Museum of Childhood
The national collection of toys and games, children's
costume, nursery furniture and baby equipment, Dolls and doll houses, toys and
costumes of childhood. A special "World in the East End" exhibit tells
the unique story of growing up in the East of of London through toys and stories.
Hands-on exhibits include rocking horses, windup trains, and gravity powered cars,
among other delights.
Not every toy is old fashioned! A series of computer
kiosks allow visitors to see the toys on display actually moving and you can design
a virtual toy to play in a "Toy Wars" game.
The Museum started
in the 1860s, when a prefabricated iron structure originally intended for South
Kensington was moved to Bethnal Green. The building was faced with red brick and
decorated with murals depicting the arts. The distinctive interior tiles were
laid by women inmates of the Woking prison. At first the museum housed collections
from the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the huge art collection of Sir Richard
Wallace (now The Wallace Collection).
It was only in the 1920s that the
museum began to build a collection focused on childhood in Britain, and childhood
objects were collected, or transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum. In
1974 the focus on childhood became the official raison d'etre of the Bethnal Green
museum. In 2007, after a brief closure, the museum re-opened as the V&A Museum
The museum features a program of special exhibits, including
toys from other countries and cultures, and toys made especially by children for
Cambridge Heath Road
Tel: 020 8983 5200