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History of Morestone/Budgie

In the 1940's, Morris & Stone was a toy Wholesaler selling the products of many small toy manufacturers. They were based in Stoke Newington, Hackney, North East London.
One of these diecasters was Modern Products Ltd.

The earliest Morris & Stone distributed model that I know is the 1946 "Racing Car" which may or may not have been made by Modern Products.

At some point in this period, Morris & Stone started to brand some of the range as "Morestone" and these models were made exclusively for Morris & Stone by Modern Products and others.
The earliest Morestone branded model that I know is the 1948 "Fire Engine".

The company name was changed from Morris & Stone to Morestone around this time.
During this period, then, Morestone were distributors, not manufacturers.

Morestone joined up with one of the founders of Lesney Products, Rodney Smith, and formed their own diecasting company. This is when they became manufacturers as well as distributors.
This is where it gets a bit more confusing, as from 1954 to 1966, Morestone sold products made both either by themselves or by Modern Products.
As far as I understand it, some of the dies were the same at each factory and some were unique to each one.

The Morestone range expanded with the "Noddy & Big Ears" series and the "Esso Petrol Pump" series. These latter were made in direct competition with Lesney Moko. In 1958 came the "Trucks of the World" series (only 3 models!!).

Morestone introduced the "Budgie" range and reissued some of their models as Budgies. There were also new models issued each year under the Budgie brand.

In 1961 Morestone were taken over by S. Guiterman & Co. Ltd, who changed the name of their new subsidiary to "Budgie Models Ltd." Morestone were no more.
Many new Budgie models were produced in this period, which included reissues of the old Morestone products.

Budgie couldn't compete with Dinky, Corgi and Matchbox (hiss! boo!) and both Budgie Models Ltd and S. Guiterman went into liquidation.
Modern products managed to set up their own new company called "Budgie Models (Continuation) Ltd" and purchased the Budgie trade mark from the receiver.
They also wanted to buy the Budgie dies, but the Stoke Newington factory was burnt down in a fire (!) during the negotiations.
The only dies to survive were the ones in the Modern Products factory.

The main range of (larger) Budgie models were lost in the fire, so the new company only produced the old Morestone/Budgie miniatures after 1966.

Now it was Hot Wheels that hit Budgie's profits and the company changed direction to produce models for H Seener Ltd who distributed toys and souvenirs to London tourist shops. These were mainly taxis, buses and the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.

The company was sold to Starcourt Ltd (also known as Merracroft). Starcourt reintroduced several of the old models from the original moulds, e.g. the Aveling Barford Roller. They fell out with Seener who took their dies for the Taxi and Rolls Royce away from Starcourt and arranged for Corgi to make the models in Swansea, plus a new Routemaster Bus. (Corgi branded these "Seerol").
Later this work was taken over by the Oxford Die-Cast Company.

Starcourt ceased toy production in 1985 and that's the end of the official story.

Some of the diecasting moulds were sold to Autocraft in 1988. It was rumoured that these would be used and the old models reintroduced or varied but I believe that only 1 has so far - no. 258 Daimler Ambulance in kit form.

These dies were acquired by Promod who started to offer limited runs from them.
Promod are currenly producing new runs of 4 or 5 old Budgie models, including the Wolseley Police car, VW Pickup, Daimler Ambulance and the Fire Escape.