Would You Recognise Harrods' Toy Department 120 Years Ago?

What makes Harrods so iconic? The world famous department store transcended its humble grocery store beginnings, wove itself colourfully into London’s history, and now sits amongst the must-visit sites of the city. Very few department stores contend with Harrods’ level of prestige and, over the years, the toy department has been an integral part of the store’s success.

Harrods’ Toys and Games Department opened in 1894. Now, the world famous department store boasts of 330 departments spanning over seven floors, yet the toy department, since it opened, has remained one of the store’s most popular sections. We had a poke around in Harrods’ archives to discover what has attracted families to the toy department over the years, how things have changed (or remained the same!) and what the store looks like in 2018.

The Toys & Games Department, 1904

Harrods’ founder Charles Henry Harrod moved to the Knightsbridge store in 1849. By 1880, it was a bustling and thriving department store. Following a fire in 1883 which destroyed the store, it was rebuilt and the toy department was established in the 1890s.

The Toy Department, 1919

In August 1921, Daphne Milne, wife of A.A. Milne bought a teddy bear for her son’s first birthday from Harrods’ toy department. Her son was Christopher Robin and that bear later became the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh.

The Toy Department, 1940s

Toys were limited during the war and everywhere experienced shortages, but the Harrods Toy Department continued. Pictured below (bottom right) is the Harrods Toy Fair and the first doll was called Lillibet, the nickname given to Princess Elizabeth by her father King George VI.

The Toy Department, 1970s

At the end of the 80s, The Toy Department changed its name to the Toy Kingdom and remained so until its revamp this year and is now called Harrods Toys.

Harrods Toys, 2018

2018 welcomed the launch of the brilliant Harrods Toys. Now located on the fourth floor, its new home is the ultimate one-stop family destination. The toy department shares the space with kids’ fashion, services including the Toy Concierge and Baby Gifting, and Sweet Street.

What you need to know about before you visit

  • It’s designed for families. It’s clean, modern and fun. The colour coded rooms make it easier to find what you’re looking for and harder to get lost
  • All the toys stocked in the Toy Kingdom have been picked out from around the world by Harrods’ toy experts
  • The brilliant Toy Concierge will help you choose the perfect gift for your child and help source the most exclusive toys
  • The Baby Gifting service makes buying gifts for newborns super simple and brings together toys, clothes and healthcare
  • Sweet Street is the only place you’ll need to stock up on sweet treats from around the world
  • Mini Harrods is the best way to make the most of your visit to Harrods. Throughout the year, they host a range of activities including storytelling, seasonal workshops and The Toy Detective experience

Don’t forget you can shop Harrods’ toys online too! Click to visit the website.

Sponsored content in collaboration with Harrods.
Photos: Harrods Archives

About The Author

Lauren Hyland
Assistant Editor

Lauren keeps our readers up-to-date with the latest London events: from family outings to workshops for children to date nights in the city, she knows exactly what’s on and where. Contact lauren@mybaba.com

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