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New series Hornby: A Model World to go behind the scenes at firm based in Margate


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A new television series will go behind the scenes at a beloved Kent-based model maker firm.

Hornby, the company behind brands such as Scalextric and Corgi, has been based in Margate for more than 60 years.

A new TV show will go behind the scenes at Hornby. Picture: Paul Amos
A new TV show will go behind the scenes at Hornby. Picture: Paul Amos

A new show, Hornby: A Model World, goes behind the scenes to reveal how its team of designers are creating a new generation of machines.

Montana Hoeren, head of brand at Hornby, told KentOnline it is still "relatively easy" to get children excited about model railways.

She told how they visit different model railway exhibitions to engage with children and how the firm has launched its new range of children's toy trains, called Playtrains.

"Model railways is a really lovely hobby," she said. "It’s something that is a distraction from TV, mobiles and tablets that you see kids so distracted by these days.

"Something that is really special about model railways is that we see people start at whatever age and it is a lifetime’s journey hobby that you can carry on forever.

Simon Kohler will feature in the Hornby: A Model World programme on Yesterday. Picture: Paul Amos
Simon Kohler will feature in the Hornby: A Model World programme on Yesterday. Picture: Paul Amos

"It’s not something that goes out of fashion and it can be as creative as you like.

"A lot of people think of a train set as a track and a train going round it but it’s so much more than that and it can be as creative as you like – from building a layout, adding scenery, grass, buildings, residents and people.

"There are really no limits when it comes to model railways and building that adventure and setting off on that model railway journey."

Ms Hoeren, who has worked at the firm for six years, has the task of bringing new ideas into the century-old company.

She features throughout the series alongside Simon Kohler, who has worked there for more than 40 years.

James May at the Hornby offices in 2019. Picture: Paul Amos
James May at the Hornby offices in 2019. Picture: Paul Amos

From steam engines to cutting-edge racing cars, each programme follows the process from drawing board to perfect mini replica.

Margate has been home to Hornby for more than 60 years, with the factory opening in 1954.

More than 2,000 staff used to work in the factory and they produced millions of Hornby products up until 1995.

The company moved its offices to Discovery Park in Sandwich in 2015 but announced it was "coming home" to the Thanet town in 2019 where it was based before the move.

Earlier this year it was announced a warehouse used to store historic trains is to be transformed into a locomotive museum celebrating British railway heritage.

Locomotive Storage Ltd, which owns the Hornby site in Margate where the building is located, has been given permission to push ahead with plans for the new attraction, which will be called the One:One Collection.

Hornby: A Model World starts tonight on Yesterday and will be shown on Mondays at 9pm.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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