On my visit I was kindly shown around by Museum manager, Nick Gibson.
Nick was extremely polite and well versed in all of the exhibits on show. Luckily my visit coincided with my birthday, which was a bonus!
All the exhibitions tell the amazing story of bygone childhood years, with favourite toys from steam powered Meccano sets to working mini cookers, yes you could actually cook with them (health and safety obviously didn’t exist!), model cars, animal circuses and farms. Some of the exhibits could also be interacted with.
The Museum has over ten thousand toys and models in its archive. Toys date back to the mid-18th century. The displays have toys of all types, including priceless model train collections and many period, antique toys from Great Britain, all over Europe and the U.S.
Having only opened in 1991, the museum celebrated their 25 year anniversary in 2016, and with help from the National lottery received funding ‘Toys in the community.’ The Museum receives no outside funding and is a registered charity solely reliant on ticket sales, venue hire charges and a small commission from the collector’s market shop sales.
One of the principal objectives of the charitable trust is to ensure that the collections remain together and live on in perpetuity for the benefit of future generations.
The models have been carefully and passionately restored to their original state, and donated by various patrons over the years.
Toy and model restoration is undertaken by the Museum’s Founder and Director, Chris Littledale who is one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject.
The Museum is staffed by the Managers, Education Officers and a dedicated group of volunteers; without whose enthusiasm and hard work, the Museum could not survive.
During term time two Education Officers give tours with between two- three thousand pupils a year. Handling sessions include exploring what materials
were used and how that has changed e.g. lead paint and lead soldiers and no animals in circuses anymore.
There are regular special events, for example magicians, comedians and various live contemporary music including a line-up of folk, music events over the next few months.
See website for full details. https://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/
In conclusion, most definitely one of Brighton’s little gems and well worth a visit!