The story of The Pollock begins in 1856 in Hoxton, a district of London bordered by the wealth of the city and the poverty of the West End. It is there that Benjamin Pollock was born. At that time, the paper theatre business was flourishing in Covent Garden theatres on the Drury Lane side of Covent Garden. Benjamin Pollock after marrying Eliza Redington inherited his father’s paper theatre printing warehouse. But this business was at that time overshadowed by such novelties as magic lanterns and gramophones. But Benjamin decides to sell in his shop theatre sets costing a penny for a single sheet of decor or two pence for a coloured set.
His customers are local children looking for entertainment, as well as adults nostalgic for their childhood, but also actors of the big stage such as Charlie Chaplin.
After Pollock’s death in 1937 the business continued to exist but was revitalized in the 1960s when Marguerite Fawdry tried to buy some toy theatre slides from her son. She eventually bought the entire stock of slides and printing plates, and then opened her museum in Fitzrovia, London (the one I mentioned at the beginning of this article), and that museum still exists today.
It was for the enjoyment of new generations of children, as well as actors, art students, and toy collectors.
In 1980, Mrs. Fawdry opened the small shop on the first floor of the Covent Garden market, which has recently been renovated. Peter Baldwin became manager and took over the business in 1988 with his brother Christopher,
Continuing the tradition
Now co-owner Louise Heard runs the shop with manager Simon Seddon, the store continues to offer a wide range of products for young and old. The store sells a wide selection of traditional toys for children and for collectors of creative, theatrical and educational toys that promote “Story Telling” in particular.
Some toys make us fall back to childhood: the building block box, the little rag doll, the rocking horse, and of course the doll’s house!
We really like the pretty Pollock’s Toy Shop in Covent Garden (located a few meters from the Moomins shop) and the retro atmosphere in this tiny shop of vintage and authentic toys. Find its addresse via the-shops.co.uk website for example; you can go visit it anytime with your kids!
Other toy shops
ARTBOX is the UK’s dream destination for merchandising “cute” characters, stationery and household goods coming from Japan and Korea. You will find brands such as San-X, Kamio, Iwako, Kamio, Crux and Q-Lia. Inside you can find kawaii goodies everywhere, including Sailor Moon items. The staff is very friendly and helpful.
The Hardys Candy Shop
Hardys is one of those old-fashioned candy stores we like.
The window is full of giant lollipops in bright colors, huge candies, Fizz Wizz, Gums! No!
Once inside, the smell of candy fills the air and every square inch of the pretty little shop is decorated with jars of candy, with names like Lemon fizzes, candy canes, chocolate!
There are even pretty chocolate bars with personalized messages… And Harry Potter sweets: choco-frogs and even Bertille Crochue’s almonds (yuck! I found the one with the vomit taste! ).
I’m sure that sweets, more than any other food (at least if we can consider sweets as a food), can link us directly to our childhood and remind us of sweet and precious memories. The smells, textures and even the packaging of our favourite candy can have a powerful effect on our memory.
Here is a nice little independent toy store for children (and adults too). The staff is very nice, they will advise you without any doubt and the children will find their happiness with this vast choice of toys proposed like the wooden games and the manual activities DIY (Do It Yourself), unless they prefer the pretty teddy bears.
Davenport’s Magic Shop
It’s the oldest magic shop (it’s even in the Guinness Book of Records). The shop was founded by Lewis Davenport in 1898 and the Davenport family still run the shop today, located in the Charing Cross Underground arcade.
The shop is “the” magic shop in London, for all levels, from beginners to experienced professionals.
Here you can buy magic tricks, curiosities and gadgets. Davenport’s Magic Shop also offers magic workshops and demonstrations for budding Houdini.