Famous (and valuable) BBC Playschool Humpty Dumpty toys found in Gospel Oak toyshop – 40 years after they were made
- Credit: Harry Taylor
Two stars of hit vintage BBC children’s show Playschool have been found in a Gospel Oak toyshop – 50 years after they first graced TV screens.
Several Humpty and Jemima dolls from the 1960s programme were found in the storeroom of Kristin Baybar’s toy shop, which has been open since the early 1980s. Kristin, who is now 84, made and supplied the iconic toys to the show.
The dolls were a favourite for youngsters during the show’s run between 1964 and 1988.
They were unearthed by David Ward, who has volunteered at the treasure trove for 20 years.
Humpty and Jemima were found alongside several owls. “Kristin was looking for a particular piece of sheepskin for something, and I remembered seeing this sheepskin fabric poking through a bag in the storeroom,” said David.
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When he went upstairs to check, he found the bag of unstuffed owls, who have sheepskin around their eyes, and on further discovery found the Humptys and Jemima.
“I knew straight away what they were,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. It felt like I’d gone back in time. After 40 years in a plastic bag, they looked like new.
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“I felt an overwhelming urge to bring them back to life.”
The Humpties were produced in different colours in the 1960s when the BBC was looking for new toys.
An original Humpty from the show was sold at auction for £6,000 in 2014.
The Humptys were chosen as the BBC sought to positively portray racial diversity in the 1960s: despite being different colours, the toys were otherwise identical. They, along with the owls, were made by Kristin from Heals fabric, when she worked at the firm.
The Aladdin’s cave, in Mansfield Road, has become a Hampstead institution over the years. Kristin still owns the shop and lives in the area.
David, who started volunteering there when he was 14, told the Ham&High: “Last week we had four generations of one family in here, wanting to buy the same toy they’d had before. It’s amazing how many people keep on coming back, it means that much to people.
“So many people in Hampstead have a memory of us from their childhood.”
As well as selling children’s toys, the emporium also stocks miniatures and dolls houses.
Since the discovery, some of the toys have been stuffed and sold.
One of the new Humptys is also being raffled off, with proceeds going to Foal Farm Rescue Centre.