Skills Toy Shop


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Heres a couple of pics of on of the places I hung around in the 60s :)

Not that I could afford much they had, bought a few Airfix kits.

Also used to catch the bus to Mablethorpe from here.

skillstoyshop2.jpg

skillstoyshop.jpg

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Must've been past there a few times on the bus on the way to my grandmas, but I don't remember ever noticing it.

Didn't Skills also have a toyshop in West End Arcade, and maybe even the old Central Market?

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Yes Cliff they did, this place was also their "Coaching" depot before they moved to St Peters Street .

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We went on a few , there was always a sweep stake to guess where it was going to go , somehow the driver always won it !!

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  • 2 years later...

Oh! the great memories of Skills Mystery Tours! We never went on holiday so these evening trips were wonderful get-a-ways for us. We got dressed in our bestest clothes, got the tickets and waited outside the shop for the bus (a single decker coach). It was always a trip around the outskirts - countryside- of Nottingham and a stop off at a pub with a garden. A few pints for the folks, lemonade and Smiths crisps for the kids and back on the bus...singing all the way home ending with 'For he's a jolly good fellah" and a whip round for the driver!

Skills have been in Nottingham for years....some of the family went to Douglas School and Radford Boulevard I believe. The company had a fire some years ago which gutted most if not all of the buses...they had a Phoenix Moment and picked themselves up anew. I think the Mystery Tours ended when people started to go on holidays...no call for those wonderful evening trips anymore with kids vying for the back seat and asking 'Are we there yet mam?'

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I remember that top location, wasn't it Peverill something, not Street, Yard maybe?

I believe they had a regular service to Scarborough which was the one seaside place not served by the big boys, Trent or Bartons.

I think Skills moved around various premises in the city over the years, I'd completely forgotten they sold toys though!

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  • 1 year later...

They also had a toy shop in the entrance to the West End Arcade ( Chapel Bar end )

I had a very bad experience at Skills toyshop. 1946, mam and me lived on Peveril St., dad was still posted in India. It was my 8th birthday and mam sent me off to Skills to buy myself a Dinkey Toy, max price 2/- . Mam only had a pound note (the weeks keepings) and entrusted me to bring back the 18/- change. I looked in Skillies window and marvelled at the 'balancing man', a man with long arms with weights on the end. He stood on a pedestal and could not be rocked off. It was priced at 14 shillings and eleven pence. I bought it and took my mam the 5 shillings and a penny change back . She nearly fainted. She was absolutely distrought. She cried. She took me back to Skillies with the balancing man and tried to return it, explaining that the pound was the weeks houskeeping. The man said NO!. Me mam pleaded but to no avail. She cried again and then had to borrow money to keep us in food for the week. The balancing man became a close friend of my childhood mind and we both hated the Skillies man.

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Followed a Skills coach today going into Gerardmer (France) this afternoon, I was happy to see they are still going, but not so happy when it stopped in the middle of the road, blocking the traffic for a good 10 mins , while it dropped, of a coach load of OAP's

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  • 1 month later...

Skills toyshop was where I bought a Triang-Hornby Breakdown Crane... still in the Hornby Catalogue until recently. I also visited Millholme Models in Woodborough (never bought anything - too expensive!) and Beatties on Mount Street.

Skills Coaches still regularly bringing coachloads of Nottingham OAPs to Mallaig & Skye, I'm even getting to recognise my own accent when I hear it now!

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I've not seen this thread before. I remember the shop/booking office on Alfreton Rd very well, weren't the coaches parked round the back in a corrugated shed. When my brother was into his bus spotting in the late 1950's, the Ian Allan bus book for the East Midlands area didn't include Skills coaches. Sometimes on our usual Saturday morning trips into town we'd get off the Blue Bus half way up Ilkeston Road, cut across past Radford Baths and go into the Skills booking office. There, my brother would ask for the latest fleet list which they would produce from under the counter, a roughly typed and stapled together few sheets printed on one of those old fashioned copy machines, you remember the type where you had to turn a handle which stank of chemicals. This would last us for a while until we noticed a new coach, then we'd have to go back for another one, all given out for nothing, I bet I've got one lurking somewhere.

The toy shop in the West End Arcade was a magnet for me, it just happened to be at the end of Mount Street where we used to get off the Blue Bus, it was first on our lists of visits on arriving into town, especially if mother or father wanted to cut up the Arcade to go to the Co-op. One thing they had was a massive range of was toy guns, not PC now, but every kid had them then. My favourite that you could only buy from there was a spring loaded steel popgun rifle. You had to break it like a proper air rifle to charge it up and you stuck a small cork in the end, they were pretty powerful. A friend of mine had a double barreled version, it looked like a shotgun and you could fire off each cork separately or together, I always wanted one of these for Xmas, but they seemed to disappear off the shelves, probably lethal, the single shot type vanished eventually too. I've still got a very realistic looking cap firing Luger lurking in the loft somewhere that I must have obtained well over 50 years ago, made by Lone Star that produced a whole range of realistic looking cap pistols for the discerning cowboy to be. I remember being invited to a Cowboy and Indian themed fancy dress party back in the seventies just before I moved down to Essex, wanting to be different I went as a 7th Cavalry officer, where to get the stuff, no problem, Skills in the Arcade, cavalry cap with crossed swords badge, sword, spurs, even a realistic looking cap firing Army Colt 45 revolver, on arriving at the party and looking at all the others it was clear that Skills must have done a roaring trade that Saturday, I reckon it was probably the last time I ever went in there.

Our family also used to go on coach Mystery Tours which I seem to remember tended to be late summer Sunday afternoons and the weather was always fine. I recall a company we used to use quite a bit was called Roy's Coaches, have I got that right, I remember that the coaches were brown and cream and usually older than those run by Skills. One trip I specifically remember took us around the Vale of Belvoir and the bus overheated crawling up a hill, fortunately it was outside a pub which we all adjourned to until it cooled down. Another time we went to Matlock Bath, on the way back the coach broke down completely, again outside a pub this side of Ripley, I've just looked on Google Maps and it's now called the Moss Cottage Hotel, we all got out and pushed the thing into the car park and waited for a replacement to come out of Nottingham, you can imagine, that took a while, the pub did a roaring trade, I think everyone was pretty cheerful by the time a spare coach arrived.

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Pete, re #18, I had forgotten about Skills speciality with toy guns and remember the envious window gazing that I used to engage in, but never able to buy.

Your recollection of Roys Coaches lack of reliability seems to be par for the course with them and has been remarked upon before in various other threads.

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Sorry, off subject a bit, I was trying to find an old Skills fleet list and came across this, dating from 1960, I thought the Skills list might be inside but it isn't, I just thought you'd like to see it though, some NCT, Barton, MGO, WBUDC etc gems listed in there.

IMG_20141008_130325.jpg

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