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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Due For Arrival; The Jenny Lind Locomotive

Jenny Lind
There’s a gap one of the display cases in the Brighton Toy and Model Museum’s foyer at the moment. What used to be a shelf dedicated to the glory days of the Brighton Belle is currently standing empty. But not for long.

Jenny Lind was a famous singer of the  1840s. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, and known popularly as ‘The Swedish Nightingale,’ Jenny Lind found fame throughout Europe and North America, reaching the peak of her success in the 1840s. Her first performance in London was in the opera Robert le Diable in 1847, with Queen Victoria in attendance. It was only two years later that she would announce her retirement from the operatic stage, and still nobody knows the real reason why.

Given a Famous Name

Awaiting The Arrival Of The Jenny Lind
As she was already famous throughout Europe, and she made her British debut in 1847, boilermakers E. B. Wilson and Company of Leeds built a steam locomotive for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, and it was named ‘Jenny Lind’ in her honour.

The loco’s design proved to be extremely successful and was used as a blueprint for successive steam engines throughout the 1840s 50s and 60s. Indeed the design was so useful that form of the Jenny Lind became a specific ‘type’ of engine. With more than seventy individual locomotives being built for a number of different railway companies, it became the first mass produced consistent type of railway locomotive in the world. In fact, the type became so consistent that the manufacturers chose to charge a premium from railway companies that ordered an engine that deviated from the type in any way.

The Perfect Location

Now obviously we don’t have one of the original Jenny Lind type locomotives, but we do have the next best thing: a 1-16 scale 3.5” steam powered model of the original engine as engineered by Bill Hinchley of the Milton Keynes Model Engineering Society. The engine has been donated to Brighton Toy and Model Museum due to the strong links between the original Jenny Lind engine and Brighton, indeed, where better for it to find a home than Brighton’s famous model museum?
The final exhibit is currently being prepared, the brightwork polished and the paintwork buffed. The model of the Jenny Lind will see its own debut on the 14th of October and will sit alongside paintings of the Brighton coachworks which used to be next door to Brighton railway station, a model of The Leader, an experimental steam engine of the 1940s built in the Brighton Coachworks and several other pieces of memorabilia of Brighton’s steam past including original lamps from the historic Brighton Belle.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

When an Old Box Becomes a Treasure Trove

Isn’t it amazing, what you find when you’re not looking for it? Especially when that thing is a treasure you’ve forgotten you ever had!

While we were undergoing a grand reorganisation and clear-out in one of our workshops we discovered under a bench an old box that hadn’t been opened in 20 years. Well, that old box proved itself to be something of a treasure chest when we took a look inside because in it we found an historic and enchanting collection of beautiful and incredibly rare collection of miniature furniture, ornaments, and kitchenware, including plates, cutlery, even the fruit and various other foods that were to be served on them. A fine setting for a luscious Lilliputian dinner! The collection also includes any number of other household objects including tools, framed pictures, lamps and vacuum cleaners. In fact, anything you would expect to see around the home, but in miniature.

A Display Built By Craftsmen

We thought this find was so extraordinary that the museum’s craftsman carpenter created a wonderfully atmospheric display that shows off the collection to its best; a unique doll’s house inspired display stand where all the tiny fixtures and chattels can be seen as they would have been in situ in a real doll’s house.

Once this display had been built and decorated to look every bit as if it were a turn of the century doll’s house then the museum’s director spent the next week carefully selecting and displaying the best parts of the collection as you see it today.

Together with the display stands, there is an original dolls’ house from the beginning of the twentieth century and numerous other pieces such as bathroom and bedroom sets. The collection is open now as part of our collection of over 10,000 individual items on exhibition.

If you're planning on coming to see the doll's furniture exhibit, we're open 10-5 Tuesday to Friday, 11-5 on Saturday. For admission fees and all other details, please see the Brighton Toy and Model Museum website 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

So What’s Up With Those Dogs All Round Brighton?

If you’ve walked anywhere in Brighton and Hove recently, you can’t have helped but notice the decorated dogs that are dotted all around town. But what’s the story?

So, if you’re like me you’ll have seen The Snowman, and had a little sob at the end. Well, the story didn’t actually stop there. Oh no. There was a snow dog, and that’s what these little fellas are all about.

More than 40 Snowdog and 20 pup sculptures were produced, all blank, and sent out to artists and schools to be decorated. So each one is unique and painted to represent a different theme.
The event is in aid of Martlets, a charity that cares for people living through terminal illnesses in the Brighton and Hove area. As well as a Snowdog trail (you can pick up a map from Brighton Toy and Model Museum) there are any number of other fundraising events based on the dogs and pups including a fun run, a Snowdogs trail open top bus tour and, at the event, each one of the Snowdogs will be auctioned off to raise money for the Martlets charity work.

If you love the Snowdogs but you can’t wait to buy your own, or don’t have space for one in your home (come on, they are massive!) then get down to one of the Martlets charity shops where they will be selling Snowdog merchandise, souvenirs and gifts.
You can read more about Martlets and Snowdogs by liking their Facebook page, following on Twitter or visiting the Snowdog website.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Is It A Bird? Is It A 'Plane? No! It's A Playday!

Will you be coming to the next Brighton Toy and Model Museum playday? The theme is "In The Sky". Could mean anything, couldn't it?
It could mean Aeroplanes, the Flying Trapeze at the circus, birds, tightrope walkers, balloons, the birds, even the stars and astronauts!
Make up your own mind and then come along to see if you were right (nothing is ever wrong when you make it up yourself!). We'll be having the usual mix of stories, facepainting, arts and crafts and an assortment of toys to play with too.
Looking forward to seeing you and having a brilliant playday.

The Trains And Railways Of India: A Lecture From Lawrence Marshall

We're proud, and yes, a little bit excited to be welcoming Lawrence Marshall to Brighton Toy and Model Museum as he will be here to deliver a speech on the memories he has of his experience working and travelling on the trains and railways of India.

The railways play a huge part in the history of India which is often overlooked. They made the movement of goods, people and information much easier and faster which in turn enabled agricultural, economic and political growth. Before the railways people would shun travelling long distances because of the heat and discomfort involved in traversing the roads, goods made in one region would remain in that area as moving them was difficult, expensive and often dangerous while it could be said that Gandhi would have had far less impact in political and social reform had he had to travel the subcontinent by road instead of rail. Indeed, his first act of civil disobedience was to be thrown from the First Class compartment of a train when he was in South Africa. This was first of many non-violent acts that he brought to India which eventually led to Indian independence.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Moon! Mooon! Mooooooooon!

The latest addition to the Museum lobby is a slightly gobsmacking specialist scientific two-foot-diameter contoured globe of The Moon.

Specially created as one of a set of four after the NASA lunar missions, the globe is an authentic dark grey (the Moon only looks white when its airless surface is fiercely illuminated by the Sun), and is marked out with landing sites for the Apollo missions.

Too big for our usual shelved storage, we put The Moon straight out into the museum while we decide what to do with it long-term. It's currently presiding over the front corner of the Glamour of Brighton display – this is a purely temporary display position, but who knows ... the counter volunteers are getting kinda used to it being there ...