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New Cavendish Books

London, UK

This page aims to illustrate as many as possible of the superb toy and model related books published by New Cavendish, including trains, road vehicles, aircraft and ships, commencing with an excellent history of The Hornby Companion Series, by Peter Gurd.

The History of the Hornby Companion Series: New Cavendish Books (1978-1992), by Peter Gurd

Initiated in 1978 and published volume by volume through to 1992, the series forms a complete history of all products of the famous Binns Road factory of Meccano Limited - finally closed in 1980. The first volume is an overview of all the products, whilst volumes 2 to 7 each cover the detailed history of one product: final volume 8 is a treasury of the accumulated literature of the company. Most volumes are now out of print (2017); Vol 4 has been superceded by another title; and Volume 5 has been "upgraded" by a new edition containing additional material.

Note - these details have been compiled from the actual books rather than dustjacket notes, which can be misleading due to changes as the series progressed!

Lavish illustrations and use of colour are the hallmark of this series, and a special feature is the reproduction in full colour of scarce original source catalogues which today have become highly prized collectors' items:

Vol 1 includes the Meccano Book of Products 1935, plus the Hornby Book of Trains 1938/9 (& 1939/40 extract).

Vol 2 includes the Meccano Book of Engineering 1928 (and all 37 prewar Super Model leaflets, plus variants).

Vol 7 reproduces all 725 covers of both English and French editions of the Meccano Magazine, with a fresh index.

Vol 8 includes full reproductions of: The Magic Carpet (1925); the Hornby Books of Trains 1925/6, 1927/8, and 1933/34; Toys of Quality catalogue (1957); and Hornby Dublo catalogue (1962).

In addition, Vol 7A includes a full reproduction of all 12 issues of the Meccano Magazine for 1936, with covers.

The "Compendia" cause some confusion as each serves a different purpose. Vol 3A is the complete chronological list of Dublo products (the "Compendium" from of Volume 3 but reset for easier use), plus a useful dated index of all known literature. Vol 4A was a serial listing of Dinky Toys, absent from the 1st edition of the main volume. Vol 5A, a comprehensive table of all 0 Gauge production arranged to clearly highlight successive variations, is fresh material not contained in either original or revised versions of the Gauge 0 story. Vol 6A is a reprint of pages 335 to 428 of Vol 6: it is NOT an add-on booklet as the text states! Vol 7A is a volume in its own right: an anthology of over 400 MM articles across the years, with all twelve 1936 issues of the MM reprinted in full.

This is a full list of all the books which were published in the Hornby Companion Series:

Vol 1 "The Products of Binns Road" (Peter Randall, 1978; reprinted 1981); 224pp; 102 colour illus, 170 b/w.

Vol 2 "The Meccano Super Models" (Geoff Wright, 1978; reprinted 1986); 336pp, prolific b/w illustrations.

Vol 3 "Hornby Dublo Trains" (Michael Foster, 1980); 432pp; 632 photos/drawings, 64 in colour. (first published 1980, with frequent reprints) - some in 1983 as the "Golden Jubilee" edition. From 1992 on, reprints have included 16 extra colour pages based on an HRCA calendar.

Vol 3A "Hornby Dublo Compendium" (Alan Ellis, 1986); 136pp - Compendium Section from Vol 3, reset, together with the addition of a detailed index to 28,000 entries in 270 pieces of Dublo literature.

Vol 4 "Dinky Toys & Modelled Miniatures" (Mike & Sue Richardson, 1981); 384pp; over 700 illustrations. (the 2nd edition of 1986 included 87 colour pictures formerly in b/w, and incorporated the Compendium (Vol 4A), but otherwise was unchanged: this volume was effectively superceded by "The Great Book of Dinky" published in 2000).

Vol4A "Dinky Toys Compendium" (Patrick Trench, 1986); 72pp. Supplement to Volume 4 1st Edition.

Vol 5 "Hornby Gauge 0 System" (Chris & Julie Graebe, 1985); 336pp; over 500 illustrations incl 423 full colour. (First published 1985 - very dark blue jacket, reprinted twice. In 1994 the revised second edition - green jacket - extended the original book by over 100 extra pages of fresh full colour illustrations, and tongue-in-cheek 'Second Thoughts' explanation: the revised edition of 440 pages thus included over 700 illustrations - most in full colour). Note that 6 pages of additional information appear in Vol 5A, but not in the revised Vol 5).

