Friday, September 4, 2015

What I Did on My Summer Vacation:England Day 7, London Day 3 Part 2: Piccadilly Circus, Carnaby Street,Regent Street, Hamley's Toy Store (Part1)

  So here's part two of our last day in London. It was evening by this time, so the 'part two' refers to the post, and not the actual day. The day was nearly over.
  Our next stop was Piccadilly Circus. Other than the Eros statue there isn't a lot to see or do there. Ken likes the light up signs. There used to be a huge Tower Records store there, to the left in the picture below. It closed years go. I went there and got Jackson Brown's autograph for my sister once, but I missed Crowded House performing live, (and for free!), to promote their first album, because I was in Norwich babysitting.

Emma, Ivy, Cheryl, and a disgruntled Ken in Piccadilly Circus. Ken felt the girls were running him around. He had been looking forward to photographing the place.
Piccadilly Circus, so named for being a traffic 'circus', (Or circle, as we would call them here.), isn't any more. When I was there in 1986 they were in the process of moving the steps and Eros statue over to it's present position, at the side of the road. It looks crammed in and messy this way, and the name doesn't make sense any more. I suppose it was supposed to help the flow of traffic.
  There also used to be a cookie shop to the right and down the street from the site of the photo. I used to get the best chocolate cookies there all the time. They microwaved them until they were melty. Best cookies ever!
         From Piccadilly Circus it was a minute or two to Carnaby Street.
Cheryl, me, Emma, and Ivy about to enter Carnaby Street.
The sign says 'Welcome to Carnaby Street' now. The last time I was there they were still using the original sign, put up in the 60's, which said 'Carnaby Street Welcomes the World'.In the 60's Carnaby Street became famous as part of the fashion scene of  'Swinging London'.

The girls still found some interesting fashion items there.

This shop had interesting shoes.

In this shop Emma was tempted by this purse that looked like a carton of juice. She managed to resist, mainly because she had seen a very similar one cheaper somewhere else. She didn't see it again though.
The girls went on without us, and Ken decided to stop for a drink in this pub, Shakespeare's Head.
Ken and Cheryl outside Shakespeare's Head (?).

This is a bit blurry. Essentially they're claiming the pub used to be owned by some of Shakespeare's "distant relatives".
Ken ordering a pint in Shakespeare's Head.

Ken and Cheryl inside Shakespeare's Head.

I don't drink. I had another Appletiser. Ahhh...
When we had finished our drinks we set off down Regent Street to find Hamley's Toy Store. I didn't realize it was so close to Carnaby Street.

My mouth doesn't look like it's saying 'There it is.', but...there it is.
 Hamley's claims to be the world's largest and oldest toy store. The original store opened in London in 1760. The store moved to Regent Street in 1881. One hundred years later the store moved a few doors down, to larger quarters, and now boasts 7 floors of toys!
  Queen Mary gave the store a Royal Warrant in 1938.This marked Hamley's as a supplier to the royal family.
  During World War II the store was bombed 5 times!Those Nazis really hated toys I guess...

Hey! Tammy's out of the purse again!
The current queen, Elizabeth II, gave the store a second royal warrant in 1955, as "toy and sports merchant". Although the store passed down through the Hamley family for generations, it was sold to an Icelandic Investment firm in 2003. When the company collapsed the store was taken over by the Icelandic bank, Landsbanki. In 2013 the store was sold to a French toy retailer Group Ludendo for 60 million pounds!

  I was surprised to see this whole window display for Our Generation dolls in the front window, since I thought they were Target only products.

They have more Our Generation than Target does, as you will see...
It was getting late and we would soon have to catch our train back to Hull, so I rushed through to find the most interesting stuff.
Love these big deer!

I think that's an air conditioner. They must have been having some trouble. There was another one in the doll department, and it was still really hot in there.
So where are the dolls?! Quick!

Here's a small clearance area.

The creepy things below it are One Direction dolls, but what are these creepy things?
Looks like Stitch's psycho cousin. Or if Stitch had kids with The Cheshire Cat.
VIP Pets.

The Monster High section...

Some very monstery Monster High toys...

The Barbies were the other end of the Monster High aisle.

Then there was the Disney department...

35 pounds! That's more than $50! How much is this thing at home?
Aw! Baby Merida!

She's beautiful. Again, I am tempted, but can't you get these at home?

