Enfield Museum’s latest exhibition Terrific Toys: Made and played in Enfield opens to the public!

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April 13, 2017, 12:03 p.m.
Terrific Toys: made and played in Enfield celebrates the golden era of toys and games, made in the borough by famous names such as Spears Games and Lesney Matchbox and played with by generations of local children.

The exhibition, curated by Museum Officer Jan Metcalfe and a team of volunteers, looks at how toys developed and explains how some children’s lives changed dramatically from working and doing chores to having time to play with toys and games.

Some of the world’s best-selling toys were once manufactured in Enfield and this nostalgic exhibition will also explore the borough’s rich history of toy manufacture dating back to the turn of the last century.

“Toys and Games have played an important part in the life of Enfield residents” said Jan Metcalfe.“Many of the big name toys that we coveted or remember playing with, were made in the borough.Spears games, the makers of Scrabble, Coppit, Mousie Mousie and other well-known board games, set up in Brimsdown in the 1930s and employed many local people in their large factory until the mid-1990s”.

Matchbox was started in the basement of an old pub in Edmonton and although subsequently their main factory was in Hackney, continued to employ many Enfield people and had a presence in the borough with a factory in Lincoln Road. The founders and owners of the company all continued to live in Enfield.

Another company, Die Casting Machine Tools had a factory in Palmers Green from 1947 that produced a variety of toys including the much loved ‘Lone Star’ brand of cowboy-themed playthings.It also made toys on behalf of other local companies such as Crescent of Tottenham.

Other companies include Thomas Salter Ltd, Exclusive First Editions and Elgin, who produced dolls house furniture in a tiny back yard factory in Bush Hill Park.Reeves, also had a factory on Lincoln Road and produced paints and paint boxes which, whilst not exactly toys, were used by many children over the years.In the wider area, J&L Randall Ltd of Potters Bar and Britains of Walthamstow were well known producers of cast lead toy soldiers and brands such as Merit.

Products of all these companies can be found in the exhibition.On display are some historic toys from the late 19th and early 20th Century’s and the exhibition mostly focusses on the ‘golden age of toys and games’ from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Cabinet Member for Education, Children's Services and Protection, Councillor Orhan said “This exhibition is unashamedly nostalgic and we hope that children who visit will enjoy looking at toys their parents and grandparents played with and adults will be able to pay a visit down memory lane”.

Terrific Toys: made and played in Enfield is on at the Dugdale Centre, 39 London Road, Enfield Town, EN2 6DS from Thursday 13th April - Sunday 7 January 2018.The exhibition is free, opening hours - Monday - Sunday 9am - 5pm

Visit www.dugdalecentre.co.uk for more information

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