Toy shop goodness: Hamleys of Regent Street, London W.1.

Peter and Jane: We Have Fun. Lady Bird Books. 1964 / 2004.

Hamleys toy shop based in Regent Street, London, England, was founded in 1760 by William Hamley. It is the biggest and oldest toy shop in the world, and prides itself on selling not only traditional toys but newer toys that enter the market. Hamleys Book of Toys, Sports and Games, Christmas 1983 states

“Whilst traditional toys and dolls are as popular as ever, a vast revolution has nevertheless taken place in toyland. Electronic games and home computers have captured the imagination of children and their parents throughout the world.”

The Hamleys book goes on to announce the creation of a vast 4,000 sq. ft electronic games complex called ‘A Step Ahead’ with trained technology advisors on hand to guide customers through what surely must have been described back then as ‘video game heaven’.

A Step Ahead. 1983. Hamleys.

Hamleys also announce another new department ‘Small World’ featuring international dolls furniture and miniatures, as well as extra space given over for their ground floor Star Wars department.

The 123 page Hamleys Christmas book is wonderfully presented with photographs and descriptive text, giving us a sense of not just what the toys looked like back in 1983 but what they did, too. Enjoy the scans!

The 1983 Christmas Book of Toys, Sports and Games by Hamleys. Front and rear cover. The front ‘cover subject’ is “Toy Lady” while the back features one of Hamleys famous bears.

Waddington Games. 1983. Hamleys.

MB Games. 1983. Hamleys.

Steiff soft toys. 1983. Hamleys.

Masters of the Universe toys. 1983. Hamleys.

Barbie dolls and Barbie Dreamvette car. 1983. Hamleys.

Britains toys. 1983. Hamleys.

Palitoy Action Force and Action Man. 1983. Hamleys.

Sindy dolls and Sindy Superhome. 1983. Hamleys.

Playmobil space sets. 1983. Hamleys.

Big Trak. 1983. Hamleys.

Battledroids. 1983. Hamleys.

Strawberry Shortcake dolls. 1983. Hamleys.

Corgi American La-France fire engine. 1983. Hamleys.

Spirograph. 1983. Hamleys.

Merit science toys. 1983. Hamleys.

Dukes of Hazzard toys. 1983. Hamleys.

Lima Inter-City 125 train set. 1983. Hamleys.

Lundby doll houses. 1983. Hamleys.

Space Shuttle pinball game. 1983. Hamleys.

Pogo stick. 1983. Hamleys.

Snoopy and Peanuts merchandise. 1983. Hamleys.

Plasticine Super Fun Pack and Postman Pat moulding set. 1983. Hamleys.

Mr. Men Compendium of Games. 1983. Hamleys.

Dekker activity sets. Postman Pat and Playschool. 1983. Hamleys.

Electronic Chirping Bird toy. 1983. Hamleys.

Tiny Tears dolls by Palitoy. 1983. Hamleys.

Terrahawks toys. 1983. Hamleys.

Star Wars toys. 1983. Hamleys.

Space rifle toy gun. 1983. Hamleys.

Hamleys “A Step Ahead” Electronic Games Complex

Philips Videopac system and games. 1983. Hamleys.

Coleco Vision and Atari. 1983. Hamleys.

Dekker superhero costumes. 1983. Hamleys.

Dracula and witch costume. 1983. Hamleys

Funny face disguise kit. 1983. Hamleys

Doodle Art poster and pens in a tube sets. 1983. Hamleys

Felt tip pens. 1983. Hamleys

That’s all folks. As always, thanks for looking πŸ™‚

Further reading: A history of Hamleys by Hamleys


30 thoughts on “Toy shop goodness: Hamleys of Regent Street, London W.1.

  1. Really dragging up the memories there.

    I had a Spirograph a few years before, the Big Trak came later.

    But I remember excitedly visiting Hamleys computer game section to buy Dark Star for my ZX Spectrum that I’d been saving up for. I also remember coming home on the train and reading the cassette inlay over and over. Despite the game looking nothing like the artist’s impression it didn’t disappoint.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My word, what a treasure trove of toy adverts, especially all those board games. I still have that same edition of Cludo, love that game. I had some of those Star Wars toys as well and that intercity train set! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Paul. You’re right, it’s a treasure trove of toy ads! Glad you mentioned board games, as these featured heavily throughout our family and childhood (and still do!). Cool you still have that edition of Cluedo after all this time!

