When Pollock’s Toy Museum and Shop opens its doors again this week after a successful fundraiser to see it through the pandemic that has ravaged its trading, it will do so with a view to a brighter future.
As well as a fresh coat of paint on the historic building and its wall murals, the people who run the museum want to embrace a new way of working where, among other changes, it spills out of its doors for some street theatre.
In March this year the museum successfully raised £41,568 from 812 supporters in 28 days including £5,000 from the Mayor of London fund.
“I was overwhelmed at the support,” says Jack Fawdry-Tatham who ran the fundrasing campaign with his partner Emily Baker.
“People told us how much they loved Pollock’s, that we are unique and shouldn’t be lost. It’s emotional to hear people echoing values I believe in too,” he said.
Fawdry-Tatham has the museum in his blood as he is the son of the museum manager Eddy Fawdry, and great grandson of the museum’s founder Marguerite Fawdry.
The crowdfunder has meant that the historic museum can retain its much-loved character but also modernise to make it a sustainable business.
A new ticketing system is now in place so visitors can pre-book, there’s a new website being developed to engage audiences, and a line of newly-printed, paper toy theatres from the archive are now for sale online and in the shop.
While it was closed to the public the museum put on a series of online lectures and has been working with illustrator Nina Goodyer to create an activity sheet for primary school children when they visit.
The funding has allowed a repainting of the shopfront and the faded wall and window murals on the 18th century building on the corner of Scala Street and Whitfield Street.
“The reopening will represent a shift for the museum away from tourist-centric trading to a more community-centred programme and offering,” say Baker and Fawdry-Tatham, who want to encourage Londoners to discover Pollock’s for the first time or revisit to see the new items on display recently donated by the Victoria & Albert Museum.
On Saturday 14 August they have permission from Camden Council to close the road in front of the museum for some street theatre. A “Pollock’s Carnival” where pearly kings and queens, Punch and Judy professors, and toy theatre performers will bring to life the museum and its history.
Pollock’s Toy Museum and Shop, 1 Scala Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2HL is open again from Monday 17 May 2021.