Pollocks Toy Museum — ExteriorPollocks Toy Museum — Optical ToysPollocks Toy Museum — War BearPollocks Toy Museum — Early Action Man

Pollock's Toy Museum

The history begins in about 1856 in Hoxton, an area of London bordered by the wealth of the City and the poverty of the East End. This is where Benjamin Pollock was born. At this time the toy theatre trade was flourishing. But by the time Benjamin Pollock had married Eliza Redington and inherited her father's Theatrical Print Warehouse, the toy theatre trade had been overshadowed by new novelties such as ‘magic lanterns’ and ‘gramophones’.

However Mr Pollock, in his dark and dusty shop in Hoxton, carried on supplying theatrical sheets costing a ‘penny plain and twopence coloured’. His customers were local children aspiring to the stage or city gents nostalgic for their childhood as well as actors of the larger stage such as Charlie Chaplin. Robert Louis Stevenson was one of the writers of the time to be delighted by the shop and he immortalised him in an essay 'If you love art, folly or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock’s'.

Mr Pollock died in 1937 and the shop opposite the famous Britannia Theatre (later a cinema) in Hoxton Street was continued by his daughters but sadly bomb damaged in the second world war. A bookseller, Alan Keen along with the actor Ralph Richardson brought the business back to life with an impressive production line making miniature ‘Regency Theatres’ for his showroom in the Adelphi Building. His collaborations with artists such as Edwin Smith, actors (Laurence Olivier in a toy theatre version of the film of Hamlet) and performers of the art form like George Speaight made this post-war period a creatively fruitful time for the business. However the austerity of the time meant that it was short-lived, although the legacy remains in that those wooden theatres of the late 40s and early 50s started many a British actor, designer, director or producer on their real life stage careers.

The 1960s saw Pollock’s move to another location at 44 Monmouth Street. Marguerite Fawdry ended up buying the stock of copper printing plates when she attempted to purchase some wire character slides for her son’s toy theatre. Her interest in dolls and toys led her to buy the whole business and open a small museum above the shop. 60s London, pop artists, designers and musicians were attracted by the love of Victoriana and folk culture and Pollocks was revitalised. Her collection outgrew the shop and she moved the museum to Scala Street in Fitzrovia where it remains a small private museum.It is now run by the founders grandson, Eddy Fawdry.






Look out for...

  • Early action man type doll
  • Egyptian clay mouse
  • War bear


Did You Know?

  • Robert Louis Stevenson played with a toy theatre as a child and was especially keen on the pirate and nautical plays
  • Rome was probably the first civilisation to make toys on a wholly commercial basis
  • The “Teddy Bear” was invented in America, based on a picture of President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a small bear cub
  • Spinning Tops were played with in ancient Egypt


Museum Facilities

  • Cafe

  • Restaurant

  • Shop

  • Audio Guide

  • Tour Guide

  • Photography

  • Wheelchair Access

  • WiFi

  • Venue Hire


  • Available

  • Not allowed

  • Unconfirmed

  • Prior permission required.


All information is drawn from or provided by the museums themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.


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London Area: Central

Address

  • Pollock's Toy Museum
  • 1 Scala Street
  • London
  • W1T 2HL

Directions

  • TFL Zone

    Zone 1

  • Underground

    • Goodge Street
    • Tottenham Court Road

    Bus Numbers

  • 10, 14, 24, 29, 73, 134, 390

Admission

Adult £6.00
Child £3.00
Admission discounts
London Pass FREE entry
Open Hours
Monday 10:00am 17:00pm
Tuesday 10:00am 17:00pm
Wednesday 10:00am 17:00pm
Thursday 10:00am 17:00pm
Friday 10:00am 17:00pm
Saturday 10:00am 17:00pm
Sunday CLOSED CLOSED
Bank Holidays CLOSED CLOSED

Contact Details

Phone 020 7636 3452
Email
Website Pollock's Toy Museum
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