Gamleys

Photo:Gamleys store

Gamleys store

From a private collection

Loads and loads of toys

By Sasha, schoolgirl

My favourite place is Gamleys toy shop and why I like it is because it's got loads and loads of toys. I've seen some toys there that I really like.

There's a lovely mummy lion and a little doggie, which my friend's got. He's a Dalmatian and my friend named hers Spotty. There's also a fishing game with magnets on the ends of strings and you have to pick up sea creatures and octopuses and stuff like that.

I got my Beanie babies there and they're really cute, especially my mummy leopard and her baby cub, Sneaky. I play with them a lot.

I don't get to go to Gamleys very often because my mum doesn't let me, but sometimes we go there after I've been to the dentist and I've been a very good girl or when we have to get somebody a birthday present or something like that.

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
I used to love going into Gamleys on a Satruday morning. In the early 1980s I used to walk to my friend's house way along New Church Road (I lived at the top of Palmeria Ave). Gamleys was one of the shops I used to go in, like the camera shops and the big stationers. Gamleys had a wooden bear in the eastern half where the model kits and trains were. I spent my earnings from delivering newspapers for J.H.Taylors (just up the street) there. Or at Kemp Models at bit further along.
By Trevor Sharp (23/10/2005)
When I was young, Gamleys didn't have a shop in Hove. Their principal outlet was in the Imperial Arcade off Western Road, next to what used to be the side entrance to M&S. I was privileged to work there as a 'Saturday boy' in the mid-60s. There weren't many competing toy shops in Brighton in those days - one half-way down Preston Street and one near Preston Circus as I recall. I never did ask the manager whether 'Gamleys' was a play on 'games' and 'Hamleys' the big London toy shop.
By Chris Green (01/12/2005)

I too used to go into Gamleys, but this was in the fifties and if Mum or Dad paid five bob (25p) for a toy, they were skint for the rest of the week, so it was not very often that I was in there. Toys in those days were cap guns and if you were very lucky, Bayko building sets. I still have an old Bayko set sitting in my house. I wonder how much it would be worth now.

By John Wignall (08/05/2007)

I remember Gamleys in The Imperial Arcade very well during the fifties and sixties as I often used to go in there and gawp at toys I could not possibly afford (or my Mother could not). It always seemed such an exciting shop. I recall seeing some of the first Dr Who merchandise there as well when it was first available. I think that my Mother once bought me a quiz game called Magic Robot which I had for many years.

By Edward Castle-Herbert (13/08/2007)

I remember Gamleys before and during the war. The Hornby trains were superb and they had the latest 4-6-2 Pacific class Princess Elizabeth locomotive in a velvet lined box. The cost was one hundred and five shillings. It was of course five guineas but the guinea was going out of fashion by then hence shillings. There was also another smaller toyshop opposite Cobb's furniture store named Clapshaw and Cleave and they used to give me model kits to build for their shop window.

By John Wall (09/09/2007)

It's so, so sad Gamleys has now closed down.

By Simon (10/08/2008)

I worked at Gamley's from the early 60s until 1975. I started as a trainee manager under Mr Davies at the Littlehampton store, then as manager at Lewes. I then moved to the Head Office branch in Church Road with Mr Jenner later taking over from him at his retirement and when the new large toy shop opened at no 66 100 yards down the road. My shop then specialized in photographic, sports (later as a dive shop) and fancy goods (Mrs Jenner running that department). During my time the old Hove Town Hall burnt down and the new one built (I set up a cine camera in the front office taking a few shots every hour, so have the old coming down and the new going up all in about three minutes. It was a great shop to work for and lots of fun being there as diving started to be a very popular sport. The Directors were Mr Lord (founder "no matter what the situation, parents will always find money for toys), Mr. Townsend, Mr. Wood (who died too young), Mr. Roy Bradford and Mr. Heasman.
Great days.

By John MacMahon (17/12/2008)

Does anyone remember a tiny old fashioned shop painted pink, opposite the Level, near the Open Market, my granny used to call it The Doll's Hospital, and we'd buy little feeding bottles and shoes for my dolls there in the early sixties. I think it became a hairdressers.

By Ann Durrant (20/04/2009)

Ann, if you go to the messages board on this site and search for Dolls Hospital you will find that this topic was covered by a number of correspondents who remembered this shop.

By David Ward (22/04/2009)

Hi, I trained under Mr Davies at the Littlehampton shop, he was quite a character, very strict, but fair. I remember one day after we had closed he found his car missing, he called the police and they drove him around in the hope that he may see it. It was only after a quarter of an hour or so that he remembered that he had come to work by train.
I hear that he sadly passed away a few years ago.

By John MacMahon (29/04/2009)

Around the start of November 1949, I had my nose pressed against Gamleys window in Hove looking at the wonderful fireworks on display. I must have looked really sad because a kindly man stopped and asked if I would like some. He bought me a box of assorted fireworks for 2/6d, and when he gave it to me, I thanked him and took off like a rocket. I believe he really was a kindly man.

By Richard White (12/02/2011)

I remember Gamley's from the early 1950s when my parents bought me a tricycle for my 3rd birthday which I rode out of the shop very proudly, dinging the bell on the handle bars. Happy memories of Hove from that era.

By Hilary Gould (09/03/2012)

I used to be a lorry driver for Gamley's, I used to deliver to three shops - one I can't remember, but it was in a very large shopping centre not far from my second drop Orpington, and my third drop was the Whitgift Centre, Croydon. The depot manager was a very nice chap, Phil Slaynee (think it's spelt right). It's a great shame Gamley's closed down, it was a great job and great people to work with.

By Donald Waler (20/04/2012)

I was a manager at Gamleys from 1973 to 1979 and remember Don, John Macmaghon and the people you both talked about. I started as trainee manager in the larger Hove shop (the manager was Mr Farmer), knew John down at number 78 Church Road branch. Then I moved to Imperial Arcade to work with Peter Fellows before taking over first the Littlehampton branch, then Bognor. When I returned from living in Mexico for a few years, I was very sad to see the firm had closed down. I think it was one of the jobs I have most enjoyed. Nice to be dealing with kids and parents mostly in happy moods.

By Peter Scarratt (09/05/2012)

I remember Gamleys in the arcade well, first as a young boy when it had so much to attract me (and loads like me) and later after I left school and started work at the Toy and Model Market in Churchill Square. One of my occasional jobs was to pop over to Gamleys and take a look at the prices they were charging for particular, popular, items so that we could set our prices accordingly.

By Geoff (10/05/2012)

I remember Gamleys in the Arcade as a child growing up in the 50s, this was a wonderful place. I have always loved trains and I so wanted an electric train set, but I had to be happy with a clockwork one from Gamleys, as my parents were always hard up. Every Xmas I hoped I would get an electric train set, but each time I was disappointed. In 2001 I saw a 1956 Triang Train Set for sale, this was the one I so wanted as a child, so after parting with £150, I finally got my electric train set!

By Kevin Theobald (29/03/2013)

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