Category Archives: Characters in the collection

Small Stories

Though I haven’t ceased collecting childhood, over the last year my efforts at the Museum have been concentrated on the miniature world of dolls’ houses.

Henriques House, about 1780-1820. (c)V&A Museum, London

Henriques House, about 1780-1820. (c)V&A Museum, London

Opening in December, the special exhibition Small Stories: at home in a dolls’ house will introduce episodes from domestic history, as told by the diminutive inhabitants of twelve miniature houses.

Doll from Small Stories exhibition (c)V&A Museum, London

Doll from Small Stories exhibition (c)V&A Museum, London

Doll from Small Stories exhibition (c)V&A Museum, London

Doll from Small Stories exhibition (c)V&A Museum, London

Doll from Small Stories exhibition (c)V&A Museum, London

Doll from Small Stories exhibition (c)V&A Museum, London

Doll from Small Stories exhibition (c)V&A Museum, London

Doll from Small Stories exhibition (c)V&A Museum, London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do this assortment of characters have to say about homes, life and history?

The world of tiny things has proven absorbing and massively time-consuming. Every house has so many stories, we’ve struggled to whittle them down to the snippets that will be in the final exhibition. So I’m endeavoring to share more of the background to the objects and the people who cared about them, over on another Small Stories blog.

Box Back dolls' house in store (c)V&A Museum, London

Box Back dolls’ house in store (c)V&A Museum, London

To find out about the process of the exhibition, research that we’ve done along the way and a fair bit of shameless anthropomorphising, come, visit, follow.

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A Photographer’s Childhood

Hello World, 1979. Copyright Victoria & Albert Museum London/John Heywood

Hello World, 1979. Copyright Victoria & Albert Museum London/John Heywood

Peek-a-boo!

Over at Collecting Childhood’s new home on the main website of the V&A Museum of Childhood, you can hear photographer John Heywood talking about his childhood, taking pictures, and what he’s learned about children. And, see many more of his wonderful photographs.

Come, listen, look!

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Plum Jam and Slapstick

Lionel Hemsley’s school days

Beach Photo

It is hard work finding evidence for the thoughts and feelings of children in the past.  Letters and diaries are rare and often don’t survive. However, this year I was delighted to meet Lionel Hemsley, who had kept a precious stash of documents from his schooldays during the Second World War. I was even more delighted when he offered to donate them to the Museum!

Lionel Hemsley with school friends. Image (C)V&A Museum, London

Lionel Hemsley with school friends. Image (C)V&A Museum, London

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Recollection

Mary B.313-1994

Mary
B.313-1994

Mary Kempson is a woman from west London who donated hundreds of things to the Museum in the 1980s and 90s. Her original gift, a group of dolls, was quickly followed by teddies, baby clothes, board games, birthday cards, school books, holiday souvenirs, and much more. A new installation at the Museum brings her objects together with photographs and interview quotes – putting faces and voices to this collection of things. Continue reading

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An Irish-Cockney Village in the East End

Ellen Delay’s attendance medal, 1900. B.14-1995

This medal was awarded to Ellen Delay, a pupil at St Patrick’s School, Wapping in 1900. It’s a bit different from the medals awarded by the School Board for London I wrote about here. It has no portrait of the Queen, and the metal is a bit lighter. The name of the student is engraved, but so is the year, which suggests they weren’t minted annually. And also, significantly, the name of the school is included. Continue reading

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Child Education Magazine

These rich illustrations by Linda Birch and Monique Partridge come from one of the Museum’s most recent acquisitions. Continue reading

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Gus Wood the Punch Professor

A few weekends ago, Punch and Judy performers from across the country gathered in Covent Garden to celebrate the 350 year anniversary of the first recorded puppet show in Britain to feature Mr Punch. This summer at the V&A Museum of Childhood we are marking the milestone with a display showing the history of this rambunctious and controversial character.

Find out more about Happy Birthday, Mr Punch

But there’s another anniversary to mark. In the Museum’s Upper Galleries, visitors can see a Punch and Judy booth first used 100 years ago. It is tall and narrow, made of faded blue, yellow and white striped fabric, with columns each side of a stage painted to resemble marble.

Gus Wood's Punch and Judy Booth

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