My main reason for visiting the Museum of Childhood was to see the dollhouses. My mother and I built a dollhouse when I was in my early teens, and I crafted tiny things and collected miniatures for it until I left home for college. I don't have space for a dollhouse right now, but someday I hope to be able to get back into the miniature collecting obsession. I would love a Tri-ang house from the 1930s - it is one of my favourite periods for architecture. A quick ebay search shows they are available, though often in a sorry state. However, another quick google search proves there are restorers out there, so if I ever get a craft room, maybe I should give it a go myself.
|Ultra modern dollhouse (image from the V&A website)|
It turned out there were some much weirder and more wonderful objects than just toys at the museum. Starting with a charming and not at all frightening frog-footed St George's dragon.
|Information about the creator, but unfortunately not this puppet,|
is available on the V&A website.
Things got even weirder in the Creative Gallery section, where they displayed objects, including homemade toys, constructed from a range of materials. I really question the logic of including this bizarre collection of jewelry made of hummingbirds' heads and monkey teeth.
|Perhaps unsurprisingly, no information about these objects|
is available on the V&A website
But I'm probably being inconsistent, because I was completely delighted with this little old fellow made from lobster claws. And the little guy in the harlequin outfit at bottom right is actually a wishbone.
|According to the V&A website the clawman was made c1875,|
no other information available
Children can enjoy the macabre and bizarre just like the rest of us, but I must admit to being surprised by the creepy nature of British weebles. You remember weebles - they wobble but they don't fall down. But I'm used to the anodyne American weebles; I found the British version to be vaguely sinister Tweedledee & Tweedledum characters. I'm afraid to think what he plans to do with that lollipop.
|Creepy boy weeble. Knitters may like to check out |
the knitting granny weeble
Altogether, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, though all the stooping required to see the floor level displays was not particularly gentle on the knees and back, and the labels were a little basic. However, since the museum's primary market is little children with limited reading skills, I understand the display decisions they have made.
The rest of my London jaunt was a resounding success. I had a lovely stroll along Regent's canal, passing Boris Johnson on a bike (London transport was working that day - for once - so I didn't even have the urge to push him in). And I found the perfect skein of Quince & Co Sparrow organic linen yarn to finish off my last top of the (rapidly disappearing) summer. I was worried the cream would be too dingy, but I'm really happy with the result - I think it tones down the pink and gives a nice antique feel to the garment.
|Detail from Scabiosa top|