Monday, 26 December 2011

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Arches, arches, arches ...

The new-look forward entrance to Arch Three
We've just built a new archway! Or at least, we've built a new "artistic" faux-stone cladding for one side of the forward archway entrance to Arch Three. And yes, the smattering of green mould is hand-painted.

The new arch facade under construction
We also have some Cunning Plans for another part of the Museum, but we aren't allowed to talk about them yet...

Friday, 25 November 2011

Another display case ...

A custom cabinet under construction in one of the Museum worshops
More behind-the-scenes building work. Having spotted a gap where (after some building maintenance), we could squeeze another very narrow cabinet into the Museum, it's time for some more custom-fitted cabinetry. Notice the 30-degree angle on the sides.

The new cabinet will appear in Arch Three in early December, housing the collection of cast iron locomotive models that used to be in Arch Two (before being displaced by the Budgie collection) .

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Hornby rotating sign

Pentagonal Hornby illuminated shop sign
One of the rarer pieces in the Hornby Wall is a slightly Art Deco-ish 1950's five-sided Hornby Dublo rotating sign. The combination of faded grey-blue curves and chrome trim is slightly reminiscent of the styling on a 1950's refrigerator.

As part of our plans to try to increase the number of interactive items, we've now wired the display up to some modern energy-saving electronics that are triggered by a pushbutton on the right of the cabinet, and now it lights up in 1950's rainbow pastels and rotates a couple of times when the button's pushed. This is surprisingly fun.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

"Hornby Wall" display

Regular visitors will have noticed that for the past few months we've been steadily working on the "Hornby Wall" cabinets at the very end of the Museum's Arch Four, working and reworking the contents (and squeezing in more and more pieces each time) to create the best possible display of classic Hornby items from the 1920s and 1930s up to the introduction of Hornby Dublo.

The pieces are grouped from left to right in date order, so the wall efffectively gives an overview of the early evolution of Hornby.

We haven't yet done a final count of even the approximate number of items in the Hornby Wall, but we think that the overall effect is now slightly staggering, even for visitors who aren't dedicated Hornby enthusiasts.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

New "Level Crossing" gates

'Level crossing'-style gates, Brighton Toy and Mdoel Museum
Our new gates
There used to be a simple chain separating the public area in Arch One from the "off-limits" section by the entrances to the two Museum workshops. This week, we've installed a pair of swing-gates.

We didn't want boring old normal gates, and someone suggested designing them to look like the gates on a railway level crossing, to go with the "station" theme of the Museum Shop area. So that's what we did. And they're cool.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Now open on Mondays! (for a couple of months)

The museum's normal opening times are Tuesday to Saturday (opening one hour later on Saturdays), but for the next two months, starting today (Monday 25th July 2011), we're trialling the idea of also being open on Mondays (10am-5pm).

So that's now Monday-to-Saturday, until the end of September. If Mondays are especially convenient for you, mark your diary.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

1840's carriages, restoration work

two of the six restored pieces
The Museum Director, Chris Littledale, has just finished a period of restoration work on a collection of six very special 5"-scale carriages and pieces of rolling-stock that were originally built back in the 1840's, for their owner, The Steam Museum in County Kildare

The carriages left Chris' museum workshop today.

Monday, 27 June 2011

New Cabinet on Puppet Corner

An early snap of some work currently underway.

This project involves taking out one of the cabinets in Puppet Corner and replacing it with a new cabinet tailored to show off some new exhibits.

E.T.A. August 2011.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

New "Lead Figures" cabinet

Lead Cowboys and Indians
The mysterious blanked-off cabinet next to the O-gauge "starter button" in Arch Three finally got unveiled last month.
A few of the lead Disney figures
It's a collection of English lead toys including four shelves of miscellaneous Cowboys and Indians, Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men (including their pots and Little Weed), and another four shelves of classic cartoon and children's show characters (mostly by Disney) including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Peter Rabbit, Andy Pandy, Little Ted and Looby LouClara the Cow, and the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Trams and tracks

The tramway backdrop under construction
A lot of work goes into Museum display presentation. Putting an item on display isn't just a matter of putting something in a display cabinet, it's also about providing a surrounding visual context.

