Pollock’s Toy Museum

Named after Benjamin Pollock, a famous printer of toy theatres at the turn of the century, Pollock’s Toy Museum opened in 1956 and is dedicated to the traditional English toy theatre.

The London Pass Pollock’s Toy Museum is a charming little museum, devoted to toy theatres and playthings from around the world. Normally £6.00 - Included with London Pass

Pollock’s Toy Museum is set in two cute Georgian townhouses, and collects together over 2,000 vintage, quirky and nostalgic playthings from all across the world. With a particularly extensive collection of charming Victorian toy theatres, the wonderfully rickety museum approaches toys as artistic, designed and socially important objects to be cherished and enjoyed well beyond one’s childhood.

Enjoy access to Pollock’s Toy Museum with The London Pass®

- Pay nothing at the door - simply show your pass.
- See over 2,000 exhibits, including a wonderful array of toy theatres and toys from around the world.
- Learn the history of this charming little museum, which can trace its roots right back to 1850s Hoxton.
- Tempt yourself with the onsite toy store, packed with souvenir and gift ideas.



Skip to

- Pollock’s Toy Museum history

- Pollock’s Toy Museum highlights

- Pollock’s Toy Museum facts

- Don’t miss

- Know before you go

- Getting in

- Make the most of your London Pass

- How to get there



Pollock’s Toy Museum history

Pollock’s Toy Museum can trace its history back to the 1950s. It started out as a theatrical print shop in Hoxton, then one of London’s poorer quarters. Benjamin Pollock married into the business, which he ran with his wife Eliza, daughter of the shop’s founder John Redington.

The couple came to specialise in toy theatre sets. These toys often sold at concession stands in theatres and opera houses, consisted of paper stages, props and characters. Kids could recreate the performances they’d seen, putting on shows for their families. Benjamin Pollock would make these toy theatres himself, creating new sets for contemporary plays and changing the actors’ names for each new production. He’d sell these miniaturised playhouses for “a penny plain, twopence coloured.”

Pollock’s daughters sold the shop to bookseller Alan Keen in 1944, who moved the business to the Adelphi Building off Strand. Soon after, the original shop was damaged during The Blitz. A plaque marks the shop’s original Hoxton Street location.

The business eventually moved to 16 Little Russell Street. It hit financial difficulties and went into receivership. One day in 1955, BBC journalist Marguerite Fawdry came into the Little Russell Street store looking for some wire character sliders for her child’s theatre. Instead, she bought the shop and all its stock.

Fawdry moved Pollock’s to Monmouth Street and, in 1956, opened Pollock’s Toy Museum above her shop. It housed her growing collection of toys from around the world until she ran out of room and had to relocate. In 1969, Pollock’s Toy Museum opened in Scala Street, Fitzrovia where it still stands today. In the 1980s, Fawdry opened a second site in Covent Garden, one of the first shops to open in the newly revamped Covent Garden Piazza. She sold the Covent Garden store in 1988. Pollock’s Toy Museum and Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop (as the Covent Garden shop is now known) are now entirely separate, sharing nothing but a long and storied history.

Pollock’s Toy Museum is today run by Marguerite Fawdry’s family, who grow the collection through purchases and gifts from friends, family and the public.

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Pollock’s Toy Museum highlights

  • Say hello to Eric. Born in 1905, he’s the world’s oldest living teddy bear. Well done, Eric.

  • The look of the place, the charming and welcoming atmosphere of this little hideaway, a window to the past in Fitzrovia.

  • The stunning collection of toy theatres deserves to be admired from up close. The detail on them is transfixing.

  • Learning about toy theatres will almost definitely have you wanting to purchase one for yourself. Be sure to have a browse in the onsite toy shop for your perfect set.

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Pollock’s Toy Museum facts

  • Charlie Chaplin was a customer of the original Hoxton Street toyshop from which Pollock’s Toy Museum grew.

  • The original Pollock’s Toy Shop started to fail in the 1880s, as children’s tastes moved away from toy theatres. However, the business was revitalised for a time after a visit from Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson. The much-admired (and, clearly, listened to) travel writer and children’s author wrote of the shop: “If you love art, folly or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock’s.”

  • Marguerite Fawdry sold the Covent Garden iteration of Pollock’s to Christopher Baldwin and his brother Peter Baldwin, fondly remembered for playing Derek Wilton in the long-running British soap opera, Coronation Street. Peter Baldwin was a toy theatre enthusiast and collector.

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Don't miss

Toys From Around the World

As well as showing visitors what British children were playing with throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the museum has a growing collection of toys from across the world. Don’t miss the 4,000-year-old mouse from Ancient Egypt, made using clay from the banks of the River Nile.

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Know before you go

Pollock’s Toy Museum is closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

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Getting in

Present your London Pass® inside the shop.

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Make the most of your London Pass®

  • Save on entry costs to this unique, quaint and quirky museum, and feel like a kid again. To help you work your way around the many, many exhibits at Pollock’s Toy Museum, make sure to pick up your free guide at the entrance.

  • After your visit to Pollock’s Toy Museum, consider paying a visit to the Cartoon Museum, located just a five-minute walk away. The Cartoon Museum boasts a collection of over 6,000 original pieces, created by many of the masters of British cartoon and comic art. Like Pollock’s Toy Museum, it’s charmingly British and disarmingly nostalgic. And as with Pollock’s Toy Museum, entry to the Cartoon Museum is included with The London Pass®.

  • Pollock’s London toy museum is just one of the many kids museums and attractions included with the London Pass – why not also try London Zoo in Regent’s Park or the Namco Funscape in County Hall?

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How to get there

Underground
- Goodge Street Station - Northern line - 2-minute walk from the attraction.

 

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Getting to Pollock’s Toy Museum

Getting to Pollock’s Toy Museum

  • Pollock’s Toy Museum 1 Scala Street London, W1

Opening Times

Monday 10.30 - 17.00
Tuesday 10.30 - 17.00
Wednesday 10.30 - 17.00
Thursday 10.30 - 17.00
Friday 10.30 - 17.00
Saturday 10.30 - 17.00
Sunday Closed
Last Admission: 16.30

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