University of Leicester eBulletin

Talking Toys: Pastimes Past Explored at Talk

June 2003

Crazy about construction kits? Mad on Action Man? Hot on hula hoops? A wealth of memories about toys of yesteryear were stirred up recently at a talk by experts from the University of Leicester.

On June 17, members of the East Midlands Oral History Archive described some of the pursuits and pastimes that made up many of our childhoods at a talk at the University of Nottingham.

Sarah Ferrier, Education Officer, said: “The Archive has produced a CD on Toys and Games: An Oral History. The accompanying teacher's book has now sold out, but pdf versions of the book can be provided for schools on request. The CD can be used to support learning at Key Stages 1 and 2, and is intended to help children think about the toys and games that their parents and grandparents played with when they were children.”

Tristram Hooley, Computer and Technical Officer, added: “The accounts contained on the CD range from the early twentieth century to the present day, and cover a wealth of childhood memories, including tales of mischief and adventurous play, from the days when toys were a luxury, to crazes like Action Man, hula hoops and computer games.

“There have been a lot of changes in childhood, but, there are also a lot of similarities in the way children have played across time. The CD is based on oral history interviews deposited in the East Midlands Oral History Archive and would be fascinating listening for anyone interested in history, children, toys and games.”

The pack was sent out free to primary schools in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. An electronic version is available to schools in the East Midlands through the East Midlands Broadband Consortium learning portal. If you would like copies of the CD (priced at £7 + £1 postage) contact the East Midlands Oral History Archive, 0116 252 5065 or email

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: June 2003
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