      Star Wars – check! But the Intercity 125 train set… excellent you had that! I remember all the hype on TV and in the newspapers when the 125 was first launched to much fanfare… so to have a toy of that back then must have been a real treat 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great mix of stuff – ’83 right on the cusp of the electronic/video game boom I suppose. Those superhero outfits are a laugh! I got a pinball game very similar to Space Shuttle after having a go on a proper machine.

    We visited Hamleys in 2003 on my first ever trip to London. Naturally, I was looking for wrestling stuff, and going up and up it seemed like I was out of luck but then… there they were! A huge section packed with action figures, playsets and t-shirts! Awesome. They were all very expensive though, so I was only allowed one. I remember this group of guys appeared, who must have been twenty or something, more excited than me at the choice available. “Wow they have Shawn Michaels! Coooool!” Hilarious. I could have spent hours in there browsing but we had to hurry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jacob, glad you enjoyed the mix!
      Yes, 1983… an exciting time for electronic games in all their shapes and guises. I can remember us getting Nintendo game and watch handhelds for Christmas – Snoopy tennis, Donkey Kong and such, plus tabletop arcade games that ate up batteries like no one’s business. Yet, something as simple as the humble Space pinball you mentioned could equally provide a lot of fun back then!

      Love your story of the Hamleys visit! And so cool you got to find that wrestling toy section. Can imagine that was truly a feast for the eyes, knowing that Hamleys would have paid a lot of attention to making the displays just magical!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah yes, those big, bulky batteries… and the look on dad’s face when you tell him they’ve already run out. Donkey Kong, there’s a classic – and still going strong now on the Nintendo Switch.

        It was something, indeed! The wrestling section alone seemed bigger than most local toy shops. Of course they had all the brand new figures as well, which usually took a while to reach us in old Norfolk. No wonder those guys were so excited!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow there’s just too much to comment on really but I did have the Cobra Shadowtrack from Action Force though it didn’t actually have tracks! It was a 6 wheeled truck in a 2 plus 4 configuration. And yes I did have a Millennium Falcon.
    But what gets me are the prices – I thought they looked cheap in these ads but then I did the Inflation calculations and remembered how tough times were in the 80’s and I realise these were quite expensive. Fantastic post/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks FT, glad you enjoyed the pics! Many of my friends had Action Force in the 80s and I was always impressed by that line. But, as you say – and interesting you did an inflation calculation – 80s toys were never really that cheap were they.
      Pocket money/odd job money never stretched so far to buy everything. I think in 1983 I was heavily buying Britains soldiers as my top choice of toy – having grown out slightly of Star Wars figures and Action Man. Plus, there was a lot of handheld and tabletop game systems available – which were always tempting to save up for, or at least wait until Christmas came!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Spirograph! I used to love that when I was younger. I’d be forever doodling around in circles.
    One thing I noticed about these pictures, though, is how dated it was back in 1983. At the time, I seem to remember it being ultra modern! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

      • Lol 🀣 As editor I could easily edit ‘Spita’ to ‘Spira’ but it would ruin the flow of this fun convo (yes, I loved you too, still do in fact! 😍)

        Plus, mate… you have about ten billion names, so why not add ‘Spita’ to the mix πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

        Liked by 2 people

      • !! TVTA Star Letter !!

        Dear editor of TVTA,

        First, may I congratulate you on your most wondrous vintage toy site.

        Second, it has been a joy to see your latest post regarding Hamleys toys. Well done to all concerned!

        Third, may I extend my regards to all the fun commenteers in this post, especially in relation to people being named after famous toys! I am impressed, for example, that your TVTA good friend – Spira – is named after the famous Spirograph toy. Being named after a famous toy is a jolly good thing… imagine the Barbies and Sindys and Buzz Lightyears and GI Joes of this world – each named after a toy! Marvelous.

        As someone who is also named after a famous toy, I can only extend my heartfelt congratulations to all.

        Yours sincerely,

        Mr Potato-Head

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I just finished one conversation with a parent where I stressed that I find it incredible ( and damaging) that nowadays kids at the age of 6 to 12 have no time to play…
    Being fortunate enough to have enjoyed playtime during my childhood, I wonder what kind of humans are we creating…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Really good point. Our pace of life and the way we communicate now means ‘playtime’ may be at risk for our children. Yet, we, as parents and grandparents from an age before digital media, are surely best placed to ensure our kids get the same opportunities of playtime as we enjoyed? As always, its down to parenting, teaching, and a good deal of peer pressure.

      Liked by 1 person

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