The V&A Museum of Childhood holds a major collection of archives that capture and record childhood culture and design.
The collection includes archives of toy manufacturers, distributors and shops, individuals involved in the toy industry, children's clothing manufacturers, and material related to the history of the Museum from its inception and opening in 1872. The archive also preserves papers documenting the history of childhood, schooling and play, donated to the Museum by both researchers and private individuals.
The strength of the ever-expanding archive collection is its diversity. Of particular note is the Donne Buck collection, which contains a fascinating history of adventure playgrounds, and the records of Lines Bros (famous for their Tri-ang trademark), which demonstrate the extent and strength of the toy making industry in Britain during the 20th century.
V&A Museum of Childhood | Cambridge Heath Road | London | E2 9PA
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The archives can be accessed by appointment only, fortnightly on Fridays, 10.30 – 16.30.
How to access the archives
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with as much detail as possible of your research and the material you wish to view – the archivist can advise on availability and access.
Researchers visiting the archives for the first time are required to complete a Researcher registration form and will need to show current ID and proof of address (e.g. bank statement, utility bill, driving licence, etc.).
Museum of Childhood Library
As well as a collection of children's literature stretching from the 19th century to the present day, the Museum of Childhood Library also holds a broad range of critical work regarding the social and cultural history of childhood which includes, but is not limited to, work on the figure of the child in literature and visual culture; the history and practice of pedagogy; and the material culture of childhood, for example histories of the design, production and marketing of children's toys.
We are in the process of updating the records of our holdings – if you are looking for something specific that is not listed on the catalogue, please email email@example.com with a request.
Search the archive
A selection of our catalogues are available on Search the Archives, with more currently in development, which will be added as they become available.