Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Happy New Year! 

Happy New Year! And it looks like this year is definitely for the monkeys. At the end of December we reached over 30% of our goal, with more pledges yet to come this month. Not bad for such a lofty goal and a short period of time. We have new members across the country, including two new Shiny Fire Truck members! Thanks to all of you who helped us out and will enable us to continue to grow.

Seems that we are not the only toy museum in need of financial support. A venerable institution in London, the Pollock’s Toy Museum is in jeopardy of losing the space it has occupied since the early 70’s.

Named after Benjamin Pollock, printer of toy theaters in the late 1800’s, the toy museum evolved with the vision of Marguerite Fawdry. It was she who rescued a moldering inventory of old theaters and printing plates in 1955. After reviving the toy theater business (and making some cost-effective alterations to the business when the craftsmen who built the theater parts disappeared), she diversified her product line and managed to grow the business into the recession.

At one point, with the help of toy collector friends (one being John Noble former Curator of Toys at the Museum of the City of New York), Marguerite established the toy museum upstairs from her shop. This is just a thumbnail history – you can read a more extensive one on their web site

I have visited Pollock’s every time I’ve gone to London. It has been a challenge finding it sometimes – in the 1980’s there was a Pollock’s in Covent Garden, but the next time I went to visit, it was gone. But the 1 Scala Street location was still in operation when I visited three years ago. Even my teenaged daughter was transported by the museum.

The toys who reside in the museum are not ‘collectible – MIB (mint in box)’, although I’d guess that many of them are valuable. But these are retired toys who have seen service in love from the children who played with them. They are not arranged in stiff rows or displays, but are grouped together as they would be at a child’s interrupted play. Many of the displays are haphazard and probably haven’t been rearranged in many years, but that is part of the charm of the place. It is constant and unchanging, the way we would wish our memories to be.

We hope that Pollock's will continue to thrive so that we can collaborate with them on exhibitions in the future.

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