Tag Archives: Toyshop

Fabulous Steiff Shop, Hamburg

Loads of bears
Loads of bears

There was a Steiff shop in the arcade near the hotel where we stayed in Hamburg. It was full of bears of all different shapes and sizes, some clothed and some not.  There were other stuffed animal toys too but it is the teddy bear with  that we most associate with the Steiff name. We bought them for our own children but they were much too expensive for us to stock in our John Dobbie toyshop. We stocked a selection of very nice teddy bears but at affordable prices.

Margarete Steiff began the company in 1880 and was later joined by her brother Fritz and nephew Richard. She originally made elephant pincushions but later made a variety of animal toys.  It was her nephew Richard who created the famous teddy bear. The ‘button in ear’ was devised as a distinctive brand feature to stop other toys being passed off as Steiff toys.

Excerpt from Woman in a White Coat
Writing about  of teddy bears reminds me of one of the saddest episodes in my memoir involving the death of a young child.

With only two days left before Christmas, the pathology department at St Jude’s Cancer Hospital had been quiet all day. The surgeons put off non-urgent operations until after Christmas, so that patients could spend the holiday at home. There had been very few specimens to process and most of the staff had gone home early to get in some last minute shopping. By four o’clock the department was deserted. I had already got one arm in the sleeve of my coat when the phone rang. I was tempted to ignore it but having four children I always worried in case it was about one of them.
‘Hello,’ I said ‘Pathology department. Dr Waterman speaking.’
‘Steven here, Dr Waterman. I think you’re on for post mortems. Can you come down? I’m all ready for you.’
‘Oh Steven, can’t it wait until the morning? I know tomorrow’s Saturday and Christmas Eve, but I don’t mind coming in specially. I need to get over to Hamleys and buy a present for my neighbour’s new baby before they close.’ Continue reading Fabulous Steiff Shop, Hamburg

John Dobbie Toyshop

Our toys
Simon and me peering in at our toys, many handmade, some imported

We opened our john Dobbie toyshop on Monday April 1st 1963, two weeks before Easter. The little bow-fronted shop in Wimbledon Village with multiple small panes of glass was exactly right for a toy shop.

From my memoir Woman in a White Coat
Simon was 2½ and Bernard 6 months old. It was still not allowed for the names of doctors or dentists to be associated with business, or to advertise in any way. Simon always called himself Dobbie and John Dobbie sounded like a good solid name. We took on a sparky red-headed manageress sent by the employment agency three doors away from our shop.

On Easter Sunday, Moira Keenan’s piece about John Dobbie appeared in the Sunday Times. We were off to a great start.

 

Writing every day

John Dobbie S

One of Colin Fulcher’s beautiful designs for the bags of our John Dobbie toyshop.

I tried Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages so many times when I was writing Woman in a White Coat but always gave up after a few days. Writing a blog is different. it’s addictive. I wake in the night thinking of things to put in next day. I wake early, make myself a cup of coffee in my fancy Eileen Bodum cafetière and  make my preparations for dinner – if it’s my turn to cook. If there’s less cooking to do in the evening I find I have more appetite for an evening meal I’ve cooked myself. I turn on my computer, look at my emails, check my account and with great pleasure click on my blog. Not a chore. A pleasure!!