Must Have Toys

Sylvanian Families Model Caravan, Tomy UK Ltd, 1989-1995 Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum

Museum staff are often asked which are the most popular toys in the Museum's collection. In 2004 an exhibition called Must Have Toys revisited the favourite childhood toys of the 20th century decade by decade and looked at changes in popular tastes over time. Here you can find out about the toys and toy makers explored in that exhibition.

The 20th century was a period of innovation and change. The rapid growth of mass media and communication, changes in attitude towards the needs of childhood, changing technology and new materials all played major roles in shaping the development of toys. Must Have Toys gave an insight into the development of toys in Britain, highlighting some of the most popular and iconic toys that have delighted children and adults.

This information is based on a booklet written for Must Have Toys by Halina Pasierbska, former curator at the V&A Museum of Childhood.


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Patrick Rylands Cool Cat

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Tel: +44 (0)20 8983 5200 | V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA