Who are we?
Pollock's Toy Museum, the oldest Toy Museum in the UK, dates back to
the 1850s when the printer Benjamin Pollock created the famed printed
toy theatres which have become our hallmark. Since the 1950s we have
been an independent museum, now run by Eddy and Jack, the grandson
and great-grandson of our founder, Marguerite Fawdry.
We are working with the Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust and reaching out to new and existing supporters of our unique
collection to help us stay open!
Why we need your help
The museum and our small toy shop have remained closed for most of
the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We rely entirely
on visitors to the museum and shop and have lost £15,000 in income over the last year. Therefore, our first target on this crowdfunder aims to recoup this loss! We
have had to furlough our small staff and we are struggling to pay our bills. We are concerned that our overheads will go up (the return of business rates and staff coming off furlough) before healthy footfall returns. This amount will help us stay open for the next year until things stabilise after the pandemic.
Why should you help us keep our doors open?
There is nothing like Pollock's Toy Museum. If we were to close,
London and the UK would lose something irreplaceable. Our unique
collection is a curated treasure trove of folk toys, dolls, puppets and
curios from around the world arranged in colourful and eccentric cases.
Our favourites include "Eric", one of the world's oldest teddy
bears at 115. Yet, he is a mere whippersnapper compared to another resident; a toy mouse from ancient Egypt made of clay from the banks of the river
Nile whose over 4000 years old!
All of these wonders are housed in two historic buildings, barely changed since they were built in 1750 and 1850. One of which is a listed Building.
"What memories are contained here! You are taken back to your childhood with this comprehensive collection... this is a London institution, full of history and any visitor to this great city should certainly pay a visit" - Pelham, visitor from TripAdvisor
'...It has whimsy, eccentricity and charm in abundance. If there's a heaven here on earth, for me, Pollock's Museum is it.’ Clive Hicks-Jenkins, artist
^Mr Pollocks above, showing off his Toy Theatres C.1900
Inspiring the Community
The museum provides everyone and anyone with an opportunity to explore history and travel back in time. The 18th and 19th century buildings retain much of their original character and the direct lineage to the last great Toy Theatre maker, Benjamin Pollock, make us a valuable link to the city's past and a rare experience in modern times.
We like to bring the collection alive for our community. Toys are a
wonderful way to learn about our collective past and we provide talks and events
on site and in local schools.
'Pollock's engages children without talking down to them, and takes you into a different world' - Alan Powers, author and member of Pollock's Toy Museum Trust
^Jack Fawdry teaching KS2 pupils about Victorian Toys at a local school.
Our collection is a rich source of inspiration for many. We have visits from schools and universities, as well as professional illustrators and artist who draw from the collection. Artists such as Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Enid Marx visited often; actors and filmmakers, including the legendary director Peter Brook, have cited toy theatres purchased at Pollock's as the first step in their careers; David Bowie would visit the museums to get inspiration for his outfits and famous authors have written many a line devoted to Pollock's. Robert Louis Stevenson famously quipped of the original Pollock’s Theatres -
'If you love art, folly or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock's' - Robert Louis Stevenson
Most recently Paul Simonon of The Clash and The Good, the Bad and the Queen told us-
‘I highly recommend Pollock's Toy Museum… It has inspired so many of my music and art projects… a real London gem that must be saved….I’m still haunted by the museum!’ - Paul Simonon
^ Pollocks character sheet, for toy theatre C.1880 from the archive
How can your donations help us?
Your donations will mean that Pollock's Toy Museum can stay open for present and future generations to enjoy. The first target of £15,000 will cover our loss of income over the last year due to the pandemic. We are concerned that our overheads will go up (the return of business rates and staff coming off furlough) before healthy footfall returns. Any money raised towards our stretch target will enable us to stabilise for the future and be more resilient to the shifting landscaped of the pandemic.
'You cannot fake the atmosphere, Pollock's is the real thing. Absolute Treasure.' - anonymous online review
^Room 2 in the museum, tin toys, Punch and Judy and other puppets
The Future: We want to build back stronger
We have lots of exciting plans for the future if we can stay open. With your help we want to expand our public programme and community engagement with workshops, exhibitions, educational offerings and collaborations.
Toys mirror our world past and present and we want to use the collection in new ways to form a mission statement that builds relationships with, is accountable to and serves our community.
'Imagination is the key word. It has been squeezed out of the mainstream curriculum and it is vital to our happiness and also our future as a creative population to open that door in people’s minds.' - Alan Powers, author and member of Pollock's Toy Museum Trust.
The museum also has a print studio and part of our recovery plan is to make this an open-access, educational space to teach others the art printmaking and to provide an environment for a community of artists and makers!
Everyone can help in their own way!
We have lovely rewards so please make a donation and help us by sharing the Save Pollock's Toy Museum campaign with as many people as possible using the follow methods:
Like our Facebook Page
Join in on the discussion in our Facebook Group