Vol 5A "Gauge 0 Compendium" (Chris & Julie Graebe); 128pp tabular information only. (Published 1989, a table of all 0 Gauge production dating each important detail change: plus 6pp addendum to Vol 5 not published elsewhere).

Vol 6 "The Meccano System & Special Purpose Sets" (Bert Love/Jim Gamble, 1986); 432pp; 850 illustrations, 96 in colour, possibly never reprinted: a full history of the construction system whose success underpinned all other products, with details of the special related series - chemistry and electrical sets, army, motor and aeroplane outfits. A reprint of the 96 page Compendium Section appeared in 1988 as Vol 6A (this did not add any new information).

Vol 6A "Meccano System Compendium" (Jim Gamble, 1988); 96pp. Reprint of Compendium Section of Vol 6.

Vol 7 "The Meccano Magazine" (Joseph Manduca, 1987); 484pp. Facsimiles of all 690 English and French colour covers plus 35 b/w. (Brief history of the MM taken from Volume 6, plus 100pp fresh contents index).

Vol 7A "Meccano Magazine Anthology" (Edited Allen Levy, 1991); 1072pp, over 2500 b/w illustrations. A selection of over 400 MM articles across the years, with all twelve 1936 issues of the MM reprinted in full. (This was the only volume in portrait format, but came in a "landscape" slipcase to match the other volumes).

Vol 8 "The Hornby Companion" (Roger Beardsley, 1992); 628pp; over 900 illustrations, 265pp in colour. A very comprehensive review of the whole range of Meccano Ltd publications and literature (other than the MM): Instruction manuals & leaflets; New & Prize model books; promotional & trade literature; and of course public catalogues. This final volume ends with a useful index of all the original source material consulted during the painstaking compilation of the groundbreaking Hornby Companion Series.

It should be mentioned that as this series progressed between 1978 and 1992, the original sequence had to be re-numbered. At first, a single volume was intended for the material that eventually became Volumes 7, 7A & 8 so the jackets of older editions may appear to be incorrect. The above summary is correct at January 2017. All these titles are now out-of-print, but widely available secondhand.

Peter Gurd, February 2017.


Hornby Companion Series, Volume 1.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 2.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 3.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 3a.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 4.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 4a.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 5.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 5a.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 6.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 6a.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 7.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 7a.

Hornby Companion Series, Volume 8.

A Century of Model Trains, Allen Levy

Brilliantly Old Fashioned. The Story of Ace 0 Gauge Trains

The Trains on Avenue de Rumine

The Bassett Lowke Story, Roland Fuller

Marklin 1895-1914

Bing Toy Catalogue, 1898

Bing Toy Catalogue, 1906

Bing Toy Catalogue, 1912

The Great Toys of Georges Carette

The Golden Years of Tin Toy Trains 1850-1909

Toys at The London Toy and Model Museum

The Story of Rovex Volume 1 1950-1965

The Story of Rovex Volume 2 1965-1971

The Story of Rovex Volume 3 1972-1996

The History of Trix HO/OO Model Railways in Britain, Tony Matthewman

The Great Book of Corgi 1956-1983, Marcel R Van Cleemput

The Great Book of Dinky Toys, Mike and Sue Richardson

The Great Book of Britains 1893-1993, James Opie

The Great Book of Hollow-Cast Figures, Norman Joplin

Great Book of Tin Toys, David Pressland

The Art of the Tin Toy, David Pressland

The Book of Penny Toys, David Pressland

The Model Cars of Gerald Wingrove

Diecast Toy Aircraft, An Illustrated Guide, Sue Richardson

Frog Model Aircraft, Richard Lines and Leif Hellstrom

Collecting Tin Toys, Jack Tempest

British Tin Toys, Marguerite Fawdry

American Motortoys, Gottschalk Lillian

Bassett-Lowke Waterline Ship Models, Derek Head

The War Toys 1, Reggie Polaine and David Hawkins

The War Toys 2, Dennis Fontana

The Universal Toy Catalog 1924-26, Manfred Bachmann

The Universal Toy Catalog 1924-26, Manfred Bachmann

Toy Autos 1890 - 1939, Peter Ottenheimer

The Minic Book, Peter Bartok

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