Pollocks Toy Museum
Pollocks Toy Museum
A fascinating nostalgic journey into the world of a Victorian child, Pollocks Toy Museum is a combination museum and shop, showcasing historic Victorian toy theatres, plus a wealth of folk toys from around the worlds.

History

Toy theatres were a favourite children's pastime in the 19th century. These printed paper theatres, or stages, were made with a wooden frame supporting printed theatre stage, curtains, and scenery. In the days long before television, children used these theatrical toys to put on their own stage shows using puppets or simple cutout figures. Theatre sets often came with elaborate scenery backdrops, figures, and props.

Benjamin Pollock was a famous maker of toy theatres in London during the late Victorian period, with a shop in Covent Garden which opened in the 1880s.

The museum began as a small collection of theatre sets in a small attic room at 44 Monmouth Street, close to Covent Garden. The founder was Marguerite Fawdry, who fell in in love with the old children's toy theatres, and began to collect sets.

The collection grew over time and took over the house, while the ground floor served as a toy shop. By 1969 the museum collection had grown so large than expanded premises were necessary, and the Toy Museum moved to 1 Scala Street, a pair of historic townhouses, one built in the 18th century, the other Victorian.

The Toy Museum features a huge range of toy theatres, puppets, and stages, bringing to life a lost world of Victorian nostalgia. Though the toy theatres form the core of the museum collection, there are also a wide variety of toys from around the world, including teddy bears, toy trains, doll houses, and toy vehicles of all descriptions. See a 4000 year old clay mouse made in ancient Egypt, and a restored Victorian nursery. During school holidays you can watch live toy theatre performances, bringing to life the world of a Victorian child. There is an entry charge to the museum.

There is still a Benjamin Pollocks Toy Shop in Covent Garden, selling toys at the same location as the original Pollocks shop. They still sell toy theatres, but also sell other creative, theatrical, and educational toys.