Blackler's toy fair at Fleet Street warehouse, 1949

Stewart Bale collection online exhibition

Christmas display in department store toy section

The well known Liverpool department store Blackler’s was open from 1908 to 1988 on Great Charlotte Street, apart from a brief relocation to the Bold Street area between 1941 and 1953 after the building was damaged by fire in the May Blitz. The original building was designed by the architect of the Liver Building.

Blackler's was particularly famous for its Winter Wonderland Grotto, which proved incredibly popular every year. Over 10,000 visitors a week went to see the magical scenes and tell Santa Claus what they'd like for Christmas.

This photograph shows the toy department and grotto in 1949. At the time this photograph was taken Blackler’s was in one of its temporary locations at a warehouse on Fleet Street, awaiting the rebuilding of the Great Charlotte Street store.

The centrepiece of the display is Cinderella's carriage, behind which in the corner is a large comfortable throne where Father Christmas would have sat. Around them are displays labelled 'Dolls', 'Toys for girls 7-11', 'Novelties' and a counter conveniently close to Santa's thrown has a sign above it saying 'Get your Christmas parcel here'.

Archive reference 491043-3