So, for the new tram display, we didn't just build a shelf for the piece and set up an overhead wire and street supports, we also sourced a contemporary tram scene for background, and built a strip of proper tramway track set into a section of stone roadway that was hand-assembled from individual flagsstones.

This obviously takes more time than simply putting an item on a shelf with a label, but we think that the results are worth it.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

New tram display

model tram, Brighton Toy and Model Museum
"Bristol Tramways" tram
A new tram model has just gone on display, in Arch Four.

It's a Bristol Electric tram. The model is one of a pair, Bristol Museum have the other one.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Oliver Cromwell is coming

Stand under construction
We put in the last newletter that the Oliver Cromwell steam engine had arrived (all six feet of it). For the uninitiated, this a big green Britannia Class 7, 4-6-2, one-twelfth-scale steam engine and tender.

Well, it's still not quite on display yet. An item this large (and this heavy) needs a special display stand, and it's taken a while to finalise the design and sort out a few minor issues (like making some replacement parts for the track). The plinth is now pretty much built and painted, and just really needs the frame and glassing, so hopefully it shouldn't take too much longer.


Friday, 11 March 2011

Steamroller moved to Foyer

Our quarter-scale model steamroller (the "Sir Granville") was looking a little unhappy sitting on the floor under Arches 2-3, so we've now given it a clean and put it on a new trundleable plinth in Arch One. It's now  easier to see, and is nearer to its "traction engine" cousin.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Brighton Belle at Modelworld 2011

The Modelworld 2011 Exhibition at the Brighton Centre's just come to an end.

The full-size Pullman "Brighton Belle" carriage display, on stand 34 of Modelworld 2011

The 5BEL Trust ("Bringing Back the Brighton Belle") were on stand 34, and they also had one of the actual Brighton Belle carriages parked outside on a trailer. The weather was a bit drab, but thanks to the Brighton Half Marathon, about five and a half thousand people trotted past it on Sunday morning.

The Brighton Belle's Car 88, parked outside the Brighton Centre, 20th Feb 2011
The exhibition also featured Daleks, a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, a lot of model trains, an awe-inspiring Lego aircraft carrier, and a Very Very Large scale steam locomotive (the Green Goddess) that was over twenty-seven and a half feet long including the tender, and weighed over eight tons.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Latest Homes Magazine

O-gauge model railway layout, Brighton Toy and Model Museum
Robert Nemeth's "Building Opinions" column in Latest Homes Magazine has an article on the museum this week (8-14 Feb issue, page 7).
The article is also online on the magazine's site, at , and the column is archived at

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Circus Toys, updated

A closeup of part of the new "Circus" cabinet
The "circus toys" display has been expanded, moved, reorganised and given the honour of its very own stand-alone glass cabinet.

The extra room means that more little circus folk and animals have been able to come out of storage to play!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Edwardian Wooden Shop

Edwardian Wooden Shop
Edwardian wooden shop set
One of our favourite new exhibits is an inlaid wooden Edwardian shop counter dating from around ~1910.

It includes a fixed wooden base with tile-effect flooring, the wooden counter and the surrounding wall of cubbyholes, drawers and cabinets, and it comes with a huge range of of little accessory items and shop fittings. There's foil-packed tea and grocery items in paper parcels, and glass and ceramic jars, cloth-covered pots, and bottles and tins and cardboard packs. There's even a wooden barrel and a range of assorted meats and a shop clock. Just about anything you can think of that might have been in a general store is there.

It's a very nice piece. Many of the shop's accessories seem to come from other sources and date a little later than the main shop body, as the owner collected more items to go with their shop. But in a way that's authentic, as real shops tend to be older than the items that they sell.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Triang Minic Ships display

Triang (Minic) ships display, Brighton Toy and Model Museum
After being "rested" for about a year, the display of Triang Minic ships has now been lovingly cleaned and reassembled, and put back on display.

Triang (Minic) ships, retail box