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Our Social History Volunteers, Jean and Jane, have found some Victorian toys in their cupboard. The toys have now been carefully checked, properly wrapped and catalogued. But before they disappeared back into the cupboard, we photographed them for us all to enjoy.

The label which accompanies this toy suggests it is mid-nineteenth century. It may be a little later than that, judging from the barrow boy’s bowler, perhaps 1870s. The label also states, with great confidence, that it was manufactured by Chanell’s. Your blogger is not familiar with the name, and a quick search on the internet has not helped. Was it a local manufacturer?

The barrow is also interesting. Barrows were usually open, as in ‘wheelbarrow’. As you can see, this one opens at the top, and may have been constructed like that to allow the child to place its own items inside . Or, indeed, the toy may have originally been fitted with items for sale. It seems unusual – haven’t yet been able to find a parallel. Any ideas?

This lady, driving her pigs to market, is lovely! And the toy possibly dates to about the same time as the barrow boy. The whole item was apparently pulled, or pushed, and as it moved, the pigs skittered about. Definitely Gloucester Old Spot by the way….

Vintage toys are always very emotive. They tell us much about an era, and children.