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Top 10 toys from 1950s and 60s Britain

Posted on 3 September 2015

The toys that inspired a generation

The toys of our childhood were certainly simpler than today. No computer games, no internet, in fact we rarely needed batteries let alone a wireless connection! The ultimate high tech toy was probably Scalextric and you were very lucky to have one of those.

We still loved simple games from the past like Jacks, but toys influenced by TV and film characters were the new thing - from Sooty puppets to James Bond’s Aston Martin and the ultimate… Thunderbird 2. It was F.A.B.!

Times were changing but play time still tended to be dolls and home making for the girls; cap guns and Airfix models for the boys. It was the likes of the Etch-a-sketch and Spirograph we all loved.

Here we’ve cherry picked 10 of our favourite toys from the 1950s and 1960s. Bet you had at least one of them and we bet you wish you’d kept the box!

1. Dinky toys

Few things were more exciting than a bright yellow box containing the latest model. Wall to wall Dinky, Matchbox and Corgi in the toyshop just waiting for our pocket money.

Original 1950s Dinky Toy with box

Source: retrowow.co.uk

 

2. Spirograph

The most amazing invention ever. Countless hours spent creating incredible, magical patterns and shapes with a few coloured pens and some plastic discs.

Original Spirograph set

Source: retrowow.co.uk

 

3. Etch-a-sketch

The laptop of its day! The instructions were simple: Turn the knobs to draw. To erase, turn it upside down and shake. I never quite mastered curves though…

Original 1960 Etch a Sketch box

Source: cecilbuffington.com

 

4. View Master

Another bright red classic and a must on the Christmas list. Cartoons, Batman and Doctor Who in glorious Stereoscopic vision.

The original red View-Master

Source: dailymail.co.uk

 

5. Sindy

‘The doll you love to dress’. Our own, far more wholesome, truly British alternative to Barbie and we loved her. Remember her Beatles era boyfriend, Paul?

Original 1960s Sindy Doll in box

Source: sindy.aluluei.com

 

6. Action Man

Dolls have never come more macho than this. He even had gripping hands. Deep sea diver, soldier, cricketer, martial arts expert. Was there anything he couldn’t do?

1960s Action Man figure

Source: centurytheatre.co.uk

 

7. Scalextric

Days spent mastering the fine art of keeping those little cars on the track. Hours spent mesmerized by cars going round and round and round the racing track. Heaven.

Original 1950s Scalextric set

Source: mullocksauctions.co.uk

 

8. Play doh

“Don’t play with that in the front room. You’ll ruin the carpet!”. Oops! Too late.

The Original Play-Doh Modeling Dough
Source: Jeepers Media

 

9. Dolls house

Usually made by Dad, with scraps of carpet on the floors and tiny curtains in the windows. Miniature versions of the home girls dreamt of living in with Prince Charming.

Original 1950s dolls house

Source: mydollshouse.me.uk

 

10. Space Hopper

We grabbed it by the ears (or where they horns?) and bounced our way into the 70s!

Original 1960s space hopper with box

Source: retrowow.co.uk

 

Has our pick of toys from simpler times put a smile on your face? Before you rush up to the attic in search of your original Mr Potato Head or Hornby train set, why not take a moment to share your play time memories with us?

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