Toys and Games

Toys and games play a huge part in our lives, sparking imagination and bringing fun in childhood and beyond! Our collections reflect a breadth of toys and games from the 18th century to the present day. Our Palitoy collection is particularly important, with a good selection of the products of the Coalville-based toy company.

Steiff teddy bears, early 20th century

The teddy is named after President Theodore Roosevelt of the USA. They were developed in the early 20th century by Steiff in Germany and Morris Michtom in the USA and have been faithful friends and companions to many since then. Pin on Pinterest

You might not have heard of the Leicestershire toy company Palitoy, but you may well be familiar with some of the toys they produced over their 75 year history. Action Man, Star Wars figures, Play-Doh, Pippa, Tressy, and Care Bears are a few of the best-selling toys to have a connection with this famous Leicestershire company and its factory in Coalville.
Although the factory closed in 1984, we have a good selection of the toys that they made from early plastic rattles onwards.
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Action Man, first produced by Palitoy in 1966 when it won the Toy of the Year, along with another of their products, Tiny Tears. Action Man remains one of the most popular and well-known brands they produced. Pin on Pinterest

Pippa and Friends

A ‘pocket sized’ fashion doll, Pippa had numerous friends including Mandy pictured left here and boyfriend Pete on the right. She also had all the latest fashions, a car and even an apartment! Made by Palitoy between 1972 and 1980. Pin on Pinterest

Baby’s Rattle

Made of silver and coral in the late 18th century. From Thrussington. Pin on Pinterest

Dating from the early 17th century, a unique hoard of more than 200 toys was found behind a bricked-up stairwell in St. Dionysus Church in the centre of Market Harborough. The toys include whip-tops, tip-cats, small balls and sap whistles. They were made from wood, pig's knuckle bones and fabrics, all easily obtainable materials to children who had to make their own toys long before they were manufactured. Tip-cat in particular, a game where children have to hit a small stick with a bigger stick, has been popular for hundreds of years and was often seen as a nuisance. It is likely that this hoard was confiscated from children causing trouble around the church more than 300 years ago.
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