"The world of reality has it's limits; the world of imagination is boundless"
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Swiss philosopher, 1712-1778
|Interior of the V&A Early Childhood Museum|
Heading into East London usually starts with a few drinks, a suggestion of the best curry house in the city and somewhere in between it involves a ride in a black London taxi. Not so this crisp autumnal morning, though we did hail your quintessential Essex old-boy cabbie, full of witty banter and anecdotes, easily encouraged with the occasional nod and carefully inserted sighs of "Oh... I had no idea?!" Lovely chap, really. As he drove, my attention focused on the streets outside, glass towers turned into housing estates, brown brick facades, flashes of green and asian shopfronts; we entered the bleakness known locally as Bethnal Green, only it wasn't bleak - it was pretty damn vibrant. Scribe Junior barely noticed, he sat - furrowed brow, completely immersed in his 'Where's Wally' book, scanning his favourite page - a particularly sinister scene containing gazillion images of Vampires and Rockstar types who resembled members of Kiss. Yes, I'm not sure that means either.
Old-Essex-boy insisted on pulling up directly outside our final destination - The V&A's Museum of Early Childhood, a wonderful Grade II listed building which housed the original museum opened by the Prince of Wales back in 1872. See - stick with me, I know things... okay, that was courtesy of Wikipedia. And, no, no - not that Charlie. Anyhow, its an impressive building where you will uncover that most wonderful collection of toys, lovingly donated, bought together for the enjoyment of children - and you know, the odd parent or two. It's a great place to wander through at your own place, or at break neck speed with Scribe Junior - we spent time with the interactive games on the ground floor before heading for the GIANT Robot and Dolls houses on the mezzanine level. Oh, and we played Snakes and Ladders, sans the dice. Trust me, imagination is a wild thing and this place encourages full use of the grey matter.
If you are ever in London and have a couple of hours up your sleeve - hail a cab, grab the tube, or a bumpy bus ride and head over to Bethnal Green, this museum is quite delightful, its completely free, though a small donation is encouraged, ahem. And don't worry, you don't need a child at your side to visit, even big people are welcome! Just remember to share, okay?
Photocredit via yours truly (myself)