I think if you go to any British museum for toys or childhood you’ll encounter Noddy. I found several Noddy items at the V&A Museum of Childhood in London, and I wasn’t at all surprised to find plenty at the small toy museum we went to while on holiday last week.
Little Treasures Museum
Originally in Kemnay the museum moved into an old church on Seafield Street, Banff in 2019. The museum started out as a Little Treasures shop in 1990, and then a museum in 1996, and has been run by Emily Innes from the start, with some of Emily’s childhood toys included, along with the many, many she has bought and collected for display.
The museum has more than 350 dolls houses, some dating from as early as the 1860s as well as examples of all sorts of toys from the past two hundred years. There are dolls, teddies, soldiers, Barbies, Playmobile, Star Wars merchandise, cars and trains and everything else you could think of – Noddy included, of course.
We went on a Thursday afternoon during term-time, and we had the place to ourselves. It isn’t a very large museum but they have certainly packed a lot in. There are dozens of display cases absolutely packed with toys and games.
We spent a good hour looking at everything and exclaiming every time we spotted something that we recognised from our own childhoods. (And yes, I felt very old to see so many of my favourite things like Barbies, Polly Pockets, Quints Dolls, Playmobile and so on to be in a museum but I’m getting used to that sort of thing now.)
There is a play corner at the back with a modern toy kitchen, dolls’ house and other toys so that helped keep Brodie amused once he had looked around the displays, and that meant that we could keep looking ourselves.
The museum isn’t of the professional sort like the V&A one, but it is obviously a labour of love by Mrs Innes and her helpers. For example there wasn’t much information about the toys other than some labels on the cases stating things like the type of toy and sometimes a rough date, and a few were quite funny as they were pretty vague – ‘Dinky cars, very old’ (that’s not an actual example just the sort of thing we saw, I can’t remember precisely what was written).
However that didn’t detract from our enjoyment in the slightest. There was so much to see in every case, and so we’d have been there all day if we’d had to read information about every toy. Plus there really wasn’t room – any signs would have obscured the view of the toys!
Noddy’s Little Treasures
As I said before, Noddy was well represented. He was in at least six different cases, in fact!
My first spot was the set of Noddy crackers obviously bought from Boots – I’d guess these were from the 2000s and based on whatever TV series was on at the time. (You can make out the reflection of the church’s windows in the display glass on this photo.)
Then there was a whole shelf of Noddy things. Two soft dolls, a large figurine, a jack-in-the-box toy (which can be seen better in a later photo) with a battered Noddy car on top, three more Noddy cars, a kaleidoscope and a round tray which I think is one of those toys where you have to get little silver balls into the holes.
On looking closely at this one again, I’ve realised there’s a Noddy pinball game between the giant horse and the kaleidoscope – you’ll see another one better further down.
I like how the smaller Noddy doll is sitting on the larger Noddy’s lap as if he’s about to be read a story.
You can see that the shelf is labelled merely ‘Toys, 1950-1997’ as there were some non-Noddy things like the tiger in there too. (You can see there are Postman Pat toys below, and also my mum and Brodie through the case!)
Below is a better view of the jack-in-the-box and old car.
At the far end of the shelf was a Big-Ears in his car, a Noddy and Big-Ears pair of figures, and behind those is the other Toytown pinball game. I didn’t take many photos of the museum in general but here you can see some of the dolls in the case behind, and packs of cards to the left.
After that I spotted these two which I’m sure are Noddy’s house-for-one and his garage, with the Tellytubbies alongside.
Next I saw this Noddy jigsaw with what I think is a ring-toss game underneath (it was almost entirely obscured by other games).
There is another ring game in another case which can be seen better, along with a printed tray, Big-Ears and Mr Plod dolls, two more Noddy cars, a small Big-Ears figure, a Noddy puppet, what I think is one of those baby toys where you push the top down and the inside rotates (a modern version of the spinning top?) and a child’s bowl. Apologies for the terrible reflections!
Here’s the same shelf from the other side for a better view of the bowl, spinning toy and puppet. (The doll on the right is Miss Hoolie from Ballamory.)
The final item in this case was a modern Noddy story.
There was also a case full of books which featured some Blytons but I’ll get to them later as apart from one they weren’t Noddys!
Then lastly, or so I thought, I spotted a Noddy tea-set. These are behind the first Noddy toys I spotted so I must have walked right past them on my first walk around.
I then realised I had missed an entire side-aisle! Down there I found two more Noddy dolls.
One display cabinet was all books at the bottom and there were several Blytons, though they were all reprints and later collections.
Shadow the Sheepdog (Collins, 1950), Amelia Jane Again! (Dean, 1969 and the edition I had as a child), The Tale of Chuck and Clopper (Alligator Books, 2003), The New St Michael Book of Noddy Stories (St Michael [AKA Marks and Spencers], 1982), The Big Enid Blyton Story Annual (Purnell, probably 1976), My Favourite Enid Blyton Story Book (Hamlyn, 1970) and Tales of Brave Adventure (Dean, 1970).
So, if you happen to be on the north-east coast of Scotland (and why wouldn’t you, it’s a beautiful place!) then I recommend you drop into Little Treasures and spend an hour or so marvelling at the thousands of toys they have. I bet there’s something from almost everyone’s childhood to be found!