Post-War 'New Series' Manuals

Over the years I’ve regularly been asked why I don’t write a book on BAYKO.  At the March, 2017 B.C.C. meeting, Chris Boutal reminded me, when he showed me his [then] recent acquisition, a BAYKO set 1 – not something any of us would expect to get really excited about – but this time…
Chris Boutal's post-war 'new series' set - closed
Chris Boutal's post-war 'new series' set - open
The simple blue box, [right] screamed post-war austerity, the BAYKO parts [left] were undoubtedly post-war plastic – so why did it have pre-war, ‘New Series’ labels on the top, and the side?  Why did it have a ‘New Series’ manual with it?  Not having written the book, I’m still free to explore the answer to these questions, comparatively embarrassment free, with this being no less than the fifth amendment to my originally conceived series of four ‘Manual Labour’ articles!
The answer was surely obvious, a few people [sadly with me as a sceptic!] had speculated about post-war ‘New Series’ sets, but that had just been talk – here was reality – in black and white – well at least the manual was!
Inside front cover of the first post-war 'new series' BAYKO manual
Actually, the manual’s front cover is in red and green ink, on white paper, just like before the war.  There had been four pre-war versions of the ‘New Series’ manual - or so I thought!  I was correct in identifying the final version as being exactly that, it just wasn't pre-war!  Why do I say that?  Well, Chris’s newly discovered manual is, I believe, incontrovertibly post-war, but, prompted by Chris, and based on an analysis of the evolution of the different page changes, it logically precedes the other, and sits at number four in the [now] five version sequence.
The first clue to the sequence comes inside the front cover. [left] This set contents page is unchanged from version three, except that the legend, “Any BAYKO set can be supplied to order with oak colour bricks, white doors and windows at the same prices”, has been [almost] obliterated with a deliberate black overprint.  So clearly it was different, and later than version three.
The next clue was pages 1 and 2, which appeared as a separate sheet in Chris’ version, but it looks like it had been glued into position at the printers.  The adhesive, of which there seems to be a dry residue, having subsequently failed.  This shows the range of available BAYKO sets, still planned as sets 1 to 6, though with no prices specified; plus the spare parts prices – with ‘oak’ and related parts again excluded.  These, together, are from the final pre-war version – version three - however, two small changes have been made.  Firstly, [right] a trivial one, the top line of the sets list has been slightly offset to the left.  More significantly, and somewhat surprisingly, the near ubiquitous legend “Any length of rod can be supplied to order” has been removed from the bottom.  I can only assume that this was to husband scarce post-war resources in favour of the more profitable marketing of complete sets.  The set list alignment was corrected, and the rod availability script reinstated in the final version, adding to the sequencing evidence.
First post-war 'new  series' manual - page 2
The final clue almost isn’t one!  On page 18, the well known “Wnidows” typo, is still there!  This was subsequently corrected in the final version, a further strong pointer to Chris’ version being the penultimate one.
To revert to the front cover for a moment.  Chris’ version has the price ‘Sixpence’ [6d = 2½p] on view, the same as the three pre-war versions, whereas the final version shows a fifty percent price hike to ‘Ninepence’ [9d = 3¾p], a further strong indicator of their chronology.
In summary, I’m certain that Chris’ ‘New Series’ manual is clearly post-war, and was based on the printer’s plates for pre-war version three, with all the amendments being totally consistent with its post-war production in 1945.
All this confirms to me that the near-mythical tales of post-war ‘New Series’ sets were, in fact, not just true – with Chris’ manual and its anomalies as living proof – but actually went on, somewhat extravagantly to include the publishing of a further, slightly modified, post-war version of the ‘New Series’ manual!
Nice one Chris, now all I’ve got to do is edit about a dozen website pages!
Shortly after this article was published, there was a brief update article as more information was unearthed…
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Latest update - August 10, 2022
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