The V&A Museum of Childhood holds a range of archive collections relating to different aspects of childhood. These include a large amount of material from toy and children’s clothing manufacturers and from individuals involved in the toy industry, as well as collections relating to schools and education. The archives have been collected by the Museum over a number of years, and are currently in the process of being fully catalogued and made more accessible.
The type of material contained in the archive collections includes catalogues and other promotional and advertising material, designs and technical drawings, photographs and transparencies, correspondence, press cuttings, school work and school reports. The archive collections document the history of the British toy-making industry, of product design, manufacturing and advertising, as well as the history of education and of childhood more broadly.
The archives are located at the V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green. For more information on how to find the Museum, see Visit us.
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To discover more information about the Museum, visit Our History.
To learn about the Museum’s involvement in the British Toy Making Project Click here.
Access to the archives is by prior appointment only. Due to ongoing work relating to the transformation of the Museum (please see this link for details) the archive collection in 2019 will only be available to be consulted once a month usually on Fridays with slots available at 10.30am – 1.30pm and then 2.30pm – 4pm. If you wish to visit the archive, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your research and the archivist will be happy to advise you.
Researchers will be asked to register, and to provide two forms of identification.
Download Conditions of Access (78 KB, .pdf)
The archive collections at the V & A Museum of Childhood are currently being fully catalogued. The most up to date information on the archive collection can be found here http://www.vam.ac.uk/archives/unit/ARC38 where further information and catalogues will be added as they become available.
Here you will find information on British Toy Manufacturing including Palitoy, Abbott Toys and Tri-ang alongside archives relating to Toy Distribution as well as our archive of Children’s Clothing, the Donne Buck Archive of Playgrounds and a wealth of Childhood Memories. Many of these are also available in summary catalogues, which are no longer updated.