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History Alive: Bodmin Keep’s Interactive Objects

A collection box of toys and games from the 1940s arrives at a Warm Space at St. Petroc’s Parish Centre on a very wet Saturday morning. It's the fourth visit out of four in the History Alive series.

The collection case, under the supervision of a teddy bear, an-ever popular toy, is opened and its contents displayed.

Children of War Collection Box

Leah Mason, Learning Manager at Bodmin Keep, sets out wooden soldiers on the floor in formation for a game of skittles.

Skittles Take 1

Skittles Take 2

Someone asked: “What's the bridge for?” The aim of the game is to roll marbles through the numbered bridges to score the most points.

Demonstrating the marble game

Authentic items from the 1940s are the one-size fits all extendable and adjustable roller skates, the Schoolgirls’ Book and the toy tin gun.

Hear the sound the toy gun makes

The instructions sheet on how to ‘keep the party going’ is probably authentic too.

Authentic looking instruction leaflet

Other replica items include small soldiers and a guessing game. Imaginations can run wild with toys and games like this.

Replica games

School parties regularly visit Bodmin Keep (, immersing themselves in and building empathy with the lives of those living, for example, during WW I or WW II. It starts with a tour of the museum and involves dressing up in vintage costume, handling objects from the collections, standing in a mock trench in the Keep’s grounds or playing with the ‘Children of War’ artefacts and finishes with a medal making workshop. The toys and games give children a breadth of understanding as they discover about children as evacuees, rationing and other hardships of war. People of all ages experienced some of this today at St. Petroc’s Parish Centre.

Deep in conversation

History Alive with Bodmin Keep, is part of a collaborative venture between Bodmin Way Community Courses, St. Petroc's Church, members of Bodmin's Inner Wheel and Bodmin Town Council's Warm Spaces Project.

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