Thursday, December 3, 2009

YE OLDE CONVENT GARDEN TOY STORE



Benjamin Pollack's Toyshop

"The history begins in 1856 in Hoxton, an area of London bordered by the wealth of the City and the poverty of the East End. This is where Benjamin Pollock was born. At this time the toy theatre trade was flourishing in Covent Garden's Theatreland. By the time Benjamin Pollock had married Eliza Redington and inherited her father's Theatrical Print Warehouse, the toy theatre trade had been overshadowed by new fangled novelties such as magic lanterns, gramophones and the wireless.

However Mr Pollock, in his dark and dusty shop in Hoxton, carried on supplying theatrical sheets costing a penny plain and twopence coloured. His customers were local children aspiring to the stage or city gents nostalgic for their childhood as well as actors of the larger stage such as Charlie Chaplin. Pollock, although not the most innovative producer of Juvenile Drama, was the most amiable and diligent.

When Robert Louis Stevenson went to visit Webb, a rival of Pollock, he found him disagreeable and after an argument went down the road to Pollock's shop and was so delighted with him he immortalised him in an essay 'If you love art, folly or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock's." Here is the link to the store.

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