Swindon model and hobby shop closes after 90 years

By Barrie Hudson - 21 June 2021

  • The current premises in Fleet Street

    The current premises in Fleet Street

A historic Swindon hobby shop has closed its doors for the last time - but will continue trading online.

  • The old shop in Victoria Road

    The old shop in Victoria Road

Spot On Models & Hobbies in Fleet Street was run by brothers Bob and Chris Hext, whose business was started by their Grandfather in 1931.  

Initially located at the top of Victoria Road as Froude & Hext, it was a diverse shop specialising in toys, model railways, model kits and diecast models, alongside a paint and decorating department that was the DIY shop of Old Town in the 1950s and 1960s. 

When the brothers' father passed away, Bob Hext took over the shop until he semi-retired in 2007 and closed the Old Town site.

He joined his brother in transferring the business initially to Havelock Street and  then to Fleet Street as Spot On Models & Hobbies.

Chris said: “Having reached the age of 66, myself brother Bob - 75 - are retiring and closing our shop. As my grandfather opened in 1931 it means we have been going for 90 years.

"Did the pandemic push our decision? I don't think so, because in a weird twist it in fact made us delay the decision.

"We were going to go in 2020 when I actually reached 66. However, we did not want to retire whilst we were in 'forced' closure.  Actually, covid kept us going, as people are going back to their traditional hobbies or building model railways and model kits.

"The most popular lines tended to be model kits, with interest fuelled by the increased availability of top quality kits, the revitalisation of Airfix since it was bought out by Hornby four years ago, and something called the James May Effect.

"I've loved playing in a toy shop all these years, and to those who know me, yes, I admit it, it's a toy shop - there, I've said it!”

The Spot on Models & Hobbies website is https://www.spotonmodels.co.uk/

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