The 'G' and 'R' in the name 'G & R Wrenn Limited' represent the names of George and Richard Wrenn, brothers, who started the now famous Company in 1950. A third brother, Cedric, was to join the Company in the late 1950s. The 'family' business continued right through until 1992 with the exception of a few years in the late 1960s when G & R Wrenn lost its independent existence and became part of the Lines Brothers Group. In late November 1992 'G & R Wrenn Limited' ceased trading and the name and assets of the company were later bought by David Boyle of Dapol Model Railways.
The 'George' and 'Richard' Wrenn who signed the Deed of Partnership on 29.11.1950, commencing the original Partnership known as 'G. & R. Wrenn' - were George Raymond Wrenn, b. 11.12.1920 and Cyril Richard Wrenn, b. 5.3.1922, brothers. The Partnership was signed for an original period of 5 years. The brothers' main business was the manufacture of high quality track-work and points for 'OO' Gauge model railways and the business premises were at No. 123 Lee Road, Lee Green, Blackheath, London S.E.3. They produced track for both 2 and 3 rail operation in compatible format for use with Farish, Hornby, Tri-ang, Trix, and also a Universal pattern. In 1952 extra staff were taken on as the business expanded, and 'Ray' Wrenn (as his family always knew George Raymond) employed his first Secretary, a young girl called Audrey, whom he later married and in 1956 she became Mrs Audrey Doris Wrenn.
In March 1955, because of continued increase in business and expansion in necessary work-space, the business moved across London to Unit 9, Bowlers Croft which was located in Honeywood Road, Basildon. Continued expansion eventually brought in the additional Bowlers Croft Units so as to provide business space at Nos. 7, 9 and 11. Mrs Audrey Wrenn had left employment with the Wrenn business because of the move in 1955 and did not return to work with the Company until 1966, 3 years after the birth of their daughter, Vanessa. Audrey eventually became Company Secretary and she remained a Director of the Company until its final sale in 1993.
The next major event for the business was in October 1957 when the 'Partnership' was transferred into a Limited Company, G. & R. Wrenn Limited. The original share issue of 10,000 GBP 1 shares, dated 8th January 1958, was divided equally between George and Richard who were both shown as 'Engineers' in the Company Articles of Association, George having served his Apprenticeship with Vickers-Armstrong Ltd.. George and Richard were 'Joint' Chairmen of the Company and Richard was also Company Secretary.
In August 1957, just prior to the founding of the Limited Company, Richard Wrenn wrote formally to his brother Cedric, encouraging him to join the Company 'as soon as is humanly possible'. The letter recognised that Cedric would need to 'wind up' his business interests in Antiques and then continued that the possibility of him starting before September would be very nice, even if he must return to wind matters up finally. The letter does seem to be written in a very formal manner, even for the time of the late 1950s. A hand-written note across the 'copy' of the letter found in the Company files suggests a possible reason – 'Letter sent to Cedric for the purpose of assisting in the sale of his business possibly as a going concern'. Shortly afterwards John Cedric Wrenn joined his brothers in their venture, eventually becoming Sales Director of the Company, a position which he held until his retirement in March 1982.
1960 saw the introduction by G. & R. Wrenn Ltd. of the '152' Series Racing Car system, smaller in scale but very much the major competitor to the 'Scalextric' system owned and at that time being developed by the Lines Bros. Group. The early inventors of 'Scalextric', Minimodels Limited, was bought by the Tri-ang Group in November 1958 who then set about a wide range of improvements and additions. Advertising literature of the day announced 'in 1963 four new cars were launched, complete with Tri-ang's RX motor and accurately moulded plastic bodies. The variable speed hand throttle replaced the original 'dapper' type controller and the construction of new track sections and buildings enabled authentic reproductions of actual race tracks to be launched.'
What's your 'Wrenn' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):