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Georgian House Newsletter!

Hamleys Toy Store

Hamleys is a large and famous London toy store.

The Georgian House Hotel is a great place to stay if you are planning to shop at Hamleys. This famous toy store is based on Regent Street and is easy to reach by bus or underground.
Hamleys Toy Store

Hamleys History

Hamleys is London's most famous toy store and has become an international tourist attraction as the crowds add an even greater festive mood to this already carnival-like store. The toy selection at Hamleys is vast, taking up 7 floors, and its magical atmosphere and displays will enchant children, as well as their parents and grandparents. The friendly young assistants are also well trained to demonstrate the latest toys to the rapt attention of visitors of all ages.

Hamleys has a very long history - spanning back more than 200 years! It started with a Cornishman from Bodin called William Hamley whose dream was to open the finest toy shop in the world where every toy could be sold - a "Noah's Ark". The following is a timeline of the history of Harrods:

  • 1760 - William Hamley opened his first toy shop in Holborn in London, filling it with every toy he could find from rag dolls to tin soldiers and hoops to wooden horses. At the same time, Westminster Bridge had just been opened to traffic (horses and carts) and gas lights would not illuminate the streets for another 50 years.
  • 1849 - Hamleys was already a very successful "Joy Emporium" when Henry Charles Harrod just opened a small grocers in Knightsbridge.
  • 1881 - William Hamley's grandsons opened a new branch in Regent Street near Piccadilly Circus. Hamleys was on Regents Street 11 years before Eros.
  • The shop's packed shelves boasted croquest sets; cricket bats; marionettes etc at the end of Queen Victoria's reign. Jean Jacques and Sons launched their new game "Gossima" exclusively through Hamleys.
  • 1921 - Gossima officially became Table Tennis and Hamleys re-opened on six floors. It was the largest toy shop in the world with toy theatres, Punch and Judy puppets and miniature railway trains.
  • 1931 - Hamleys was forced into liquidation when the economic depression hit Europe. However it was bought by Walter Lines chairman of Tri-Ang who remembered riding on one of Hamleys delivery vans as a child. He then rebuilt the Hamleys reputation.
  • 1938 - Walter Lines was rewarded with the Royal Warrant from Queen Mary whose grand-daughters also had Hamleys toys in their nurseries.
  • The blitz saw Hamleys get bombed five times, this did not deter the staff - they wore tin hats and served at the front, running in and out of the shop for the toys.
  • 1951 - the Festival of Britain purchased a Grand Doll's Salon and a vast model railway.
  • 1955 - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rewarded Walter Lines with his second Royal Warrant as a "Toys and Sports Merchant".
  • 1981 - Hamleys moved to 188-196 Regents Street.
  • 1994 - Hamleys of London Ltd was listed on the London Stock Exchange becoming Hamleys Plc.
  • 2003 - Hamleys management team took the company private with the help of Baugur the Iceland based retail group.

Hamleys Regent Street store is on the east side of Regent Street between Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus tube stations approximately 150 metres south of Oxford Circus tube station.

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Georgian House Hotel is ideally situated in a very central location, so visiting sights all over London is quick and easy. Why not book Georgian House Hotel when you plan a shopping trip to Hamleys?, or telephone on 0044(0)207 834 1438