About Pollock’s Toyshop of Covent Garden. London

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The Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop (Covent Garden, London)
 We chat to Louise Heard,co-owner of Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop
 
1-Why toy theaters had so succes in the 19th century?/Why they were born?sttt60
Toy Theatres in England came out of the live theatre which was the most popular form of entertainment of the day. Initially publishers decided to draw the actors and print posters of them in character as souvenirs. These were known as ‘theatrical portraits’ this then led to the ‘juvenile drama’ theatres to hand colour, cut out and build with which to perform miniature plays on.
The tradition is somewhat different from that of Europe, where the model theatre was more of a ‘toy’ for rich children. In England, the toy theatre was more of a ‘popular/folk art form’ that came from printing.

 

2- What kind of audience used to see toy theater performances ?

People would have performed them in a drawing room to adults and children. Charles Dickens was very much into toy theatre even though there are not many Dicken’s plays produced for the Juvenile Drama. Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland was said to be fascinated by toy theatres also.

 

3-How the toy theaters were made in the 19th century?/ What kind of materials are made they with?

They were printed and known as ‘penny plain, twopence coloured’, then hand coloured using stencils and then mounted onto card or board to make the proscenium front which was then attached to a wooden stage.
You can see a good video of Benjamin Pollock here from a 1920s newsreel

4-Can you tell me something about the interest of Charlie Chaplin or Robert Luis Stevenson in Pollock’s toys?original

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the essay call ‘penny plain, twopence coloured’ – he was interested in toy theatre and went to visit Webb who was a toy theatre publisher of nearby Old Street, however he argued with him and went to visit Mr Pollock in Hoxton who was more amiable. This was how Mr Pollock became immortalised as the Toy Theatre publisher. Charlie Chaplin was one of the many visitors to the shop which was thought of as quaint and nostalgic even in the 1920s.

5-How was Benjamin Pollock? Can you tell me something about  his interest with toys?

As told above, he was known as an amiable and diligent man who had inherited the business from his father-in-law Redington. One of his daughters Louisa did the colouring and eventually took on the business after his death in 1937. However, the family were unable to keep it going after the shop in Hoxton got bomb damaged in the second world war.

6-Who are Punch and Judy? What is their history?punch

Punch and Judy come from the Italian tradition of Commedia del Arte and is performed in England as an anarchic puppet show – there is a similar character in most European countries (Kasperl in German, Guignol in France). Punch is a rebellious character, Judy is his wife and there are a range of other characters than can appear including the Policeman, the Hangman, Joey the Clown and Toby the Dog. The first Punch and Judy show is recorded as being performed outside St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden by Samuel Pepys.

There are many resources on Punch & Judy which is really a whole subject in itself.

-7  Now, which are the most favorite classic toys?

People tend to like something they had from their own childhood. But people are attracted especially to the optical toys like zoetropes and the toy theatre as they represent a ‘low-fi’ version,( a pre-cursor to) of film, animation and computers which are the most popular entertainments of today. People are also attracted to the miniature, this I think reminds them of being a child, of a time when they could ‘play’. It is important as an adult to remember how to ‘play’ and tell stories and that’s what Pollock’s represents to many people.

Thanks, Louise!

¡A bordo del Polar Express!

Tras unos días de preparativos, ¡así quedó esta fiesta sorpresa Polar Express! Primero, creamos un pack para cada familiar/invitado, en cuyo interior no faltaron las palomitas de colores para ver la peli, una botellita de agua tematizada con motivos navideños, un paraguas de chocolate y un cascabel, al que añadí una etiqueta descargable con un mensaje muy familiar para los conocedores de la historia. Todo este material, iba dentro de una bolsita de Papá Noel.

Y, lo que incluimos en la mesa fueron ositos de nube de chocolate, bizcochos, y golosinas. De todo ello tiraba un pequeño detalle de un reno, creando la forma de un tren. ¿Ypara untar los bizcochos? Imprescindible una taza de chocolate bien calentito. 🙂

¡Una merienda diferente y cargada de ilusión!

 

 

Época de Navidad, época de Polar Express

En esta primera entrada de blog he querido dar a conocer un evento muy especial que voy a llevar a cabo el próximo jueves, mediante la fiesta de Polar Express. Quien haya visto esta película sabrá a qué me refiero: cascabeles, locomotoras, dulces, chocolate calentito, bonitas canciones…;)

Se trata de una idea muy original que, con unos muy sencillos pasos, podréis sorprender especialmente a los más pequeños de la casa y, ¿quién sabe? ¡Puede que también a los más mayores! Quedan dos días, y estas son las ideas que, hasta el momento, he podido llevar a la realidad.

¿Queréis seguirlo en directo? Si es así…All aboard!!

Primer paso: Días antes al evento, envío de los tickets a los invitados. Estas plantillas podéis encontrarlas fácilmente en redes como Pinterest. Tan solo será necesario imprimirlas y pegarlas sobre una base de cartulina y ¡hecho! Si lo hacéis únicamente para vuestra familia, podéis introducirlas en un buzón que yo pude encontrar en la tienda Tiger, y adornar el sobre con otras etiquetas descargables.

Segundo paso: ¡No es posible una fiesta de Polar Express sin una locomotora! ¿Y cómo la hacemos? Es sencillo: basta con 4 cartulinas, tijeras y pegamento

Tercer paso: Una locomotora ha de tener sus propios raíles, así que vamos a ello: de nuevo; cartulina roja y negra de tamaño grande: En mi caso; compré siete rojas y 7 negras grandes. Según el espacio que queramos ocupar.

Y es lo que hay hasta el momento en cuanto a ambiente. El jueves es el gran día, ¡así que habrá que esperar a ver el resultado final! Lo que sí adelanto es que no faltará el chocolate 🙂