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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

HAMLEYS!


William Hamleys famous toy shop was established in London in 1760, and quickly developed an international reputation for choice, quality and innovation. Two and a half centuries later, Hamleys is proud to continue the tradition of bringing you 'the finest toys in the world'
The wide-eyed children filling Hamleys today share something very special with our founder. A love of toys. Let's travel back in time to meet him.

Growing up in Bodmin, Cornwall, William Hamley might have become a tin miner. Or a fisherman. But William had other ideas. He dreamed of opening the best toy shop in the world. In 1760, he did, cramming 'Noah's Ark' with every kind of toy, from rag dolls to tin soldiers.

Over the street-sellers' calls and horses' hooves ringing on the cobbles, you could just make out the delighted cries of children as they approached the window.
By the time Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, Hamleys was already a London landmark. Families flocked to William's 'Joy Emporium', now owned by his grandsons.

So successful was the shop that in 1881 a new branch opened in Regent Street. To cope with the public's growing appetite for playthings, Hamleys added a further five floors of toys.

We can only imagine the spectacle, as toy theatres, puppets, pedal cars and miniature railway trains jostled for space in the largest toy shop in the world.

Hamleys faced hard times in the late 1920s, along with everybody else. In 1931, the picture looked bleak. The shop was forced to close and its fleet of horse-drawn delivery vans was stilled.

But this story has a happy ending. Walter Lines, the Chairman of the Tri-Ang company, bought Hamleys and worked hard to bring customers back. In 1938, his efforts were rewarded - Queen Mary gave Hamleys the Royal Warrant.

Even being bombed five times in the Blitz did not stop Hamleys. Wearing tin hats, staff served at the shop entrance, rushing in to collect the toys then handing them over at the door.

When she came to the throne, Queen Elizabeth II showed she still remembered the toys her grandmother had given her. She in turn gave Hamleys toys to her own children.

In 1955, her Majesty honoured Walter Lines with a second Royal Warrant as a 'Toys and Sports Merchant'. But it was the children's smiles that truly rewarded Walter Lines and his staff.

Arriving back in the present, we find Hamleys in its famous location at 188-196 Regent Street. Step over the threshold and you enter a world of joy and wonder.

Over the squeaking, bleeping, whizzing and chiming of toys, you hear children laughing excitedly as they goggle at the sheer choice over our seven floors of toys and games.

The toys may have changed, but if he were here today, we're sure William Hamley would recognise the same delighted faces as he guided you round the shop he dreamt of as a boy. Welcome to Hamleys.

4 comments:

  1. This Shop is sweet, cool, awesome, fantastic, super duper dazziling

    ReplyDelete
  2. This place is amazing it has got everything I have ever dreamed of having.

    ReplyDelete
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  4. The store looks great, especially warm. And my super favorite teddy bear. I've got a lot of teddy bears, but all bought here: http://www.toyswill.com/teddy-bear-c-8_24.html. Here's teddy bear is really great.

    ReplyDelete

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