Toyland, Sydney Street (no longer exists)

Photo:Sydney Street (present day)

Sydney Street (present day)

From a private collection

Memories from the 1950s

By Martin Nimmo, ex-resident, born in Hove
Submitted to the website by e-mail August 29, 2002

Virtually every Saturday morning when I was a child in the 1950s, my Dad took me "down-town" to Sydney Street in the, then far from fashionable, North Laine area. Dad, being a model soldier enthusiast, had only one objective, a shop (I think it was 2, Sydney Street) called "Toyland".

Toyland was run by Mr Gerald Jewson, a veteran member of the British Model Soldier Society, who naturally stocked the whole range of Britain's model soldiers as well as some others (including the smaller scale SAE - South African Engineers - sets of soldiers). While Dad's odd shillings went on more model soldiers for his collection - much to Mum's disgust - my 1/6d pocket money usually went on a Matchbox toy!

By Geoffrey Mead, in response to Martin Nimmo's memories (above)
Submitted to the website by e-mail, September 10, 2002

I too remember this shop at the south end of the street, near to the present David's Book Exchange, but I recall it being The Chocolate Box. Whatever it was called, it was a source of lead soldiers, which in the late 1950's were rapidly going out of favour to be replaced by plastics.

I recall the shop with affection (it had rather incongruous lace curtains!) as it was the destination of my first long shopping trip out on my own without Mum! I must have been eight or nine, so it was 1958-ish. I well remember the adventure from Dyke Road Drive, along Preston Road to London Road, Trafalgar St and into Sydney St ('do not talk to strangers, look both ways at Preston Circus, come straight back!').

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page

I too have fond memories of Toyland. If we were given a threepenny bit or sixpence that would be the place to go! Does anybody remember Warmingtons, the grocers, that I think was next door?

By Carol Hardy (11/11/2007)

I have only vague memories of Toyland. I do remember other model shops in the town well however. On Queen's Road there was "A.B.C." (Allan Brett Cannon), which was a somewhat up market model railway shop. They stocked mainly Bassett Lowke, and some live steamers. On Lewes Road there was a small model aircraft supplier. I can't remember what it was called we just knew it as 'Fred's'. On London Road near the Co Op was Southern Junior. I bought my first model aircraft kit there about 1950. By far the biggest though was Arthur Mullett's, in The Lanes. Reputedly it was the largest mail order model aircraft business in the UK. I bought a few quality engines there.

By raymond (Dickie) Bird (03/01/2009)

I remember my mother-in-law telling us about working in a model/toy shop in the late 50s. She would have been in her teens at the time. Does any one recall her, her name was Anita Wilkins, of Hove? (She sadly died in 2004 age 64.)

By Jane Prior (24/04/2015)

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