Childhood memories spanning 150 years are rekindled at a new exhibition which runs until September 21. Our guest blogger, Emma Martin, shares her experience of taking in the exhibition...
Having been separated from her young son for 3 years, Malcolm Goodwin’s mother wanted to give him something special to welcome him home. Malcolm had been evacuated during World War II, and was returned to his family in Bromley in 1944. With wartime austerity at its peak, his mother made him a toy dog, which he called “Scotty Dog”. The little black dog (now blind and a bit ragged around the edges) is one of the many toys on display at Bromley
Museum. Considering he has been well-loved by Malcolm’s own children and grandchildren, and even buried in the garden at one point, Scotty Dog is in relatively good condition!
Other nostalgia-provoking toys on display include a wooden push-button puppet (that goes limp when the button at the base is pressed), a 1960s Monopoly set, a Fisher Price kitchen from 1979 (with a hob that turns red when the dinner is cooked) and a collection of Dinky toys. A collection of dolls’ house furniture includes a miniature 13-piece tea set made of ivory. There is also a rare Decca “Junior” Gramophone, from the post-war period, which amplified sound using a big metal bowl attached to the tone arm.
The collection of old black and white photographs of children from the Bromley area is particularly poignant, and shows how schools have changed over the years. There is a photograph of a class of young children taken in the garden of the school that Doris
Richards (1887 – 1940) ran from her home, 29 Glebe Road, Bromley. The rather ragamuffin bunch of children are all different ages, but most of them are smiling – even the teacher!
In stark contrast is a very formal photo of pupils at Bromley County School for Girls (on the site now occupied by Widmore Adult Education Centre and Bickley Primary School) taken in July 1929. The rows and rows of girls in sombre dark uniforms are quite different from the relaxed style of school photos that are taken these days!
This interesting exhibition is bound to remind every visitor of something from his or her own childhood. It may also make some modern children realise just how fortunate they are! The title of the exhibition is rather misleading though, as it suggests an international element – which eluded me!
Head along this week for the last few days of the exhibition (ends 21 September) and check it all out for yourselves!
Image courtesy of Bromley Museum twitter feed @BromleyMuseum