, as requested,
We are,
Yours faithfully,
pp PLIMPTON ENGINEERING COMPANY LIMITED
The letter was signed off by R. Williams of the “Sales Department”.
Again, I'm pleased to be able to say that this document is mine.

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…
 
Below here are links to related info : -
 
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