I spent nearly the whole of yesterday looking round the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, which is an outpost of the Victoria and Albert museum situated in London’s East End.
I was enthralled by the current exhibition of dolls’ houses, each one immaculately decorated in the style of the period in which it was made, but, as ever, I was drawn to the teddy bears and particularly loved the group pictured above. These bears, rabbits, and elephant (I don’t think the elephant is in the picture) belonged to the Catley children at the beginning of the twentieth century. The children made clothes for them and then took them on holiday and photographed their exploits.
I have a small collection of bears myself, and, after a glass of wine, I bought a new addition to my family. He looks quite old fashioned and would probably feel at home in the Catley children’s collection. However, now I’ve inspected him more closely, I’ve found that he’s extremely potbellied and it would be quite a challenge to tailor clothes for him. Here he is sitting in the museum garden.
Finally there’s this little fellow, and I very clearly remember having one of these when I was little. Happy days!
And very finally, Bonzo himself!