Interabang creates Royal Mail Stamps celebrating UK toys

Oh the nostalgia! A new set of ten stamps ‘captures classic toys that encouraged creativity and inspired millions of young minds’

All the toys featured in the Classic Toys set were made in the UK. To a certain age group, the Proustian effect will be overpowering. Stickle Bricks! Spirograph! Sindy!

In September 1963, Pedigree Toys Ltd launched Sindy, Britain’s new teenage fashion doll dressed in a range of outfits created by cutting-edge designers Foale and Tuffin. Sindy’s first collection included her iconic Weekender (in a red, white and blue matelot top with bell-bottom jeans), as modelled on the stamp, as well as Skating Girl and Pony Club
The precise origins of the ever-popular Spacehopper are uncertain, but what is known is that in the 1960s Aquilino Cosani patented a ‘Pon-Pon’ exercise ball that had many of the Spacehopper’s features. Marketed over the years under names such as the ‘Hoppity Hop’, the traditional Spacehopper was first introduced to the UK in 1969 by toy makers Mettoy. Originally blue in colour, and produced in a range of sizes, this large rubber ball with ribbed handles is best known for its bright orange colour and kangaroo face

Here they all are, beautifully presented by designers Interabang (and photographed by John Ross), marking British toy-making over 100 years. “British toymakers enjoyed a reputation for quality and innovation,” says Royal Mail spokesman Philip Parker. “These nostalgic stamps celebrate 10 wonderful toys that have endured through the decades.”

A drawing toy invented in the UK in the mid-1960s, Spirograph was originally developed as a drafting tool. As its design evolved, it soon became clear that Spirograph had even greater potential as a child’s toy. Its distinctive wheels and gears, which combine the principles of mathematics and art, have enabled children of all levels of artistic ability to create decorative, intricate patterns
Invented in the UK in 1969, Stickle Bricks offered an easy introduction to the world of construction toys. Designed to develop the imagination of young children, thanks to the appealing combination of chunky bricks in attractive bold colours, Stickle Bricks became a much-loved toy that encouraged children to stick, stack and build
W Britain Trojan Warriors: It was in the late 19th century that W. Britain Limited (also known as Britains and William Britain) first enjoyed success in the business of making toy soldiers. IN the 50s it began manufacturing 1:32 scale figures in plastic. Sold individually or in packs, the brightly painted toys, including Trojan and Greek warriors, British infantry and Wild West cowboys, fired children’s imaginations and became playroom essentials

Yes, I did have the Action Man Red Devil set and, yes, I did chuck him out of my bedroom window to see if the parachute would work. No, it didn’t.

Two years after the GI Joe toy arrived in the USA, in 1966 Palitoy introduced the youth of Britain to an exciting new toy called Action Man. This fully poseable action figure was originally produced in three different versions: Action Soldier, Action Sailor and Action Pilot. Each had painted hair (either black, brown, red or blond), a scarred face and came packaged with a basic uniform and dog tag. Action Man’s design was regularly updated: 1970 saw the addition of flocked hair; in 1973 the figures were fitted with ‘gripping hands’; the introduction of ‘Eagle-Eyes’ in 1976 enabled children to move the eyes by operating a small lever at the back of his head. Depicted on the stamp is the Red Devil parachutist
Merrythought’s quintessentially British teddy bears have been hand-crafted in Ironbridge, Shropshire since 1930. Founder of the company, Gordon Holmes, was the owner of a spinning mill in Yorkshire when he realised the possibilities of using mohair – the fleece of the Angora goat – in the production of soft toys. In 1931, the first catalogue revealed an eclectic range of 32 soft toys, including the original Merrythought teddy bear, whose patterns many of today’s designs are still based upon
Invented in the UK in 1969, Stickle Bricks offered an easy introduction to the world of construction toys. Designed to develop the imagination of young children, thanks to the appealing combination of chunky bricks in attractive bold colours, Stickle Bricks became a much-loved toy that encouraged children to stick, stack and build
The idea for Frank Hornby’s unique construction system originated in 1898, when he was trying to source small parts for a model crane that he was making with his sons. He realised that it would be possible to make all sorts of models if children had immediate access to parts, such as metal strips and plates with holes in, which could be fitted together with nuts and bolts “in different positions and at different angles”. After the invention was patented in 1901, the first ‘Mechanics Made Easy’ sets were produced in 1902. Five years on, Hornby changed the product name to ‘Meccano’
Hornby’s first toy trains, powered by a high-quality clockwork motor and ‘O’ gauge in size, were introduced in 1920. Five years later, the first electric Hornby train was produced. In 1938, Hornby Dublo was launched. About half the size of the ‘O’ gauge sets, the new ‘double-O’ range fitted into modest British living rooms more easily
For more than 65 years, Fuzzy-Felt has been encouraging the creativity of children three years old and upwards in the crafting of imaginative scenes using colourful pre-cut felt shapes that can stick on a flocked backing board. Perhaps less well known is the fact that the toy’s origins lie in the production of tanks during the Second World War. The tanks’ gaskets were made of felt and the manufacturing process created small offcuts which the factory workers’ children would play with. Lois Allan, whose outbuildings were used to make the gaskets during wartime, saw the potential for developing the idea, and launched the first Fuzzy-Felt set in 1950

The stamps are on sale from August 22 at 7,000 Post Office branches across the UK

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