But look at that face!
 Actually, I can't find the Merida here.
The Frozen section....
Moving past Disney to the Ever After High section...

I love Bunny Blanc. And she's a blonde. Go figure.
Calinou dolls...

...and more Calinou...

The Corolle dolls. Now we're getting closer to what I want.

Dolls for babies...
And the big girls! I like the reddish haired one. (Naturally.)

Paris? How about London?

A stack of 10 or 12 inch dolls.
I was tempted on this girl.
But I was trying to be good. After all, she was more than $30, and I was still hoping to get a Girl For All Time Clementine, my one big splurge.
Doll houses and furniture.

The Playmobile department? How did this get in here? I think this was a different floor.
The Thomas the Tank Engine department. Fuzzy liked Thomas when he was little.

Back to the clearance stuff. Mooshkas, which I love, Pinkie Cooper, which I also like, and a doll I've never seen before.

  Each doll speaks several different languages.
Shiroh, Tisha, and Nina
And this one is Keza.
 Apparently she talks in several of the languages of Zimbabwe and Zambia...
(And she's still expensive, even on clearance.)
....or at least, she would speak, if she weren't the 'without mechanism' version. They weren't all 'without mechanism', but why do all the boxes say she talks if some of them don't? For those of you interested in the Rooti dolls you can go to their page HERE.

But it was the dolls under the Rooti dolls that were so confusing, and of interest to a lot of you. But this post has been really long already, so you'll have to wait for part two.


  1. Wrong again! I saw a better-made one at Topshop that was more expensive, so I bought neither.

  2. Yep - that shop is on my 'must visit"-list :D. It's a pity that it was bombed in WWII though :/
    I wish we would have such big toyshops in Germany! The biggest shop we have is toys'r'us... and I fear they're smaller than the original US shops. Here you need to hunt for every little doll.

    1. Did the 'Oh whatever' reply turn up on your comment? That was meant for Emma's comment, not yours. Well the one Toys R Us that I saw in England was a way smaller one than we have here.I'll be posting about that soon. Give yourself more time at Hamley's than I did!

  3. When I visited Hamley's last October, I was really disappointed in the doll section, there were hardly any dolls there at all, except for the Barbies, Monster Highs and things like that. Like you I wanted to see the A Girl for All Time one and there was one of them, the one from the 1940s, can't remember her name now, and her box was really battered, along side her there were some 18 inch dolls who again were in battered boxes, and about 3 Corolle dolls and that was basically it. I was so disappointed!!! I think when I visit London next month, if I get the chance I'll go to Harrods instead.
    Oh I did like all the Steiff bears and other animals on the ground floor at the back I think they were, they were lovely....expensive but lovely!

  4. Clementine is the 1940's girl. She's the one I liked best. I covered the Girl for all Time dolls in my latest post. When we went to Harrod's we did a quick run through, but I didn't see any dolls at all. Just stuffed (soft) toys. And the 'expensive' thing is true about Harrods too!

    1. Oh really, that would be the only reason I'd go to Harrods, I won't bother then. I went there some years ago, just found out it was September 2009 and met up with some BJD friends. We went to the toy department and they had some nice dolls back then, not what I collected at the time, but some lovely Tonners and vinyl 'play' dolls.....I think they used to stock Kidz n Cats but obviously not anymore. That's a shame. You've saved me a journey!!! :)
      And oh yes! Definitely VERY expensive!

    2. I won't completely guarantee there were no dolls, as I did a quick run through, but all I saw were stuffed toys like bears. They do have a lot of the dolls you mentioned on their web site, plus Corolle, Tonner, Gotz,Disney, Barbie, etc. You can see the dolls on the Harrod's site here: I'm not sure if they have them elsewhere in the store I didn't have a chance to find, and I wouldn't want you to miss out. Maybe once you're in London you could contact then by phone and find out for sure before wasting your time.

  5. Thanks so much for taking us to the toy store! Wow, so many dolls. It reminds me of a few shops that I used to go to 15 yrs ago, but most of them have closed down. I love seeing the Rooti dolls. Thanks for the link.

    1. You're very welcome. I know doll shows are having a hard time, and I guess ships too. We have no doll shops around here at all, but then I don't think we ever did. I loved the idea of the Rooti dolls speaking all those languages. They are dolls I'd never seen, so I hoped there would be other people who might enjoy seeing them too.


Thanks in advance for your comments.