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Adrian Swain 1943 Ė 2020

Many of us knew Adrian Swain as the proprietor of ABS Models.

He was born in Blackheath, London, the family moving to Dorset in 1952 where later he was a pupil at Poole Grammar school. On leaving school he gained a place at Imperial College, London to study Aeronautical Engineering. On leaving university he spent seven years in the aerospace industry with Vickers at Weybridge. During this time, he created from the bedroom in his lodgings some of his earliest kits, a tram probably the first. 

Adrian started ABS Models in 1972 operating out of the house built by his parents in Napier Road, Poole. He was a former member of the Guildford Club, a founding member of the Central Southern Gauge O Group, a long-standing member of the Poole & District Model Railway Club and a number of other societies.

Adrian had an ability to turn out high-quality white metal castings from vulcanised rubber moulds. He also did contract casting for other companies and individuals. In addition to model railways in O, OO and N gauges, ABS Models also encompassed the Streetscene series of model buses, lorries and cars. Trams were a great area of interest to him and he produced a number of kits in this field.

His workshop was always an interesting place to look around. Not only did he make the models mentioned above, but also accessories for dolls' houses in 1/12 scale.

Adrian was a very interested and knowledgeable railway, bus and tram enthusiast. He could talk for hours about these subjects both real and model, usually able to answer even the most obscure of questions thrown at him.

Although he was a business man he was in fact very generous to a number of societies and friends. An example of this was when in 1979 the newly formed C.S.G.O.G. decided to build their first test track. Adrianís help was both physical and financial in funding a large portion of the materials used in its construction.

Napier Road was also home to Adrianís mother Grace who packed many of the ABS kits along with their traditional newspaper and magazine stuffing. Towards the end of her life Adrian acted as her full-time carer.

He continued to attend the C.S.G.O.G. meetings until earlier this year, sitting by the test track, dispensing words of wisdom and the occasional criticism of wagons on passing trains. Despite becoming very poorly he remained mentally active and able to hold telephone conversations with his wide circle of friends. Adrian finally passed away peacefully at Fairmile Nursing Home, Christchurch, on 29th May 2020. Due to the Corona virus restrictions only ten people were able to attend his funeral on June 11th.

I am indebted to a number of Adrianís close friends and family for their contributions in compiling this tribute. Adrian will be remembered as a kind person, talented and dedicated modeller, who always found time to help others. Condolences go to Ginny, his sister, and the rest of the family.

Nigel Stevens