One of Fitzrovia’s most famous and much-loved businesses has had to leave its home on the corner of Scala Street and Whitfield Street and is seeking help in setting up at a new location.
Pollock’s Toy Museum has been at the same spot in Fitzrovia since 1969 and is the oldest toy museum in the UK. Its colourful frontage and unique collection of toys has attracted people from all over the world to its charming, and slightly rickety, historic buildings.
The museum closed for the festive period last year but was due to open its doors and welcome visitors again on Friday 13 January. Instead people were confronted with a locked door, a half empty shopfront, and a rather ominous note on a toy theatre in the window saying: “The End”.
Now a statement has been released this week by Jack Fawdry-Tatham and Emily Baker, who run the museum, and the Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust saying that the final curtain has fallen on their long run at Scala Street but the business of running the museum will continue at a new location.
“Due to a change in circumstances regarding the ownership of the buildings, we have not been able to negotiate a sustainable future for the museum collection at its current premises,” says a message on their website.
“We regret to announce that Pollock’s Toy Museum is no longer open at No.1 Scala Street.”
The famous historic collection of toy theatres, elderly teddy bears, dolls, games and toys has been put in storage and they are looking for another long-term home for the museum.
“We have already started exploring possibilities for a secure future for the museum and collection, in a location that will preserve its character while providing more space,” said the statement.
They are now appealing for help in achieving the move to new premises.
“For this, major capital funding in cash or in kind will be needed. In the short term, we have expenses to cover and limited resources, so contributions at any level are very welcome.
“We are also seeking storage space at a favourable rate (probably a total of about 400 square feet) to work from as we raise funds,” they say.
Fitzrovia News understands that Pollocks Toy Museum is a viable business and the closure of the current premises was a sudden and unexpected development. Although the museum struggled during the lockdowns of the covid pandemic it bounced back to generate a steady income.
Over the past two years the museum has hosted a variety of activities — including street events in the summer of 2021 and 2022 — in addition to attracting a steady stream of visitors to its unusual collection and gift shop.
In December the museum featured in Miriam Margolyes’ Dickensian Christmas on Channel 4.
The charming little museum and gift shop will be badly missed by local people and many of the local businesses that benefit from the visitors it attracts from all over the world.
The museum will still have an active website and social media channels until it acquires a new home — most likely outside of Fitzrovia — and customers can make purchases from their online shop.
You can look forward to an online Pollock’s Mini-Museum, to see featured toys, articles and practical projects “drawn from our archives”, they say.
Find out more and how to help on the Pollock’s Toy Museum website.