Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pollock's Toy Museum & Eddy Fawdry


Awhile back a profile was done of the museum, by none other than Professor Ronald Hutton, which is lovely indeed for those of us halfway around the world who may never get to visit there in person. It is, in a limited sense, a virtual tour. Enjoy this clip from the program that featured the Pollock's Toy Museum...



Reviews:

Eddy Fawdry (and his wee dog Haggis) preside over this strange secret world of vintage toys, which he inherited from his grandparents and they from the Hoxton-based Pollock family, which made famous toy theaters. In room after creaky room, history stares back at you with doll’s eyes: puppets, Gollywogs, the 1921 forerunner to G.I. Joe (Swiss Action Man), doll’s houses, mechanical cast-iron banks, 1950s rocket toys, a board game based on the Falkland Islands invasion that was banned for being in poor taste. Stories are everywhere and the kitsch factor is through the roof, which brings us to the quirky, spirited building, which has been left leaning and unrestored since its erection in the 1780s (but received a new roof after the Luftwaffe blew off the original one). The ground-floor shop stocks unusual, hard-to-find toys that don’t cost much, including handmade items and cardboard theaters—the original inspiration for this one-of-a-kind time warp.

- Jason Cochran (Frommer's)


Eddy & Haggis, by the corner door of Pollock's Toy Museum
This is a real London treasure. It’s a toy museum and shop (a brill toy shop, too) housed in two adjoining houses in Fitzrovia, one 18th Century, the other 19th. It’s not that we’re dotty about toys per se, but Pollock’s is irresistible. You go up windy staircases and in and out of small interconnecting rooms and everywhere you look there are fantastically charming tableaux showing treasures, toy theatres, and every kind of teddy, toy, tin soldier and doll – some very old, some from far flung spots, all of them clearly treasured in their day. The way they are displayed and the accompanying information is really imaginative and touching. The whole place is so atmospheric and transporting that it makes you feel quite odd and dreamy (like you’ve entered many childhoods), but in a good way. This is a great place to take kids (of any age, but as it is for looking rather than playing, not so great for toddlers) on a rainy day, and you don’t need to book. Just show up, pay the entrance fee, and go through the small door on the right…

- A Little Bird:  An Insider's Guide to London

In the Victorian era, Benjamin Pollock kept the toy theatre business going, after the death of his father in law John Redington. In 1937 Benjamin Pollock died and although his daughters inherited the business, they had no real knowledge of printing and so the business started to fail.

In 1954, Marguerite Fawdry a 42 year old mother of one had recently given up her job for the BBC. Marguerite who along with her husband Kenneth had a keen interest in popular arts and entertainment. While making a toy theatre for her son John, Marguerite was looking for some wire slides used to push the tiny figures around on stage. She was a bit put out when she discovered that Benjamin Pollock's LTD was no longer in business.

Marguerite managed to track down an accountant, and asked if there was still anyway she could purchase some. The accountant replied that he believed there was still thousands stored in the old warehouse, however there was no one who could look them out for her, but of course she could always buy the lot if she so wished.

Marguerite went ahead and bought all the stock, but was quite surprised when she received enough stock to open up a shop, including hundreds of Victorian theatres and scene sheets. Marguerite opened up the 'Pollock's Toy Museum' which quickly became popular and is still in business today.

- Victoria 1800