webb archive

If one reads the “classic” histories of the Toy Theatre one gets the impression that although the Pollock business survived into modern times, all that had gone before was irretrievably lost. Plates had been broken up and other material had been destroyed.

Then in the 1980s a man walked into Pollock’s Toy Museum and announced that he was a descendant of the Webb family, not only that but the family still had all the plates, original drawings and much other material from that great Toy Theatre publishing house and its predecessors!

Sadly this material was put up for sale in 1994 and most went to the USA. Fortunately the family had produced a detailed inventory that revealed for the first time the treasures it contained, including material from Skelt and other earlier publishers and proofs for lots of plays that were never published.

The Webb Archive is now housed at the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University, New Jersey. The Library has decided to make the collection easily accessible and as a part of this, Laurie Webb, the great grandson of William Webb, the original publisher, has travelled to the USA this year to assist in cataloguing.


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