Pollock's Toy Museum – London, England - Atlas Obscura

In a dimly lit Victorian building with rickety staircases, the china dolls and tin soldiers sit patiently on dusty shelves awaiting their visitors. The toy theatres of the 1800’s, an all but forgotten craft that required intricate printing plates and lovingly constructed characters are displayed as if they never fell out of favor.

The Pollock’s Toy Museum is named after Benjamin Pollock, one of the last printers in the toy theatre trade. A hugely popular pastime of the 1800’s, people enjoyed assembling the craft kits that would unfold into their favorite stage plays, and allow them to reenact those performances at home with their families. In the 19th century, stage theatre began to shift into formats that didn’t lend themselves easily to the toy theatre, and they fell out of favor.

Dedicated to preserving and appreciating the lost art of toy theatre, as well as all other types of antique playthings, the 100 year old toy shop turned museum is now housed in two adjacent buildings that serve as a retail shop as well. The displays, while appropriate for all ages, are not for those easily disturbed by leering string puppets or glass-eyed baby dolls.

Update: Pollock’s Toy Museum closed in January 2023, after the owners were unable to negotiate a new contract on the building.

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