Nestled under the railway bridge, next to the Brighton Railway Station, is a surprising find. Brighton Toy and Model Museum. The museum is filled with memories because it is filled with toys and models from the Twentieth century. I am the writer-in-residence at the museum and during my time there I have been looking for the stories that link the pristine collection to their owners and beyond.
So far, I have been intrigued to learn about a rare Steiff polar bear. There are probably only a few left in the world. One of which was onboard the RMS Titanic when she sank in the North Atlantic in 1912, almost 105 years ago to the day. It’s a tragic story, familiar to many because of the 1997 film but there are other stories to be told. The polar bear’s owner, a seven-year-old boy, clung on to it in the freezing night air drifting aboard one of the few lifeboats. He was rescued (along with his bear). His story and his family’s story unfold across the Twentieth Century.
I am currently looking for writers to think back to their own childhood, and draw on their experiences and memories to write a short piece of creative work but also to draw on the fascinating collection at the Brighton Toy and Model Museum. There is discounted admission to the museum available to those participating in the project. You may wish to view the puppets, dolls, cars, plush toys… or the many other items. These items draw you back to a time and familiar and yet distant – an imaginative world is linked to each and every toy, so I invite you to think about what it might have meant to its owner.
Further details of the creative writing project are available in the poster below, email entries of no more than 500 words to email@example.com . The deadline for submissions is 24 April 2017.