Collection of Toys donated to Waterford Treasures 

Rosemary Ryan, Acting Curator Manager, Waterford Treasures, toy collection donor Sandra Thompson & Cllr. Joe Conway, Mayor of Waterford City & County - Photo Garrett Fitzgerald.

Collection of Toys dating back over 100 years donated to Waterford Treasures 

A wonderful collection of toys has been donated to Waterford Treasures, some dating back over 100 years; the collection has been gifted to the museums by Waterford lady, Sandra Thompson.

Mayor of Waterford Councillor Joe Conway accepted the important collection of toys into Waterford Treasures, from Sandra Thompson who has over the years contributed greatly to Waterford’s heritage and history.

The collection was previously displayed in the home of Sandra’s grandparents Lady and Sir Edward Pearson, nephew of Viscount Lord Cowdray, the collection today includes many dolls; a 1910 teddy bear; board games; local Quaker family toys; faithful reproductions of the traditional horse-drawn caravan; another wagon/ caravan, a 1940s toy theatre and butcher’s shop made by Sandra’s parents; and a Peter Rabbit tea set and books.  Sandra also gifted important documents to Waterford City & County Council Archives.

Commenting at the occasion Sandra expressed herself to be very happy to be handing over the care of her collection to Waterford Treasures ‘especially if it will encourage others to do the same’.

Waterford Treasures

Rosemary Ryan Curator Manager (Acting) at Waterford Treasures says, “The dolls are fascinating: historical dolls, dolls with occupations such as a water carrier from Morocco, together with dolls in traditional costumes.  A beautiful item is a doll in a Victorian pram with a magnificent wardrobe of handmade clothes that Sandra bought in the Ballinamona sale in 1983. There’s a doll dressed as a nun, made from a clothes peg and some dolls made with pipe cleaners including an Irish pixie from 1965.”

“We are extremely grateful to Sandra for such a generous gift, wonderfully cared for over the years. With the dolls, there’s one little character more fascinating than the next. We will display them as soon as possible – museums are all about the future.”

The historical figures are very important, some sixteen of which were meticulously and expertly handmade by the Lacy sisters, Sandra’s grand-aunts, 1936-1942.  Here are Hamlet, Robert the Bruce and the four Kings Henry VIII, James I and the two Charles I and II; Queens Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Victoria (two), Alexandra, Mary (two) and Elizabeth II (and the Duke of Edinburgh) on her coronation.  Others are Guy Fawkes, Napoleon, Nelson, Disraeli, Charlie Chaplin, Bertrand Russell, Princess Anne in her wedding dress and Farah Fawcett Major (remember her, made by Airfix).

20th century dolls include a Pedigree doll from 1945 in the original box with costumes and their patterns; a 1950s Cindy doll, a 1960s Action Man and the famous Irish-made Crolly doll. There are cabbage patch dolls and Harry Potter in their original packaging.

Some thirty countries are represented by dolls in traditional dress, including an Irish Colleen in red and green, a Berber couple, a tiny wooden Zulu doll and some very important Japanese dolls. Wax, china, papier maché, wooden as well as plastic dolls are here. Needless to say the educational value is enormous.

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