Thursday, 17 February 2011
I've brought Blackbird into London, exchanging tall trees for high buildings. It's exciting exploring! One of my first outings was to the Museum of Childhood (pic from their website) where I particularly wanted to look out for puppets and early mechanical toys, being slightly dotty about carved painted wood. I also love simple tin forms, cardboard figures etc - things that aren't plastic I guess.
It reminds me that there is a lovely museum of childhood to be found in Edinburgh too - smaller and in a higgledy-piggledy warren of rooms over 2 or 3 floors. This museum is in a big open building and the noise can be deafening!
Here are some things that caught my eye..
The most basic design for a moving toy, I love its simplicity.
Isn't this great. You press down on the tail and the little bellows make it chirp. There's also plenty of nostalgia here - spot the Snoopy toy behind?
These puppets are called Pebble puppets as they have a pebble inside for weight, perhaps it's so the limbs can move freely from the weighted main body.
These little 'spirit boats' or putt-putt boats sent me scurrying to find out how they're made. I'd seen some at a fair once and always thought I'd love to try to make one. Here's an interesting site showing different options.
The candles are lit, the heat turns the windmill at the top, which in turn, rotates the tiers below.
Not a great photo, sorry, but this toy has a figure that dances on the end of a wire. It's a sand-driven device, whereby you turn the box upside down, sand goes to fill the 'shute' at the top and as can be seen in the photo below, it turns a wheel, that flicks the wire. Ingenious and no batteries needed ;-)
There's also a wonderful display of doll's houses I never had (oh the world of the miniature!). There are the toys and games my brothers and I played together, like the 'Merit' chemistry set that filled us with excited awe and which I'm now amazed we were let loose with. And there are the toys that my own children played with when small, which bring floods of happy memories as well as memories of hoovering up vital pieces of lego, puzzle and dolly's shoe. Oh well!
Probably a combination of seeing all the toys, chatting about childrens' books with the Herbies, some cider and a discussion about Flash Gordon & Ming the Merciless, but last night I dreamed of flying in a silver tin spaceship with red stars.
Posted by C at 15:15