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META - Model Engineering Trade Association logo.jpg


1940s -     

The Model Engineering Trade Association (META) was organised by a group of enthusiastic figures in UK model engineering, as a way of encouraging customers' perception of the quality of commercially advertised goods.


The listing of names in the photo of members present at the first (1946) meeting is almost a roll-call of owners of large and small model engineering businesses, from W.J. Bassett-Lowke and members of the extended Bassett-Lowke "family", such as William Rowe and Robert Bindon Blood (Winteringham Ltd), to the Mills Brothers, Frank and William (Milbro), J.E. Skinley (of blueprints fame) Archibald Stewart Reidpath of Stewart Reidpath Ltd., G. N Slater (Plastikard), and Alastair Robertson-Aikman (The Scale Model Equipment Company Ltd).

The chairman of META was George Dow, a respected railway figure who was a draughtsman and then Press Officer at the LNER, and who went on to write a well-received series of railway histories.


The META "gear-wheel" logo was quite compact, and legible in small sizes, and as a result some members regularly used it in their small-ads ... which is where people nowadays will tend to know it from.

1946 roll-call


META recently held its first Annual General Meeting at the Great Eastern Hotel, Liverpool Street and the photo shows some of the members present.

  • STANDING: Left to right. Messrs. C. B. Skelton, W. C. Hardy, F. S. Mills, R. S. Moore, W. Mills, W. J. Bassett' Lowke and J. Sandford.
  • SEATED: Behind table left to right. Messrs. G. N. Slater, J. E. Skinley, George Dow (President), R. J. Raymond (Chairman), G. H. Lake (Secretary), R. M. Spofforth, J. N. Maskelyne, R. Bindon-Blood and W. Rowe.
  • SEATED: In front of table left to right. Messrs. A. R. Aikman, J. L. Holbrook, A. S. Reidpath and H. M. Sell.

— , -, , The Model Railway Constructor, , September 1946

1947 description:

Developing our survey of the model railway world we pose this month to deal with the subject of the Model Engineering Trade Association — a body which must have intimate bearing on the activities of modellers. We will, therefore, endeavour to answer the question : -


In the closing years of the War when flying bombs and rockets provided "noises off" a few model railway firms were invited to a meeting at Kings Cross, held at the invitation of the Model Railway Press. This small gathering proved one of the mile-stones in model railway history and it is fitting that the names of those attending should be recorded. Present on that occasion were Messrs. Stewart Reidpath (A. S. Reidpath), Walkers and Holtzapffel (H. E. Walker), Bassett-Lowke(H. M. Sell). Goodchild and Hunt (L. T. Goodchild), Mills Bros. (R. Spofforth), A. W. Hambling, and T. C. Wright. Letters promising support were received from Messrs. E. Exley & Co., Modelcraft, Tyldesley & Holbrook, G. E. Mellor, and Leeds Model Co.

At this meeting on the 12th June, 1944 it was decided to form a Trade Asscociation, it being felt that with the cessation of model production and the exhaustion of existing stock, here Was a good opportunity to make a fresh start to new and improved standard dimensions. A Managing Committee was formed and it was agreed that the Chairman of the Association should not be connected with the trade but preferably have an intimate knowledge of the hobby and its requirements. The first Chairman appointed was Mr. R. J. Raymond and the Secretary, Mr. G. H. Lake — now Editor of "Railway Pictorial". One of the first moves was to establish liason with the B.R.M.S.B. and to this end Mr. J. N. Maskelyne, Chairman of that body, was appointed to the M.E.T.A. Committee. In return Messrs. Mills Bros. and A. S. Reidpath were appointed to the B.R.M.S.B. Committee to represent respectively the interests of 7mm and 4mm modellers.

The next question was the election of a suitable President and the Association were fortunate in securing for this post the services of Mr. G. Dow – Press Relations Officer of the L.N.E.R. – thus providing a link with the main line companies.

