WATCH: The Story of Scalextric

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A film celebrating the production of Scalextric in Havant has been premiered in the town.

Employees who once crafted thousands of cars and mile upon mile of track to satisfy worldwide demand for the popular toy gathered at The Spring arts centre to celebrate the tribute to their work.

Picture: James White

Picture: James White

The Story of Scalextric - funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and made by Millstream Productions of Emsworth - features memories of former workers interlaced with archive images.

More than 100 people watched the film screened at The Spring before swapping memories of work at Scalextric, which started in Havant in the 1950s and was produced there for more than 20 years.

Spring trustee Steve Murray said: ‘The project started as a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Scalextric going on sale

‘We worked with children at Trosnant Junior School in Leigh Park, who helped us make a three-minute film interviewing people who had worked for the firm. That was part of an exhibition at The Spring from September to Christmas last year,

Workers at the Scalextric factory

Workers at the Scalextric factory

‘From that has grown the full film, around 30 minutes long, for which we received a £60,000 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It tells the story of people who worked for the firm during its time in the area. Fred Francis started it in a factory at New Lane but he sold the company and production was moved to Fulford Road in Leigh Park.

‘The toy really took off and workers remember when they were churning our set after set as fast as they could.

‘Scalextric stayed there until around 1970 when work moved first to Margate and then to China.

‘I had a set as a boy and I think that its appeal is that it is such a social game - children love to compete in leagues and the like. And of course its appeal is not just with children, but with adults as well. Some of the people we interviewed said they believed that the original marketing was very much towards men.’

A book has been produced to accompany the film. Complimentary copies were given to former employees at the premiere and the book will also be on sale at The Spring.

Memories were shared at the screening of The Story of Scalextric. Picture: James White

Memories were shared at the screening of The Story of Scalextric. Picture: James White