V&A Museum of Childhood Part Three – Dolls after 1960

13 May

Of course, when I visited the Museum of Childhood, this was the big topic for me. I mainly went to see the kind of dolls that I collect, and the kind of dolls I might have had as a child. You know what they say about the best-laid plans, though. Just as I was standing by the main doll display case I made an acquaintance, which led to me not taking as many photos as I’d have liked. To be honest, at first I tried not to make eye contact because I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to help geeking out about dolls if I had a conversation, which hardly seemed fair or socially appropriate. However, she obviously felt like chatting and we sort of fell in together. Turned out that she was born the same year as I was and we remembered a lot of the same toys, so it was actually pretty fun to talk to her, even though I did end up answering questions like “so how many dolls so you think you have?” And “isn’t it kind of creepy, having a disembodied head in your handbag?” (it was a reroot project) which I’d usually try to avoid from non-doll people.

It was interesting to hear somebody else’s stories. For instance, the lady I fell in with (we didn’t exchange names) remembered this Dusty doll, which I’ve seen before as an adult collector although I never had one as a child:

She actually said she never liked her because she thought she looked rather masculine (hers was dressed as an air hostess, which bulked her out a bit too). I can’t say I’d go for her myself – I actually quite like her body, but I’m not sure about that crazy tan or the mullet …

My acquaintance also had Day To Night Barbie:

And said she loved the way her outfit could be transformed. Like many non-doll people, though, it was Sindy and Blythe who particularly seemed to impress her (Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of their beautiful Kenner Blythe):

As well as the popular and very collectible Sulkies, there were also other Sindys dotted around the Museum. For example, I saw this display about parts testing, which featured Smirky Sindy:

… And a display on swimming dolls featured the more modern versions of Sindy and Paul:

Funny how much things change even in 15 years, I’m sure there would be an outcry now if a doll was released who was presumably designed to be “saved” by a male Lifeguard doll …

Of course, Sindy came as no big surprise to me as I own some myself (theirs were in beautiful, perfect condition though, unlike my motley crew). These, on the other hand –

These are Tressy dolls. I was shocked! I’ve honestly never seen this face on Tressy before, and now I’m in love. When I looked it up, I found that the doll I was more used to thinking of as Tressy, the one I see on eBay mostly, is the first version from the 60s. She’s OK, but for me she isn’t “wow” … These later Tressys from 1979 are much more my kind of thing, probably because she’s so Sindylike. I want one so much! Maybe one day, when I’m off the doll ban …

Anyway, here’s three more that got me nostalgic. Firstly, Pretty Miss Emma:

Pretty Miss Emma was produced by Palitoy in the late seventies. If you lifted her left arm she would walk, and if you lifted her right arm she would talk. This particular doll was actually the prototype. I don’t think I owned one of these, but somebody I know must have done, because her face looks so familiar … She isn’t my usual kind of doll, but actually I really like her nonetheless.

Next: another Palitoy product, Pippa …

These tiny things (six and a half inches tall!) were very popular in the seventies.  I know for sure that I had Pippa dolls and its a shame I didn’t hang onto them as they’re now at least as collectible as Sindy, maybe more so. I remember that her fashions were really beautiful and nicely produced too.

And here are my darlings:

There have been many versions of Strawberry Shortcake and friends released over the years, but these were definitely the ones I had. I owned every single one and I loved them! Thinking back, though, I didn’t know anything about their characters as I never saw the cartoons, so I don’t know how I ended up with them? For a long time now I’ve been thinking about buying them back. I’ll probably get round it it one day, it would be lovely to have them again.

Lastly, some superheroes:

At the top you can see Mego’s Wonderwoman, produced in the mid seventies. Wonderwoman was a really popular character, so maybe it’s not surprising that she got a doll modelled after her. I love how serious she looks.

To finish, a Mego Batman and Robin! These two were made in the early 70s, and I think they look great. It’s kind of hard to tell on Natman, but Robin’s knees obviously bend properly. I bet they’d be great fun to play with.

So, that’s it for tonight’s post. Did any of these dolls get you feeling nostalgic too?


