Roger Limbrick
"openside dolls house"
design: Roger Limbrick 1963
produced by: James Galt

This dolls house design was created for a family of children to play with all at the same time - it had no external walls allowing access on all four sides.
An innovative design in the 1960's which won first prize in James Galt's toy competition in 1962, it was a great success with the emerging playgroup movement being set up by parents to expand nursery education. The walls simply slotted together and the roof panels locked it tight with no nails or glue, so the dolls house could be quickly and neatly packed away at the end of each play session. The clean unfussy lines of the design also reflected the ideas of allowing children to use their own imagination in play and create their own mini environments.
Roger said "my own children, four boys (at that time), played with it extensively" which says much for the egalitarian ideals for play and child development in the 1960's!
The design is still in production 46 years later. Heralded by James May in his recent BBC2 documentary
"My Sisters' Top Toys" (2007) as a "20th century design classic". See it at the V&A Museum of Childhood:
In 1969 it won an Observer Magazine "Living With Design" award achieving the front cover of the magazine and was part of the exhibition at Heals, and it continues to be recommended to this day - last year it was awarded the Nursery World 2008 gold award.
"ride-on truck"
design: Roger Limbrick c.1964
produced by: James Galt

Roger then continued working on designs for Galt, and was encouraged to produce his own range of toy designs by Edward Newmark, the managing director of Galt Toys - the retail arm of James Galt educational supplier.

The ride-on truck was commissioned to compliment to the ride-on duck already in production.


design: Roger Limbrick c.1964
produced by: Roger Limbrick Associates

A wooden construction kit designed as a series of wooden shapes to be slotted together
creating abstract structures for children to manipulate. The scale of the shapes were large enough for a young child to use, and their abstract quality appealed to the child's imagination - they could be a castle, a garage, a monster, a house, a lunar pod, and provided homes or backgrounds for other toys such as Britains lead animals, toy cars, small dolls or teddies.

design: Roger Limbrick c.1964
produced by: Roger Limbrick Associates

Interslot was produced by Roger in London and sold in Galt Toy shop, Heals and other specialist toy shops around the world, including MOMA in New York.

design: Roger Limbrick c.1964
produced by: Roger Limbrick Associates

the pack consisted of six different plywood shapes in six colours, packed in a screen-printed drawstring cloth bag together with an instruction sheet

design: Jon Tacey (the brick design) & Roger Limbrick (the graphics) c.1964
produced by: Roger Limbrick Associates

A set of wooden bricks cleverly designed to build a wide range of houses and buildings using only two wooden shapes. Printed in red (for the roofs) and black (for the windows and doors) onto beech wood the size of the bricks were in correct scale for use with Britains lead figures, animals and vehicles or similar plastic versions.
Produced by Jon and Roger as a short production run these bricks also featured in a seven page Design Magazine article by Ilse Grey in 1967 "The Toymakers of Britain and Some of Their Toys"
see Design Journal 1967 issue 227:

design: Jon Tacey & Roger Limbrick c.1964
produced by: Kurt Naef c.1984

Later, having had a number of other toys produced by the Swiss wooden toy manufacturer Kurt Naef, this design was licenced to Naef for production as part of his extensive range of geometric construction blocks. Roger's graphics were replaced by Naef designs.
Kurt Naef said he was surprised at the clever way so many forms could be created by just two shapes - he thought he had seen all possibilities of bricks by then!

"rollbahn" - "roller-run"
design: Mike Ayres & Roger Limbrick c.1974
produced by: Kurt Naef c.1984

It takes one and a half minutes for the coloured discs spin down the roller-run. The slow moving spinning discs are easy to load onto the frame, and the ingenious friction based design causes the discs to spin very slowly, allowing plenty of time to appreciate the colour effects.

The toy is the invention of Mike Ayres and was developed in collaberation with Roger Limbrick at the London College of Furniture. Roger was working on a special research project on designing toys for children with disabilities and influenced Mike on it's potential use by children with special development needs.
After Mike ceased producing the design, Roger found new interest through the specialist toy manufacturer Kurt Naef who produced it for ten years from 1984.

"real things dominoes"
design: Roger Limbrick c.1979
hand made prototype
This set of dominoes was one of the designs developed as part of a research project to design toys and equipment for children with disabilities set up by Roger at the London College of Furniture in 1977. The Roller-run, above was one of a number of toys and play equipment designed by the Higher Diploma students in conjunction with specialists at the London Hospital, The Toy Libraries Association (which specialised in recommending and lending toy to children with special needs.


Openside Dollshouse - 1969 Observer Magazine "Living With Design" Award

Openside Dollshouse - Nursery World 2008 gold award for: Resources personal, social and emotional development