I have been to many museums during my travels, but none as sweet and cheerful as the Ilkley Toy Museum in West Yorkshire, England. For over two decades this museum has housed a private collection of dolls, teddies, games, toys, and much more. This charming museum contains one of the best toy collections in England, and it is one of the greatest toy collections that I have seen.
This impressive private collection showcases toys dating back from 4th-century BCE, and up to modern times. The toys here are very special and have interesting stories tied to them, from their collection of early English wooden dolls to Thomas the Sad Teddy.
I do have a fascination with dolls and doll houses, and whenever I travel I do buy dolls from the countries that I visit. In fact, I had nicknamed my home “The Little Doll House”, so you can only guess what exhibits caught my eye while at the Ilkley Toy Museum!
Another exhibit that caught my attention besides the doll houses and miniatures was Thomas, the bear with a very sad story. As the story goes (from website)- Thomas is an English bear made in about 1930. Thomas was given to a little boy called Jonathan just before his second birthday. One day at his family cottage in Norfolk Jonathan wandered off, fell into the river and drowned. When Jonathan was found he was clutching Thomas the bear.
Thomas was put on the mantelpiece at home with Jonathan’s picture next to him. Jonathan’s big sister Charlotte talked to Thomas and asked him questions about Jonathan. Charlotte would tell her parents that Jonathan was happy and loved them all. One day Charlotte suddenly shouted out “ No Jonathan, that’s naughty” and then an ornament fell to the floor and broke. Thomas was put away in a hall cupboard but one day the cupboard fell over and Charlotte said “ You see Thomas wants to come out of the cupboard.” Charlotte continued to talk to Thomas for many years.
Ilkley Toy Museum was pure joy, as well as being a nostalgic look back at games, tinplate toys, dolls, and many types of play things from across the globe, and throughout the centuries. The museum is open to the public and a special place to visit for all generations.
For visiting information as well as their collections and exhibits, please visit – Ilkley Toy Museum
You don’t need magic to disappear, all you need is a destination…
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre
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