Ship model, battleship HMS "Repulse", propelled by electric motor, Bassett-Lowke, London, England, [UK]; A A Stewart Collection (OF).
HMS" Repulse" was a Renown class battlecruiser, the second to last battlecruiser built by John Brown and Company, Clydebank ,for the Royal Navy, joining the Grand Fleet in September 1916. The "Repulse" first saw action in November 1917 at the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight when she engaged two German Battleships SMS "Kaiser" and SMS "Kaiserin".In the early years of the Second World War, the "Repulse" was involved in Atlantic escort operations, and participated in the hunt for the German battlecruisers 'Scharnhorst" and " Gneisenau", In May 1941, she took part in the chase of the battleship " Bismarck' ,but was detached from the main body prior to the last engagement due to fears of a repeat of the loss of HMS " Hood ", and to lack of fuel. On the 10th December1941, Force Z, comprising the battleship HMS " Prince of Wales", HMS " Repulse ", and 4 destroyers, but without the aircraft carrier initially assigned to Force Z but which never eventuated, was attacked by 86 Japanese aircraft from the 22nd Air Flotilla based in Saigon. The "Repulse was hit by 4 or 5 torpedoes and sank with the loss of 327 crew. A prime significance of this sinking of 2 capital ships by aerial attack was that capital ships were never again used in major actions without significant air cover either by shore based or carrier based aircraft.
This model is part of the A.A. Stewart collection of ship, mechanical, and railway models acquired over nearly 30 years, from 1938 to 1963. Albyn A. Stewart was a trained engineer fascinated by engineering models, and he constructed some of those in the collection. Others were bought from amateur and commercial modellers at great expense to Stewart, who travelled regularly to England to seek out new models. This model was acquired from Bassett-Lowke Ltd., a manufacturer of working ship models and exhibition standard scale ship models. In January 1938, Percival Marshall, the editor of 'The Model Engineer ', England's premier modelling magazine, devoted editorial space to the collection, where he stated that " Mr. Stewart has been fortunate in acquiring some excellent examples of both screw and paddle marine engines of considerable value as records of real prototype practice ". Later the same year, he further said " As a trained engineer himself, his judgement of the technical merits of a model is very sound, and I should imagine that his collection is now the finest of its kind in Australia, in private hands. Many of the models are undoubtedly worthy of careful preservation and I hope that they will eventually find a suitable resting place in one or more of the Australian national museums ".
Stewart was first contacted by the Technological Museum, as the Powerhouse Museum was then known, in 1933. The then Director/ Curator, A. R. Penfold immediately recognised the importance of the engineering models, and in 1935 began to loan items from the display. Penfold expanded the area available for display in the models as they were seen as instructive for students in the adjacent Technical College, as well as for the general public.
In early 1938,Stewart's company 'Lymdale Ltd ' , which owned most of the models, was approached about the purchase of a large part of the collection. Stewart was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Museum, and, in July 1938, it began to purchase the models it had loaned, as well as the best examples in the rest of the collection. The cost of this was estimated at 3000 pounds. By 1943, the Museum was still acquiring material for the collection, and the Advisory Committee made a special appropriation request to the Minister of Education. "In view of the advantage of retaining a collection intact, and the national asset which the Museum possesses, the Committee recommends the purchase of the remainder of the Stewart collection offered at approximately 2400 pounds ". This sum was approved, and between 1943 and1945, around 80 more models were purchased. Apart from the monetary limitations, the acquisition was spread over a period of years because some of Stewart's models needed to be finished before they could be sold. The high costs reflected the quality of the models. Many of the working steam engines are one-off examples hand crafted by amateur modellers over the course of years. The same is true of some of the ship and locomotive models, many of which were made to exact scale, and include working parts. The models were carefully collected by Stewart, who collected as much for posterity as he did for personal interest. Once contacted by the Museum, he deliberately sought out models which would fill historical and technological gaps, and, as a result, the collection is one of the most significant still extant in Australia.
Rob Mayrick, September 2009
Marshall, Percival, 'The Model Engineer ', London, April 29, 1937.
Marshall, Percival, ' The Model Engineer ', London ,May27, 1937.
Marshall, Percival, ' The Model Engineer ', London, January 27, 1938.
Marshall, Percival, ' The Model Engineer ' London, April 14, 1938.
Chalmers, A.,' The Model Engineer in Australia and New Zealand ', Melbourne, January, 1939.
Davison, G., Webber, K., ' Yesterday's Tomorrows ; the Powerhouse Museum and its precursors 1880-2005 ', Powerhouse Publishing, 2005.
Lavery, B., Stephens, S., ' Ships Models ; thie purpose and development from 1650 to the present ', Zwemmer, London,1995.
Bassett-Lowke Ltd., the makers of this model, started as a model engineering supply mail order company in Northampton England, founded by W. J. Bassett-Lowke and Harry Franklin in 1895/6, specialising in small fittings for model making. In 1904 the company 'Miniature Railways of Great Britain Ltd.' was formed, and in 1909, became Bassett-Lowke Ltd., with the 1904 company being wound up in 1912. In 1908 they opened their London shop in High Holborn, and began to produce working ship models and exhibition standard scale ship models, and contracted a small company to produce waterline ship models. In collaboration with a company known as 'BMC'. the company produced a model boat of every class in the British Navy from 1885 through 1916, including tugs, troopships, and the Royal Yacht. At the end of WW1, Bassett-Lowke reorganised, and this resulted in the loss of a facility for building model ship models. Harry Franklin established ' Ships Models Productions' in Northampton in 1921 as an independent company, but its entire output was sold through Bassett-Lowke Ltd. Ships Models Productions became a wholly owned subsidiary of Bassett-Lowke in 1938. During WW11, the ship model production focussed on waterline ship models. These ship models in 1:1200 scale wer issued for military contracts as recognition aids. Bassett-Lowke went out of business in 1965. Hornby acquired the name in 2008, and now manufacture Bassett-Lowke models.
The reference on the brass plate attached to the deck to "Edinburgh" and "Manchester" dates the model to the period 1927-1930.
HMS "Repulse" was a Renown class battlecruiser built by John Brown & Co., Clydebank, Scotland, launched 08/01/1916, and commissioned in 18/08/1916. 31592 tons, 242m long, 27.4 m beam, 9.0m draught. HMS "Repulse" was extensively modified , final armament during WW11 comprised --- guns 6 X15" ,9 X4", 8 X4", 24 X 2 pdr ( 40 mm pom-pom), 8 X20mm AA, and 8 X21 " torpedo tubes. Also carried 4 Supermarine Walrus aircraft launched by catapault launcher. "
In 10/12/1941, the "Repulse" along with HMS "Prince of Wales "and 4 destroyers, was attacked off the Malaysian coast by 86 Japanese aircraft fron 22nd Air Flotilla based in Saigon .The "Repulse" was hit by 4 or 5 torpedoes and sank with the loss of 327 crew.
The "Repulse" was the 11th Royal Navy ship to carry the name "Repulse". The 12th is a Resolution class nuclear powered submarine launched in 1967 and laid up in 1997.