The Toy-making Firemen of WWII

These photographs come from the ‘Papers of Marjory Allen’ collection. Lady Allen of Hurtwood (1897-1976) was a landscape architect, campaigner for pre-school education and  promoter of child welfare…

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These photographs were taken sometime between 1941 and 1945. They show the efforts of the fire department in building toys for a nursery.  The firemen assisted with the making, transporting and assembling of toys.

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We also get to see the firemen enjoying the fruits of their labours, playing with the children and watching them receive their new toys.

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Photographs such as these remind us of the sense of community and comradeship that came about during the wars. Despite (and in spite of) the devastation that occurred,  communities strived to restore and rebuild. This collection embodies this mentality through the effort and goodwill of the firemen. It is a delight to look through these photos and see such excitement and joy in the faces of the children (and the firemen!) – emotions that you wouldn’t expect to see in a collection assigned the dates of WWII.

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To view this collection, please come into the centre and request MSS.121/NS/3/3


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