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Rocking horse

Rocking horse

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1885 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    The Boys' Home Industrial School (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, decorated with brass nails and leather

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Mildred Glanville

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Moving Toys Gallery, case 3

This horse was made by orphans in the Boys' Home, Regents Park Road, London in about 1885. Carved from a single piece of wood the boys made these horses for sale for 5 s. each, according to the Worthing Herald of July 1974.

The donor's great grandfather, George Bell, a member of a family of publishers, had been a trustee of the Boys' Home. The horse was given to a nursery school in Worthing by the Bell family and eventually came to the V&A in 1974 after the closure of the school.

Physical description

The horse consists of a seat in the form of a Y mounted between two uprights which themselves are mounted on solid rockers. Under the seat are foot rests nailed to the rockers. The horse's head is mounted on the front upright and is decorated with brass nails and a strip of leather.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1885 (made)


The Boys' Home Industrial School (makers)

Materials and Techniques

Wood, decorated with brass nails and leather


Height: 83.7 cm, Length: 137 cm, Width: 36.2 cm

Object history note

Given to the Museum in 1974 by Miss Mildred Glanville [74/1343]. Miss Glanville's great-grandfather, George William Bell, founded the Boys' Home where this object was made.

Prior to its entry to the Museum it belonged to Miss Iris Carter, a pioneer of nursery education in Worthing, and it stood in the cloakroom of her school in Windmill House, Shelley Road, for many years. Miss Carter originally received the horse as a gift from the Bell publishing family, the grandsons of George William Bell, who lived next door to her parents in Hampstead.

Descriptive line

Wooden rocking horse made by boys in a Boys' Home in London in about 1885.

Production Note

The horse was made by destitute boys in the Boys' Home Industrial School, Regents Park Road, London, which was founded in 1858. The home closed in 1920.


Wood; Brass; Leather


Carving; Joinery

Subjects depicted

Horses (animals); Rocking horses


Children & Childhood; Animals and Wildlife; Play; Made by children

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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