Inside the Pollock Toy Museum, Part 4 – War Toys


For the last Toy Museum post here are some images of toys from the two World Wars, a mixture of comical and poignant.

And a couple of Cold War remnants – who can name all the USSR leaders? Note that the tiniest doll is…death!

Inside the Pollock Museum, Part 3 – miniature worlds


Isn’t this a fab lav?

The miniature worlds in the toy museum were enchanting. Ann and myself fell heavily for the tiny grocer’s shop. We cooed over it for about ten minutes.

Michael and Eddie were more interested in the details of a large doll’s house. Below you’ll find images of a silversmith’s shop – remember those are not plastic pieces – a school room, a Noah’s ark, and furniture made from wishbones!!

As always, click on any photo to scroll through larger images. And if you’d like to share/comment the buttons are below. Next blog – War Toys

Inside the Pollock Museum, Part 2, the Dolls….

Visit The Pollock Toy Museum hereDolls. Thousands of ’em. When we stepped from the room at the top of the Victorian house (where Sooty and Sweep are) through the hole in the wall that leads into the Georgian house, we met some seriously scary dolls.

But we’ll start with the lovely/lovable/loved. And there are lots of those, many dolls with really sweet expressions. My absolute favourite was the Japanese doll with the beautiful face, several gorgeous outfits and her own furniture. One of her dressers is real lacquer.

Some of the dolls of old were slightly strange. I remember being fascinated by upside-down dolls when I was a kid, but not wanting to own one. My child’s mind couldn’t fathom playing with a doll with two heads and no legs, because I would always know that there was another half-doll hidden under the skirts. Googling the origins of this particular biracial ‘Topsy-Turvy’ doll made for interesting reading (link). It suggests the earliest versions where home-made ragdolls for black slave children, allowing the child to quickly switch to the white doll in front of the slave-master, who ‘didn’t want the slave children to have dolls that looked like themselves, which would give them a sense of empowerment.’

The Billiken doll was some sort of good luck charm. And then there is the cabbage baby (a sort of jack-in-the-box doll), the vaguely weird squeaky dolls (they look as if they’ve just been told off), and the Fräulein with the come hither pose…click on any photo to see the entire image.

And then.

Then there are the downright frightening. These two share a cabinet. We couldn’t help thinking the smug-faced doll had smashed cracked-faced doll’s head against the glass and now she is forever smiling at the damage done.

Perhaps the wax dolls once had sweet faces but I still can’t help thinking there must have been some traumatized little girls on Christmas days of yore! And what’s going on with the doll in the box? Is she an Ophelia doll??

And this one. Ahhhhh. The eyes. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!


Next up, miniature worlds.

Visit The Pollock Toy Museum here

Inside The Pollock Toy Museum, Part 1

A 4000 yr old articulated toy mouse, recently authenticated.

So on our recent trip to London we finally got inside the Pollock Toy Museum. Eddie, being my cousin Sarah’s boyfriend, was kind enough to offer us a personal tour – an offer he lived to regret as we (Michael, our friend Ann, and myself) were so fascinated by everything it took us a full three and a half hours to travel through the museum. Eddie thinks that may be a record, broken only by a guy some years back who was loitering with criminal intent.

Eddie’s granny put the collection together and it’s housed inside two buildings, one Victorian, one Georgian. The two houses are crammed to the rafters with all sorts of toys from across the world, so many treasures that it will need four blogs to just give you a taste of it! First up a group of photos from across the collection. Click on an image if you’d like to scroll/get more details…have a guess at what those lovely shadow puppets might be made from before you do!

Of course we came across toys from our own childhoods. I had a mini meltdown at the case containing Sooty and Sweep. And Soo. For a moment I could see our old black and white telly and my toddler legs in white ankle socks and Jumping Jack shoes sticking out in front of me as I sat on one of the armchairs, watching. In the sixties themed glass case there was a game called Coppit – I remembered the box immediately, and my disappointment on opening it to find that the playing pieces were just cones, not hats with little people attached. And there was Dougal and the Magic Roundabout. I had to explain all the above to Michael and Ann as these were not part of their American childhoods.

The Gollywogs – I’m turning pink just typing that- took a bit more explaining. It seems so astonishing now that these toys were a ‘normal’ part of an Irish/UK sixties childhood, as was watching The Black and White Minstrel Show – white women singing and dancing with white men wearing blackface. Some of the many things we didn’t think twice about, just accepted as life as we knew it. Makes me wonder what we do now which will strike us as alien and unacceptable in twenty/thirty years time. Our childhood Gollys were knitted by our mam from patterns in the Woman’s Weekly. Here is Wikipedia’s info on Florence Kate Upton and the history of Golly Dolls.

On Friday, Dolls! The museum is packed with them, the too-beautiful-to-play-with, the much-loved, and the down-right weird.

Midnight at the Pollock Toy Museum



When we were in London at the beginning of April we met up with my cousin Sarah, her boyfriend Eddie and his trusty hound, Haggis. As the pubs in the city close alarmingly early of a Saturday night, at least the dog-friendly ones do, we ended up going back to Eddie’s for a last nightcap. A rather special place to end the evening as it happens, because Eddie runs the Pollock Toy Museum on Scala Street, off Tottenham Court Road.

The Pollock Museum has been in Eddie’s family for three generations and is famous for its toy theatres. I didn’t know about the museum but did remember visiting the Pollock Shop in Covent Garden back in the eighties – when I told Eddie that, he reckoned I’d probably met his dad!

It’s pretty eerie standing inside a shop full of old fashioned toys in the middle of the night. We even got to peek inside the museum itself – a wee peek, as Eddie said the lights were on timers and couldn’t be switched on. Can’t help suspecting that he actually didn’t want us disturbing the toys as the clock struck midnight.

We’ll have to go back and see the whole thing in daylight sometime soon. Apparently there’s a four thousand year old toy mouse…


Visit The Pollock Toy Museum here