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Last Updated: Monday, 14 March, 2005, 10:12 GMT
Child's play at 20,000 toy museum
Toys at the museum
The collection runs from cars to an 18th century doll
A collection of 20,000 toys is to be put on display at a new museum of childhood in west Wales.

The museum, at Pen-ffynnon Farm near Llangeler in Carmarthenshire, has been planned for more than 10 years by three toy collectors.

The trio have spent a combined 120 years amassing their collection.

It includes toys from as far back as the 18th century and covers everything from dolls, train sets and toy cars to a talking parrot.

Collectors Paul and Hilary Kennelly and Vic Davey are behind the West Wales Museum of Childhood.

As well as providing amusement for children of all ages, the toys also provide an insight into the social conditions of the period, according to the collectors.

Toy dalek
A toy dalek is one of the exhibiton's attractions

"We have got a Noah's Ark made [in the UK] during the Great War [WWI] because there was a great feeling against German toys, and this was the start of the British toy industry," Mr Kennelly told BBC Radio Wales.

"We have got toys made during the Second World War when the toy manufacturers were on essential work, so granddad had to go out to the shed and make things from wood."

Mrs Kennelly said: "An awful lot of toys reflect the political, the social attitudes of the times they were made, and that is a very interesting facet of collecting."

The oldest toy in the collection is a little girl's tea set dating back to the 1790s.

The collection also includes one of the first fully articulated baby dolls.

Mrs Kennelly said: "It's only a tiny little thing, about eight inches long, but its ankles and wrists move and it has this wonderful squeaker in the middle.

"After 150 years, the squeaker still works."

A lack of toys in childhood was the spark for Vic Davey's interest in collecting them once he was older.

Vic Davey, Paul and Hilary Kennelly
Little children can laugh at things their grandparents used to play with
Hilary Kennelly

He explained: "I think it's the fact that when I was a kid, we were a poor family.

"It was just after the war and I didn't have any toys, so I resolved to get myself a Dinky eight-wheeler, which would have cost me two months' pocket money, as soon as I got my first working wage."

Mrs Kennelly added: "We have had our collection for so long, and we'd just love to share it with other people as well.

"Little children can laugh at things their grandparents used to play with. Grandparents can remember the pain of saving up their pocket money for something."

Tea-rooms and a shop at the site open on Good Friday, with the museum proper opening in mid-May.

Museum wins bid at toy auction
17 Apr 04 |  England


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