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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This has been inspired by a conversation with Howmet.
Here are a couple of addresses, photographed recently, that are intimately tied up with Slot Racing in the UK. I present these pics in the hope that the people who were there can share their memories and that other racers can add photos of their own crime scenes.

122 King Street, Hammersmith.


Wonderland, Southend seafront.


I didn't arrive in the UK until 1973 and I was more concerned at that time with guitar picking than slot racing. Apologies if I've raided the wrong premises here.
My own memories are tied up with International Raceways in Lower Hutt and Wellington, and the Le Mans/Malibu track in the Hutt. Now pics of those places are something I'd really like to see.

Regards,
L.
 

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Hi Lowrider,
Are you sure that is 122 King Street Hammersmith?

I did go there a couple of times and worked for Hammersmith Borough Council Planning Dept from 1969 to 1973 after it had closed, so had access to the planning history of the site. Before it was GPMR it was a car showroom. The bit occupied by Maplin does not look wide enough to have been a car showroom so it could have included the unit to the left as well.

I certainly remember GPMR as having quite a large shop frontage with the counter on the right of a fairly central door, a track to the left, possibly something like a Monarch and the big King track at the rear right of the unit which was a bit narrower than the front.

But it was 40 years ago!
 

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Jim Moyes
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I think you're close but not quite there with 122 King Street, Low! It's possibly the other side of the alley.

I used to do a bit of transport work for Frank Dale & Stepsons, the Rolls & Bentley dealers and their address was 120-124 King Street. I seem to remember them showing me some historical photos of the place before they had it that involved GT40s being assembled there.

Cor blimey guv'nor, I've 'ad ta 'old up the traffic and reverse down that alley in me wagon a time or two, I can tell ya!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Aha!
The same bit of research that I used to decide which building it was, having never raced there, as stated before. I suppose that it's not impossible that the street numbers have been recast at some point.

I did run that photo past Howmet before posting it. He gave it a tentative thumbs up, balancing 'I remember it being larger' with 'I used to be smaller'. Also reminiscing about some spotty oik chaining his bicycle to any obliging policeman outside the place, etc.

Perhaps GT40s were smaller too back then?

I'll put my gumshoe back on the case.

Regards,
L.
 

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I must have been 12 when I started going to Hammersmith by 267 bus, but I do remember the layout just as Dick Smith describes it.
The address was definitely 122 King St. in all the advertising, and on a 'Slotware' header card I happen to have before me.

Now how about some pics of 367-9 High Rd. Tottenham? Or 54 Well Hall Rd Eltham? Or 26 High St Southall?
I could take a snap of what used to be Richmond Raceway- it's now a wargames shop. And Vineyard Slot Club, now more famous for being the rehearsal space for Tony Blair's rock group....
 

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Planning records are public documents and some are available on line. Fortunately Hammersmith and Fulham seem to have enbraced the technology so this link should take you to the records of the planning consent for GPMR at 122-124 King Street of 22nd August 1966

LBHF link

It does, so click on the box "Associated Documents" which should take you to a PDF of the planning consent document.

The site plan is not all that clear, there is a whole history of other applications and splitting up of the site since 1966, but as far as I can make out they occupied both the Maplins unit and the unit to the left, with the alley up the side being Argyle Place.

If you like whimsy, given the heading of this topic, the site now lies within an area of archaeology priority.
 

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Eddie Grice
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I'm sure the participants of this thread know "Grand Prix Model Raceways", Hammersmith, was run by Peter Warr who had previously run Lotus Components for Colin Chapman.
He went on to run "Team Lotus", Wolf & then returned to Lotus.

The reason I mention it is because PW is the subject of this months Lunch with feature in Motor Sport magazine.
The only ref to GPMR is: -
"Also I suppose I'd made myself pretty indispensable at Lotus Components, so the one job I really wanted to run Team Lotus I wasn't going to get. So I left. I started a slot car racing business but it wasn't a successful venture............."

Not the first or the last in that respect then


Eddie
 

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I`ve probably got to go past there this week so i`ll take my camera with me, if it is a "strange government building" i`m photographing you might not hear from me for a while! cheers steve
 

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John
There's an article about Hounslow in Model Cars, not sure which issue but i remember they had a picture of the shop front, will have a look.
I have a few local historical landmarks, Beaties in Southgate [the original] which is now a fast food outlet and Rayken Models in Winchmore Hill, now a charity shop.
[oneofwos]
 

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I went to the Hounslow Model Raceways quite a lot in late 1968 after finishing at college and before getting a proper job.

Looking at the A-Z to prompt my memory and tracing back the route I would probably have taken from South Harrow I think it was in High Street Hounslow, near its junction with Hampton Road. Off Hampton Road there was a small alley which, once you knew where it was, took you to some parking spaces behing the shop. It looks like that section of the High Street is now pedestrianised and there is a shopping centre called the Treaty Centre opposite where I think the shop was. I also used to go there by train getting off at Hounslow Central, turning left and walking down towards the High Street and round the corner.

They ran a series of Three Hour Enduros for different classes of cars and I entered them all, swapping the same Dyna Rewind between chassis, which completely Kn.. used it up.
 

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Thanks, Dick. But I can't find my way round Hounslow at all these days even though it's right on my doostep- It's all rebuilt, with that monstrous shoping centre. I didn't think there would be any sign of the old place, just couldn't remember the address. I used to nip up there on my bike with my mates regularly, but never entered any big races. I'd love to look at that MC article if you can find it, John, to put alongside the Miniature Auto piece on Richmond Raceway.
 

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Here is a photograph I took of Wonderland a couple of years ago before the original signwriting was taken down, what a pity it had to go.



David
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Great picture, David.
I'm glad I managed to track down the right place in Southend.

I do remember the Beatties in Southgate, John, although I visited the one in Holborn more often.

My gumshoe reports that the section of the building above Maplins in Hammersmith appears to be a recent addition, more or less designed to blend with the older building beside it. If the whole plot of land has been rebuilt (I don't have the heart to wade through Dick's official documents, sorry!), it could account for the uncertainty about the site.

Time Team, dig on!
L.
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi john
I ,like dick smith ,only went to hounslow a couple of times and really can,t remember where it was
However ,the advert in Model cars july 68 says it was at 230 hounslow high street and .wait for it ,opposite woolworths
Is woolies still there ,could be a clue!
Moreover if you do want to know more about the rise and fall of raceways in britain then there is a whole chapter in my forthcoming book mentioning in detail all those from the above posts ,including recollections from TMR owner Mike wooton
Available in october for a mere £19 .99

Cheers Tony
 

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Hi crumbly building gricers

Great pieces of history, worth capturing now as slot car clubs tend to be redeveloped owing to the poor real estate they tend to occupy.

I think the whole block including Maplins is new - the Slug and Lettuce (or whatever) is at the front of the Holiday Inn Express which is all-new and extends over the top of both that and Maplins - spot the random Express and Hotel signs in the pic. I'm staying there on Monday night and will check it out.

FWIW IMHO I think the raceway was much bigger than Maplins and I do seem to remember the alleyway being on the left. It was an American car showroom afterwards. My good friend Jos van de Perre used to live in Black Lion Lane just down the road so I do remember it well, though trips to Jos's were quite surreal in many ways.

For those who visited the old FLBT club in Swindon (vacated in July 06) the rank wooden hut with the dodgy floor was swiftly replaced by a pair of Mini-semi's, sady not called red....Red....RED!!!!!!!! and BLUE, YOU IDIOT.....

Just saw this thread tonight, ironically have been both in King Street and Swindon today.

Cheers, Rob
 
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