13 Responses to “V&A Museum of Childhood Part Three – Dolls after 1960”

  1. Taswegian1957 May 13, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    This would probably be the area I would linger in too although my dolls were mostly from the very early sixties to early seventies. I was surprised when I first found the other versions of Tressy too as I had the first Palitoy version. It was only when I was reading up on where Mary Make-Up fitted in that I saw the later versions which I would never would have picked as Tressy otherwise. Pippa and her friend look like they might be based on Topper’s Dawn as the size is similar. I didn’t have Dusty but I do remember her in the late sixties or early seventies in the airline hostess uniform. Here she was marketed as an Australian girl who worked for QANTAS which may account for the weird tan and the mullet :). They pop up on eBay quite often. I don’t know how they were marketed in other countries. If I saw one in her original outfit I might get her one day.
    Growing up in Australia we had a mixture of British and American dolls to choose from with Barbie eventually winning out over Sindy. Curiously I never saw a Tammy on sale here, mine came from England.

    • Teresa B May 15, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

      That’s what I thought Pippa was at first, I thought she was Dawn. I played with my aunts Dawn dolls when I was little. Then my other (evil) aunt took them from my grandmother’s house and sold them at her garage sale. Someone got a steal on those vintage beauties.

      • Taswegian1957 May 15, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

        Curse the evil aunts of the world.

    • barbielea May 17, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

      Hi Taswegian! It was quite an education for me, looking up Tressy. I think I like the second wave version (she is a bit pouty and Steffie-like) and this last version best. Glad it’s not just me who was unaware of these later versions!

      I remember Pippa, but not Dawn – how strange. I wonder if Pippa was an English version? (As Sindy was an English version of Tammy). Speaking of Tammy, I do want one so much ❤ but they're rising in price over here and rarely listed … Maybe one day …

      • Taswegian1957 May 18, 2015 at 12:45 am #

        If I ever decide to rehome any of mine you have first refusal 🙂

      • barbielea May 18, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

        Cool beans!! 🙂

  2. Teresa B May 15, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    I love all of these. I have a soft spot for dolls of nostalgia. 🙂 I actually have that exact Strawberry Shortcake doll in the picture. I also have the smaller dolls of Strawberry, Lemon Meringue, and the purple one with the glasses (don’t remember her name.) I believe they are at my parents house, I should grab them and make a post! 🙂 I actually really like Dusty! I’ve never heard of her, she must have not been very popular. Pete’s shirt is a perfect match for my Barbie vintage Ship Ahoy fashion. All the Windy dolls are just beautiful. Did you notice that Day to Night Barbie was not wearing her two-toned pink and white heels that she came with originally?

    • Teresa B May 15, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

      Sindy, not Windy, phone auto-correct…..

    • barbielea May 17, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

      Oh yes, please do do a Strawberry Shortcake post! They are so adorable. I wish I knew what had happened to mine …

      No, still not convinced about Dusty haha! If she wasn’t quite so orange I might be more sold on her!

      Yes, I did notice that D2N wasn’t wearing her original shoes!! I forgot about it when I was writing this up though! Well spotted!

  3. Andrea May 15, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    I could spend a lot of time in that doll section. Day to Night Barbie was among the first dolls I bought when starting to collect Barbies seriously, or should I say consciously? Tressy is a doll I never saw in our local toy stores as a child, but one offered a lot of Tressy fashions and I had quite a few of them. They came with the cutest accessories like a typewriter, Books, a hatbox, postcards, a passport and airline tickets. Pippa looks very much like Dawn and I remember I had three of those little Dawn ladies for my 1/12th scale dollhouse. The Swimming Sindy is in my collection, but I never saw Lifeguard Paul before. I would have thought they would have been a little less chauvinistic in the 80ies.

    • barbielea May 17, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

      Hi Andrea 🙂 yes, they did have some boxed Tressy Fashions there I think, I e been looking at Tressy on eBay since this trip so I might be getting confused. The accessories are pretty amazing. I really need to get into this doll when I am off my ban!

      Haha I remember Sindy in the late 80s and early 90s when she was on the shelves, and she seemed rather dated to me then – so the “save me Paul!” Business doesn’t surprise me 🙂


  1. Tressy (4th Edition)  | barbiebeauties - May 31, 2015

    […] 🙂 so, when I visited the V&A Museum of Childhood earlier in the year, I completely fell in love with a version of Tressy that I’d never seen […]

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