22
Jun
10

a glimpse into the past

Pollock's old shop in Hoxton as featured in the newsreels

What would one give to go back to one of the old London Toy Theatre shops and meet the publishers at work!

Now thanks to long forgotten newsreels and their availability through the internet one can do that, at least in a passive role!

The oldest, “Penny Plain – Twopence Coloured” , made by Gaumont in the 1920s, shows Benjamin Pollock at work in his Hoxton shop. He prints a block of four sheets, colours them using templates, cuts them out and performs them on one of his Toy Theatres with the help of his daughter Louisa.

The other two are by Pathe. “Tinsel Pictures” shows the publisher H.J. Webb making tinsel portraits, an art form of which he was the recognised master. This was made in 1932.

Perhaps the best however is the film “Model theatre” made in 1944 in those fragile end of war years just before Pollock’s shop was closed and it was virtually destroyed by a flying bomb.

Passers by, including   woman with a pram and a rather official looking gentleman chat with Louisa Pollock at the doorway of the shop. Two precocious looking schoolboys show an unbelievable interest in the antique prints and theatres on display in the window. Louisa and her sister Selina are then seen colouring and setting up a play to perform.

Ignoring the rather sad commentary added by Pathe that talks about two old ladies in an unknown run down shop cutting up paper dolls, this  film is delightful!

To see and possibly purchase copies of these films use a search engine on the internet. Direct links are not given here in case they change.

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