Toys, Dolls and Collectables
Historic Tin Toys
The collection of tin toys includes penny toys (penny toys were sold in Victorian times), along with tin plate boats, aeroplanes, lead soldiers, farm animals and dolls houses.
On display are toys by all the famous toy manufactures of the day: Meccano, Dinky-Toy, Triang, Brittain, Lehman, Schuco, along with the famous Marx range of toys including Buck Rogers. There are also on display battery and friction toys produced in Japan during the 1950s. These include toy robots, boats, trucks, aeroplanes and cars and all reflect the style and character of the period.
Dolls and Teddy Bears
Our Doll and Teddy Bear collection includes all the famous names like Lenci, Kathe Kruse, Nora Wellings, Chad Valley and Steiff.
Our collection of Lenci Dolls (pronounced Lenchie) are all pre war examples and were produced in Torino, Italy. During the Second World War these dolls were dressed typically in military uniform. Lenci dolls are still in production and modern examples are on display.
Lenci Dolls were made of steamed pressed felt, painted by hand and exported in the nineteentwenties, thirties and forties to America, England and Australia. Each one is an individual work of art and very lifelike. Large versions were made as store mannequins. Two of these are on display in the blue room upstairs.
Käthe Kruse dolls were made in Germany in the 1920s and represent the move away from hard dolls (porcelain) which were generally too fragile to play with. Käthe Kruse dolls are noted for their hand-painted parchment face, based on Käthe Kruse's own children - an ideal German child of that era!
Nora Wellings also specialised in soft dolls and in this instance dolls and clothes were made of felt or velvet rather than porcelain as they looked more human and, of course, children could play with them. They were very colourful and charming.
The survival of these types of dolls in excellent condition is difficult because of the fabric used - they are prone to scuffing, tearing and moth attack.
Steiff Bears were first made in Germany in 1909 by Margarita Steiff and are identified for originality by their Knopf im Ohr (button in the ear). The name Teddy Bear was coined after the famous American President Teddy Roosevelt who, on a bear shooting trip, saved a cub - hence Teddy Bear!
The Steiff Bears are still in production today as well as a variety of animals.
Barbie, Ken and Friends
Leuralla has the only permanent display of Barbie Dolls from 1959 to the current day in Australia. Note that the Barbie Doll is the most successful toy ever produced. It has remained in production based on the original prototype for over forty years, and is still in production.
Barbie was designed by Ruth Handler based on a German concept and was named after her own daughter. Barbie has reflected style, fashion, social, racial and even political changes for over forty years, starting from a rather domestic role through to illustrating women in key career and social roles. Clever marketing has resulted in Barbie being recognised by girls as Meccano was recognised by boys.
Model Trains and Collectables
The model trains, boats, aeroplanes, trucks and cars are faithful replicas of the vehicles of the time, along with the hundreds of lead figures representing farm, zoo, garden, passengers, soldiers and railway personnel. These figures are taken literally from life and represent society in miniature. They are a three-dimensional illustration of the actual time.
Note the old petrol pumps, the style of the motorcars and the garden and farm sets.
There is also a selection of books, puzzles and games including an old Monopoly set. Do you recognise any old games that you play with today? Imagine a naughty child being told to "go to your room and not to come down before tea" in this house. With such a selection of toys you would probably not want to come down for tea at all!