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Article and memories by Paul Wright, 2020
Osborne Sports & Toys
Celebrate 65 years in Rushden
shop in 2020
The shop in 2020

One of the few long established shops now left in our High Street is “Osborne’s” toy and model shop, which has been on Rushden High Street since May 1955.

So sixty five years, and many contented kids later, (mums and dads included of course), we are being given the chance to snap up a couple of jig saw puzzles in 2020 to celebrate.

Prior to “Jim” opening his shop, it was a gift shop stocking the trendy toys of the day in the shape of “Tri-ang” and for would be mechanical types a “Meccano” set.

Tri-ang manufactured train sets at the time, and every lad wanted to be an engine driver. Not sure what career the girls of the day wanted to do?

The Tri-ang Railways name was dropped a few years after Lines Bros took over the Hornby name.

At their peak they had 40 companies world-wide, including the famous Hornby, Dinky & Meccano brands; all was going well until the early 1970’s, when they called in the receivers.

My train set was a Hornby one, and of course my dad purchased it from “Jim” along with the signal box, electric colour lights and level crossing.

The engines and coaches etc were made of metal in those days, and my favourite engine was the “Duchess of Montrose” in green; she was a Coronation class engine.

I did have the blue coloured “Sir Nigel Gresley” which was an A4 Pacific class locomotive. Also a few saddle tank engines that pulled the coal trucks around my little bit of railway heaven in the spare bedroom in Wymington. You can bet that I would always suffer a derailment when the engine was in the tunnel!

Jim with Meccano
Jim Osborne in 2010 with some Meccano
These were all part of the famous Hornby 00 system that had a pick up rail in the centre of the track.

You had to have few Dinky toys to complete your train set, which if you were lucky was set up on a table on some trestles.

And another sign of the times in our high street — who remembers “half day” closing? Yes, the shop workers were not doing a seven day week then. And you went into a shop to be served by a generally keen and knowledgeable person.

And Osborne’s were part of that working arrangement, and duly closed their doors on a Thursday afternoon.

This gave many of the workers the chance to get a game of cricket in, as the Saturday game would be out of the question.

At the exact time of the 65th anniversary in 2020, the world was blighted with “Covid”.

still busy...
Still busy & Covid social distancing measures

Toys for all ages
Will & Pamela
The jigsaw and Will and Pamela Osborne
window display
Window display 2020

The Jigsaw is currently available as a 500 piece or a 1000 piece puzzle, and is selling well. [Sept 2020]

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