Toys and Dolls

We hold over a thousand dolls. ranging in date from the late eighteenth century to the 1980s. Some of them are very unique, like the Westwood ‘fertility doll’ which is credited with helping Eliza Westwood to have thirteen children in the mid-nineteenth century, or the peddler doll whose head is made of a dried apple which was pickled in vinegar.

An insight into the collection

The Museum Toy and Doll collections are full of colour and variety. Visitors to the Museum can see Dolls houses and their amazing miniature detailed furnishings, dolls, trains and toy soldiers.  The Museum collections explores all aspects of growing up, so toys and games sit alongside items such as clothing.

Objects in the collection span the 18th to 21st centuries. We are gradually expanding our collection of late 20th and early 21st century objects. We have bears of every shape and size, board and card games and jigsaw puzzles dating back to the nineteenth century, clockwork and early optical toys, bricks, tops, farms, trains and model soldiers. We have a number of other early educational toys including a collection of children’s books and associated material.