Category:Ambulance Station (display)

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20 - Ambulance Station (display)
Arch Two

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A large display of around two hundred items, dedicated to model ambulances, in Arch Two.

A unique collection of prewar and post-war toys representing intriguing aspects of the Red Cross and other services spanning over a century of its history and development. The display contains a great variety of ambulances from many countries and different eras, as well as badges, certificates and other miscellany.

The Red Cross (and Red Crescent)

The Red Cross owes its formal beginnings to the experience and vision and of a young Swiss, Jean Henri Dunant, who instituted an international movement resulting in the first Geneva Convention, of 1864. The simple short-limbed red cross on a white background (an inversion of the Swiss flag) now serves as a symbol of relief and care in Western Europe and the Americas for victims of both war and peacetime disasters. After World War Two, the International Committee of the Red Cross found itself increasingly operating in other countries where the symbol's implicit reference to the Swiss flag and neutrality was less well understood, and where a red cross against white had unfortunate historical associations (with invading Crusaders), so in these countries, the ICRC operates as the Red Crescent. Since 2005, the ICRC has also sometimes used a third symbol, the diamond shaped Red Crystal, in situations where both of the more usual symbols are considered problematic. While the last two letters of "ICRC" can now be understood as standing for either "Red Cross" or "Red Crescent", in the interests of neutrality the central organisation's four-character name is no longer officially an abbreviation of anything, and is simply "ICRC".

Other organisations

The St John's Ambulance Service (SJA) was founded in 1887, shortly after the St Andrews First Aid service (1882), which has a corresponding role (first aid, first aid ambulances, and training) in Scotland. Fans of the Doctor Who tv series may also recognise the St John's symbol from a badge on the front of the TARDIS (since the sign appeared on police boxes).


Amongst the display of First World War German and British military figures is a small group of rare German-made almost two-dimensional figures (referred to as "flats") displaying a white cross on a black background, the original St. Johns Cross, indicating that these figures are from the last century. All the other figures in this section are made from either lead or are composite figures made, believe it or not, from wire frames, sawdust and glue. Uncommon examples from Lineol (German) and Britains (British) are displayed. Note the use of an Alsatian dog on a medical mission.


Every conceivable vehicle has been employed in the service of the Red Cross. From early horsedrawn medical coaches to hospital ships and helicopters, from speedboats and ambulance-train carriages to all kinds of trains, planes and automobiles, even an inflatable dinghy. They are all here in abundance in a comprehensive range of toys and models representing everything to do with medical services. Compare the early tin-plate jalopies of the 1920s to the extravagant limousines from the USA. There are examples from many other nations not forgetting more modern examples such as the model of an Emergency Ward 10 hospital from the TV series of the 1960s and 70s and Action Man in medical guise.

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