The Great British Summer is finally underway, which means it’s time to enter the tent once again and enjoy a season of master bakes and show-stopping cakes. That’s right, once again we welcome the Great British Bake Off back on to our screens. We thought we’d whet your appetite for the baking escapades and delve into the Museum of Childhood’s Collection to find our top 5 baking items from the national collection of childhood objects, from things so good you could almost eat to adorable miniature Doll’s kitchens… On your marks, get set, BAKE!
Here are five things baking fans won’t want to miss in the Museum of Childhood’s Collection.
Upon first glance this pie might look fresh out of the oven, but beware! This crust wouldn’t pass the judges taste test, being made of glue, wadding card and tissue paper. This amazing and unique pie was bought by Florence Sharpe for her two grand-daughters from a lady crafts person in the village of Lindfield in Sussex almost 90 years ago. It was a surprise present and was used on special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. Placed on the dining room table at tea-time, everyone in the family would sing the nursery rhyme, Four and Twenty Blackbirds before it would then be revealed that the pie contained small presents for the children!
A baker’s dozen
This beautifully illustrated card from the 1950s, was manufactured in Leeds by E J Arnold & Son. These cards were used to teach children about maths and money, used in conjunction with the sums on the sheets included. The items are valued with old British money (pounds, shillings and pence) which had been used since 1066. This system was changed in 1971 when decimalisation was brought in. E. J. Arnold began manufacturing educational toys and learning aids in Leeds in 1863.
“A New and Diverting Game for Juveniles”
Happy Families was one of the first card games devised to amuse rather than educate children. It was developed by John Jaques & Son of London in the 1860s. The company was responsible for introducing into England the idea of cards showing families of four, each of which has an appropriate name relating to the father’s occupation, such as Bun the Baker or Soot the Sweep. The early sets were famously illustrated by Sir John Tenniel who was the illustrator of Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. Following Jaques’ first sets of Happy Families, many publishers copied his idea, sometimes changing the name to Funny, Cheery or Merry Families. Here we see Mr Bun the Baker and his family kneading, transporting and serving their bread.
These flocked critters are a firm favourite in our Collection. Originally from Japan, Tomy introduced Sylvanian Families into the UK market in 1987, and they quickly became a bestseller. Here, in the Baker’s Shop Sylvanians can enjoy freshly baked cakes and bread…Mary and Paul would be proud!
British toymaker Susan Wynter (1923- 2013) started making objects from wood when she was eight years old. Growing up, she lived in London near a billiard table maker where she would use the wooden off-cuts and leftover green baize to create her own objects. As Susan grew older and had children, she began to design toys for the nursery, focusing on both function and education. Through this new approach to toymaking, Susan Wynter began to gain international fame, exhibiting at the London Design Centre, the Venice Biennale, and in various trade fairs in British Pavillions.
Her business, the Toy Trumpet, began as a small toy shop in St. Ives where Susan started designing and making high quality wooden toys. Through her toys Susan was keen to promote exploration through and also designed toys for children with special needs. These toys were then sold to stores like Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. In the late 1960s Susan moved the business to Essex and settled in Brightlingsea where she employed local people. The company grew exponentially, providing toys for major companies like James Galt and the Educational Supply Association.
Like many of her other toys, Susan Wynter enjoys addressing a variety of subjects, including occupations. This toy of a baker selling bread from his cart demonstrates her unique way of approaching the function of job, while still creating a sense of fun. Children can learn about the many different roles people take on, as well as enjoy a form