Museum Description

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This national award winning museum exhibits a wide selection of mainly British toys from c1900 to the present. It is housed in adjoining carefully restored late 18th Century buildings, one a former hat factory and the other a joiner's workshop. The museum is situated in what is probably the best preserved court in the area, its entrance is in Market Place. Cockermouth Castle overlooks the museum.

The entrance to the museum is arranged as the interior of an old toy shop sometime around the mid 1950's. Set off following the Teddy Bear paw prints and look into the packed toy shop windows full of train sets, dolls, games...... in fact, all the things we really wanted but seldom received!

Around the museum are many buttons to press and visitor operated displays including 0 and 00 Hornby tinplate trains, Scalextric cars, Meccano, Lego and even working models made from card.


Fly this 1955 Nullis Secundis Helicopter but try to land at the heliport and not on the road.      ›

Among the displays are prams, a large 1930's Tri-ang doll's house (press a button to illuminate the rooms) and a tinplate Mettoy one that can be rotated to show the interior and furniture. There are four working railway layouts including one in a huge garden shed at the end of which is a water butt, are you brave enough to lift the lid and see the horrible monster lurking at the bottom? Minic Motorway, Sutcliffe boats, Chinese kites, the Magic Robot, Bayco houses and home-made toys are among the thousands of objects on display to take you back to your childhood. A small display recreates the joiners workshop as it was around 1930 complete with original tools, crane and cart, this being a former use of the building for some 70 years. Prior to that it was probably part of the old Cockermouth Mineral Water Company, several 'cod' bottles having been found in the old earth floors when buildings in the court were being modernized in the 1970's.

There is a family quiz to do while looking at the toys and worksheets, based on National Curriculum topics Key Stages 1 to 4, are available. Younger children can look for the little teddy bears, play with the wooden bricks and ride a 1950's Rocking Horse.

Each year there is usually a special exhibition or theme and new showcases are added if funds permit to help display objects from the vast reserve collection. There are always new things to see including all those you missed the first time.

The museum has featured in and on Local and National newspapers, Radio and TV including 'Down Your Way', News programs, etc. and has loaned toys for several TV programs including 'I Love a 1970's Christmas' etc. as well as several other museums for special exhibitions.

Whether you are 4 or 104 there should be something on display to remind you of your childhood.

Disabled visitors. Click here for information.

‹  The railway in the 'loft'.

A 5.5mm / foot model of Beddgelert Station on the Welsh Highland Railway in North Wales about 1930.

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