11 January 2024
On Monday, the sad news was announced that Hattons Model Railways was to close after 77 years in business. Since the news broke, manufacturers and retailers have all been making tributes to the long-established firm.
The closure marks the end of an era for one of the industry's oldest and most well-known retailers. Despite the company's best efforts to adapt to changing market conditions, the decision was taken to wind down in an orderly fashion, leaving no outstanding debts.
In the coming days and weeks, Hattons will conduct a clearance event to sell off all remaining stock. This presents a final opportunity for customers to acquire exceptional products at discounted prices.
The Model Centre was one of the first to post a tribute to Hattons on its website, stating;
"Since TMC first began in the Trafford Centre in 1998 it had a long-standing relationship with Hattons. Mostly as Chris Yates, in his previous life as a Hornby Rep in the 80s & 90s, regularly met Keith Hatton and his Dad Norman. This happened every year as they ventured south to place their Hornby main season order, MSO, as it was known then for the forthcoming year… From everyone at TMC, here’s to wishing all Hattons family and staff the very best at this difficult time and sincerely hope everything works out for you and all Hattons employees in the future, we have no doubt it will.”
Accurascale also put out a statement on its Facebook channel, reassuring customers who have purchased Accurascale branded models from Hattons to get in touch;
“With the extremely sad news that our friends at Hattons Model Railways are set to close their doors after almost 80 years in business, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all their management and staff, who have been a delight to deal with in our time working together, the very best of luck with their future endeavours…We would also like to take this opportunity to reassure any Hattons customers who have purchased Accurascale branded models from Hattons that they can contact us directly for any warranty support required. Just contact us regarding the matter via [email protected] email with proof of purchase from Hattons and we will be delighted to help.”
Dapol released a statement on its social channels, urging customers to place a new order for any pre-orders with Hattons of Dapol products;
“As you are probably aware by now Hattons Model Railways have announced that they are to close. If you have a pre-order for any Dapol products with Hattons we strongly suggest you place a fresh pre-order for your desired models with an alternate Dapol stockist…We wish all of our friends and colleagues at Hattons Model Railways all the best during what will be a difficult and upsetting time for them.”
The Hattons Modelling Community on Facebook posted this following the announcement, “It is very sad to hear of a long-standing business close its doors but they are closing them on their own terms. I would like to thank all the staff for their service and wish them all the best for the future. I hope that they will keep the Facebook community going to help show what they helped create over the decades.”
The Irish Railway Modeller online community posted the following on Facebook; “Hattons is closing down: Some sad news announced today by Hattons. I for one will miss them - they really did a lot to try to support Irish customers post-Brexit and I thought their trunk was a great service!”
The Hornby TT:120 group on Facebook posted, “A real shame, Hattons have announced they're closing down. Just started to use them and great service. Hope all of their team manage to get sorted moving forwards. Every cloud has a silver lining though, so some great bargains to be had, including some Arnold TT120 buildings. (One less than there was 5 minutes ago!) And a lot of scenic materials as well.”
Over on RMweb, as well as shock at the closure, many people posted tributes to the staff, from whom they had enjoyed excellent customer service. Ravel summed it up very well, posting; "Such terrible news, have been buying from them for nearly 30 years. I send all my condolences to the staff."
Others shared their reminiscences of visiting the shop; "Very sad news and my thoughts are for the staff involved. I first visited Hattons at Smithdown Road around 1965. A train trip with my elder brother from Wigan to Edge Hill then a fair walk down Smithdown Road. I had a few bob saved up and asked Mr Hatton (dressed in his light brown dust jacket) if he had any cheap Tri-ang TT items. Indeed he did, a tray of assorted secondhand TT wagons, coaches and track, nothing over two bob (10 new pence) - I was hooked as a customer. Many visits (and later mail orders) followed over the years, always a satisfied customer. My last visit to their second shop (near Smithdown Road) I noted they were doing really well, with glass cases full of new & S/H and three ladies taking orders on the phone. I had a small mail order fulfilled only a month or so ago. The end of an era, and they will be sorely missed."