Wartime handmade child's sliding puzzle

Contributed by Newquayzooarchive

Wartime handmade child's sliding puzzle

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.

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline


mid 1940s


View more objects from people in Cornwall.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.