Born in 1904, Hilary “Harry” Fisher Page became a well known writer, broadcaster and designer of children’s educational toys.
He founded Kiddicraft in 1932 with a capital of £100. He initially made wooden toys but was frustrated with the quality of the painted surface and so started to experiment with plastics.
He became one of the pioneers of the use of plastics as a new manufacturing medium for children’s toys. Although this article will look at the Kiddicraft Miniatures range primarily, an interesting point to note is that Kiddicraft produced an interlocking plastic building brick range which was copied almost exactly by LEGO later on.
The Kiddicraft Miniatures were small reproductions of food and household items such as washing powder boxes, soup cans, jam and marmalade jars, ice cream cartons, soft and alcoholic drinks and even cigarette packets. Kiddicraft Miniatures was the last project he worked on and became an all consuming passion.
This is an advertisement for the Miniatures range but as the image is such poor quality here is what it says:
Kiddicraft Miniatures…… are beautifully produced replicas of well known British food, drink and domestic products, eventually to number over 300 items. All the little tins and cartons will contain packets of sugar sweets, and the little bottles pure sugar syrup. Children can first stock the “shops” with one or other of the made up gift assortments and then continue to collect other items singly as they become available. All single items will be within the scope of “pocket money”.
Hilary planned to make “over 300” different products and set out on what was perhaps the largest licensing arrangement in the toy industry with many different companies.
Kiddicraft eventually produced over 200 of these miniatures but the company simply could not deliver on all of Page’s promises and could not honour their agreement with the licensors.
Page became deeply troubled with the pressures on the business and feared the company would fold and tragically, he committed suicide on 24th June 1957.
The collection pictured here features many items that were purchased at the Arcade and belongs to a regular customer and friend, Susan Mayes. She has very kindly written most of what you have just read, with a few additions from me.