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"Could you tell her about some of the toys you had as a child?" her mum asks.
Most of the toys I've gathered for the dining room table picture are actually from Jessica's mum's generation, but others are older. The bag on the left contains wooden building bricks which could date from almost any era, I suspect. At the moment I can't find any of the small stone bricks that were my favourite toy for a while (see below, Lott's Bricks); they preceded 'Minibricks' that were eventually superseded by Lego.
Jess will spot the two train sets that she and Jacob liked to play with when they visited us, and the Woodbine dominos, made of tin, are quite old. Jigsaws and playing cards (including 'Happy Family' cards) featured highly. My favourite jigsaw was the one of Buckingham Palace, pictured below. I used to make it repeatedly. Can you spot the unopened 'Mazzle' of the Yorkshire Dales. It was sitting on the table waiting to be started, before all these other toys were added.
Meccano, Dinky Toys, and then Matchbox toys, featured at the top of my list of favoured toys in the 1950s. The Dinky and Matchbox toys stayed at my parents' house. Perhaps just a few remain under Great Grandma Dot's supervision, but I have the Meccano, together with a large set of Meccano magazines in their binders. The one from 1958 is pictured under the cribbage board.
I have lots more games and toys in the loft, but I hope this might get Jess started. If anyone else has anything, by way of memories or pictures, I'd be delighted to hear from you ([email protected]) and I'll pass on your memories etc to Jess. Thank you.
Some memories from Humphrey:
You'll recall Happy Families? We had an additional set - also by Pepys Games, published by Frederic Warne & Co - with illustrations by the wonderfully named Angus Clifford Racey Helps. The lead attraction was the splendid Humphry Goggle. Image below.
I like to think of Mrs Croak as Humphry’s ex, left with his two tadpole children to push round in her soap box, with her splendid look of resigned determination…
My favourite, however, was a modular construction set called Brickplayer.
This was just the best - using scale bricks and a water-soluble cement you could make anything that took yr humour. My father came home with a job-lot of random Meccano (the old metal kind)* and I'd combine the two.
I remember one time - I must've been around 12 - when an acquaintance of my father called by and remarked "I see your son is still playing with dolls-houses". "Actually", replied my father, "It's an architectural model"
"Thanks, Dad", said I.
Years later I found that two architect friends had started their journey in the same way. The great thing about both Brickplayer and Meccano was that they weren't toys. They got you into some serious engineering."
I've also found some of the favourite toys from my early years in the mid 1950s:
These Lott's brick were my absolute favourite.
* I have lots of that.
My friend Conrad has provided the following input:
"Not many toys about when I was young (born 1939) - later with my own offspring - Etch-a-Sketch, Millenium Falcon, A plastic tree house, Muffin the Mule. I will try and remember some more."