In the early days an attempt was made to organise the Association into groups dealing with 4mm, 7mm, larger gauges, ship models and general engineering models, etc., but due to members being interested often in two or three separate groups, the arrangement proved unwieldy and was abandoned. The Association progressed quietly, giving very early attention to the matter of interchangeable standards – its membership consisting almost entirely of manufacturers. Later, however, a second type of manufacturer appeared on the horizon, specialising in the production of architectural models and general accessories to the hobby. To cater for this class a Section was formed known as the Associate Manufacturer who, whilst not manufacturing by engineering processes, was nevertheless a manufacturer in his own sphere and sharing the common problems.

Thus matters proceeded until with the termination of the War and the slow resumption of production, arose the question of yet another Section of the Association, i.e. the retail shops. Following on the development of the retail side came also the need to make provision for the wholesale factor who was included in the Associate Section. Thus today M.E.T.A. has three types of membership, (a) the Manufacturer, (b) the Associate and Wholesaler, and (c) the Retailer. Under a revised constitution each of these Sections will have its own Committee to deal with individual and specific problems whilst the main affairs of the Association will be controlled by a Council comprising members from all three branches.

That the steady work in the early days laid the right foundation is exemplified by the present membership figures. Today the Manufacturer and Associate Sections, or broadly speaking the producing half of M.E.T.A., comprises 26 member firms and this total includes practically all the principal producers of model railway equipment. The Retail Section or Selling half of M.E.T.A. now comprises nearly 100 firms – a figure which continues to grow steadily.

The election of members is dealt with by a Selection Committee appointed by the Council and all applications are given a most careful scrutiny and investigation. Membership of the Manufacturer Section is granted only to firms engaged seriously on this work and possessing the necessary premises, plant and staff. Associate membership is granted to firms producing accessories, to wholesalers, and to smaller manufacturers who are developing their business and who will eventually be transferred to the Manufacturer Section. Membership in the Retail Section is granted to shops of good standing but, more important, only to shops which possess a staff sufficiently experienced to deal with the hobby and able to give intelligent service to customers.

This briefly is the story of M.E.T.A. and the meaning of the badge which is seen in many of our advertisements. When a modeller deals with a M.E.T.A. manufacturer he is sure that rolling stock and track are interchangeable; he is sure of consistent standards and he is sure of fair and equitable treatment. When a modeller buys from a M.E.T.A. dealer he is sure of intelligent and understanding service and sure that he will obtain standard dimension articles produced by Manufacturer members. The Association has not hesitated, nor will not hesitate, to take action against any members whose trading methods are unsatisfactory.

It will be seen, therefore, that it is the obvious advice we can give to our readers that they deal with member firms of the Association. These firms and shops have undertaken obligations in the interests of the hobby and of modellers in general. If for no other reason, this action should merit your support but the main reason that we advise trading with members of the Association is the safeguards offered to modellers through such channels.

What can you do to maintain and help forward the good work of the Association? Briefly it is this: (1) Support M.E.T.A. firms throughout and (2) bring to the notice of the Secretary of the Association (Mr. G. H. Lake, 156 Camden High St., London, N.W.1.) any instances where the services you are entitled to expect from a M.E.T.A. member, falls short of the standards expected, or any occasion when you are offered wheels or track, etc., which do not conform to the agreed dimensions. By reporting such cases you are doing a service to the hobby and to the Association.

Finally one question remains to be answered: Is M.E.T.A. a Closed Shop?" The answer is most emphatically NO. Membership is open to any firm of repute and good intention. The smaller producer is equally welcome as the large manufacturer and facilities are given whereby the development of his business is matched by his transfer to the most suitable section for his requirements. One thing is certain, and that is that M.E.T.A., as a result of the careful and patient work which laid its foundations, is here to stay and to play an ever increasing part in developing of all th which is best in our hobby.

— , R. J. RAYMOND, , The Model Railway Constructor, , October 1947

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Media in category ‘META’

The following 2 files are in this category, out of 2 total.