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Mum Says Its Just Magical!


Posted At: 17 December 2008 15:40 PM
Related Categories: Retailers


Unfortunately, getting a ‘research day trip’ to Hamleys signed off was too difficult, so I’ve had to rely on my spectacular imagination and some hardcore internet research for this blog. Even with all my resources, it’s quite hard to write about a place to which you’ve never been, so I’m just going to imagine Hamleys is that big store (FAO Schwarz apparently) that Tom Hanks goes to in the film ‘Big’. Here goes…

For a store that was established over 200 years ago, has carted deliveries around – literally – by horse, suffered fires and closures along the way, and been bombed no less than 5 times, Hamleys isn’t doing bad, is it?

Hamleys founder, William Hamley, was born in Bodmin, Cornwall, and opened the first incarnation of Hamleys - Noah's Ark – in 1760, just before the industrial revolution of 1780. Before the IR, many people made their living within agriculture, craftsmanship or from manual labour, and I’m guessing that merchants like William Hamley were more likely middle class than working. Even within the middle classes, I can’t imagine there were many men around in the 18th Century who were toy shop owners, especially not in Cornwall, so it was only natural that Hamley would move his operation to London, which remains the home of the brand to this day.

Its not just one store though. Oh no….aside from the flagship on Regent Street, there are stores in 4 of the 5 terminals at Heathrow Airport, at Stanstead and Manchester Airports and at St Pancras International; concessions within House of Fraser stores in Glasgow, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester and London; an outlet store in Swindon; a 3-storey site in Jordan and a 32,000 sq ft shop in Dubai! Sometimes, it seems, it pays to follow your dreams…

And that’s exactly the point of Hamleys, I think. It’s a dreamland, for kids and grownups alike. People like to play; on their own, together, in massive groups and across seas through the Internet, so why wouldn’t everyone love a store dedicated to messing around and enjoying yourself?

If you ever get to go to Hamleys – and everybody should (myself included) – then this is what you can expect across 7 floors of amazingness:

- Basement: geek games, like Lego, trading gards and computer game stuff courtesy of Game.
- Ground floor: stuffed and soft toys
- 1st Floor: board games, science stuff and a sweet shop
- 2nd Floor: Young childrens toys (preschool)
- 3rd Floor: Girly things…dolls, arts & crafts, dress stuff
- 4th Floor: Crafty-type things; model kits, remote controlled things and scalextric
- 5th Floor: and if you manage to get them this far…boys toys! Action figures, cars and things, and importantly, the café!

Personally, I think a Harry Potter floor would be a worthy addition (I suppose it could share with other films, if it had to) but other than that, it all seems spiffing.


Keep the dream alive, do some of your Christmas shopping with Hamleys this year. The world would be no good if all stores were sensible…

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.


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