Lots of fun with toys from Tudor times

(L-r) Aidan and Lewis McCurrach enjoy playing with one of the toys at the exhibition
(L-r) Aidan and Lewis McCurrach enjoy playing with one of the toys at the exhibition

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These days children are often entertained by computer games and television programmes. But in Tudor times, when such technologies were far from being invented, young people had to find other ways to keep themselves occupied.

And last weekend, children at the Mary Rose Trust in the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth had the chance to play with some of the toys and games that would have been in use in the 16th century.

These included wooden toys such as dice, the yo-yo and the spinning top.

There were also some musical instruments that children played with, including a wooden violin and a wooden harp.

Toys very similar to these were found on board the Mary Rose after she sank in the Solent, proving that Tudor sailors also used to play with them to keep them entertained when away at sea.

Vicky Wood, visitor services manager at the Mary Rose Trust, says: ‘We have been encouraging children to try something different and learn things that they wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to do.

‘Everything was very simple in those days. It brings the children in touch with history.

‘Generally the kids love it. I think in this day and age when everything is computerised, something that they can use their hands for is good.

‘They thoroughly enjoyed it.’

Vicky adds that holding events such as this in the dockyard always proves very popular.

‘It brings families into the museum. It’s something for everybody when they are in here,’ she says.

‘A lot of the items were found on the Mary Rose. This is an opportunity for the kids to do something that they wouldn’t normally do. It’s just so different from modern toys. They use their hands and get into it. It’s competitive when there are brothers and sisters in here. Very often we get mums and dads joining in as well.

‘It’s all part of the museum trip that children will remember because it’s so enjoyable.’

Caroline McCurrach, 38, brought her two boys Lewis, 7, and Aidan, 5, along.

She says: ‘They love ships. We’ve been before as we’ve got the annual ticket. We wanted to come back and see HMS Victory. They have really enjoyed it.’