This toy was handmade from an Australian butter box as Christmas present for a wartime child in the 1940s. It is a sliding puzzle with numbers and a Father Christmas head (both cut from a calender) on the tiles. It is part of the 'Make Do and Mend' approach to resource shortages during World War Two. Toys were scarce on the shelves during Christmas later in the war. Simply made and timeless in appeal, it was highly treasured by the child concerned. (We sadly don't have a name for the child or whether the father was away from home on active service).
Made from butter box wood, this butter and its box (branded on back) would have run the U-boat blockade on convoys to reach Britain and the contents been on ration. Australia was part of the British Empire, under threat in wartime and the butter must have been refrigerated to survive the journey showing how afood and trade links had changed. Newquay Zoo www.newquayzoo.org.uk houses it in its World War Zoo 1940s wartime life collection in its archive and this is displayed at certain wartime garden events alongside other toys such as a handmade wooden Spitfire. http://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com.