Object of the month for February 2011

Each month we will feature a different item relating to the Museum with a unique story to tell.

Lithographed tin plate toy 1906

In celebration of the Chinese New Year of the Metal Rabbit. We have taken this charming tinplate toy of a rabbit family on a wheeled base out of our stores and will be putting it on display at the Museum of London Docklands.

The Museum charts amongst many stories the history of trade between China and London in the Warehouse of the World gallery. This toy was manufactured by the German toy maker Johann Meier and was imported into London through the docks and sold for one penny. Our records show that this toy was purchased from a street trader operating in the St Paul's area of London on 10th January 1906. Trade between Britain and China began in the 17th century and Chinese sailors had reached London on board East India Company ships by 1782. This initial small group lived around Pennyfields and Limehouse Causeway an area that developed into London's original 'Chinatown' prior to a move to Soho after the Second World War. Recent data records show over 78,000 Chinese people now live in London and Chinese New Year celebrations have become a popular part of London's cultural and social calendar.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful