From the Archive:

Good, old-fashioned fun-and-games

Running out of ideas for stocking-fillers? An early Edwardian solution to the problem is offered here by Herbert Wiles of Manchester, who opened a toy shop in Pall Mall in 1896 and moved to Market Street (the address on this catalogue, archive number .4597) in 1901. The games featured on this page give us a little snapshot of an era; we find women cyclists, croquet, the great days of rail, the planchette beloved of Victorian spirit mediums, and the Colonial heritage of ‘Assegai’ (the name of an African spear) and ‘Patchesi’ (a traditional game from India). The mathematical ‘Reversi’ (since reinvented as ‘Othello’) and ‘Schimmel’ have a more obviously European origin; Mr Wiles and his wife would visit the Leipzig Toy Fair in Germany every spring to bring back novelties for the British market.

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