Category:Britains Garden

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Toy Brands and Manufacturers

Britains Miniature Gardening (BMG 1931).jpg

Britains Garden

1930 -     
Britains - Circus - Farm - Floral - Garden - Zoo

Britains Ltd launched their painted lead Miniature Gardening series in 1930, as a followup to the 1923 Britains Model Home Farm.

The "garden" system included flowerbeds, rockeries, and garden buildings as well as individual plants with glossy leaves and brightly-coloured flowers whose stems could be inserted into holes in the beds, allowing owners to create and plant a full garden layout. Although the plants were necessarily moulded "on the plane", and were painted and supplied in their "flat" form, the soft lead allowed owners to exercise their imaginations, bending and twisting the stems into more realistic and natural shapes.

The system launched in 1930 as almost the full range, with a smaller additional collection of pieces appearing in 1931, and a few more after.

Garden section mostly assembled from Britains Garden pieces (centre), in display Area 08, "The Farm"

It's difficult to judge the popularity of the lead range – "Miniature Gardening" seems to have disappeared from the Britains catalogue by 1940, with some isolated pieces such as the Greenhouse retained but now appearing as Britains Farm pieces. However, a reinvented plastic version of the system reappeared in the 1960s as Britains Floral Garden and seems to have been produced in large numbers.

A populated "Britains Garden" flowerbed in the central 1930s display

Catalogue text, circa ~1930

In introducing their latest series to the public, Britains Limited feel that they are fulfilling a long-felt want, that of enabling the gardener, amateur or professional, to plan out his garden in thoroughly practical manner from the laying out of the beds paths, crazy paving, arches, pergolas, etc., and last but not least filling it with a large variety of plants in full flower and in Nature's gorgeous colourings, arranging and rearranging his design in miniature until a satisfactory one has been achieved.

On the other hand, regarded purely as a toy, Britains Miniature Gardening has no equal, as the novelty of making a garden, the beautiful colourings, the realistic appearance, will hold children of all ages in keen enjoyment for hours on end, and the interchangeability of all parts which compose Britains Miniature Gardening has been given very careful consideration by the designers so that even with a small collection of pieces, very satisfactory results are possible.

Designs which may be made up from the various pieces are almost without limit and it is no exaggeration to say that whatever can be carried out in a full-size garden, can also be previously prepared in Britains Miniature gardening, and simplicity being the keynote of the whole, there are no difficult parts to fit together, no messy glue, nothing that even the smallest child cannot carry out and thoroughly enjoy.

— , Britains Limited, , Miniature Gardening catalogue, , ~1931

Catalogue listing

Individual items

Sets

  • 1 M.G. A collection of flower beds and flowers to form a complete circular bed.
  • 2 M.G. A similar layout, but with different flowers.
  • 3 M.G. A collection of flower beds and flowers to form a complete square bed.
  • 4 M.G. A collection of various flower beds, and other accessories with flowers.
  • 5 M.G. A collection of flower beds and flowers forming large oval or circular bed, etc.
  • 6 M.G. A similar collection with different flowers to form square, oblong or other beds.
  • 7 M.G. A collection of various flower beds, accessories and flowers making a nice display.
  • 8 M.G. A larger collection of pieces with flower beds, crazy paving, stone walling, fencing and with Rambler Roses. Makes a number of designs.
  • 9 M.G. A collection of pieces with flower beds, crazy paving, stone walling, rustic arch etc., and flowers, permitting many pleasing variations of design.
  • 10 M.G. A collection of flower beds, flowers, crazy paving, stone walling, fencing and with Rambler Roses. Makes a number of designs.
  • 11 M.G. A collection of flower beds, crazy paving, with lawn and sundial and a variety of flowers, making a large layout with many variations.
  • 12 M.G. A collection of flower beds and accessories, including fencing and stone walling and varieties of flowers, giving extremely pleasing results.
  • 13 M.G. A large collection of pieces and flowers permitting many ideal layouts.
  • 14 M.G. A collection of flower beds and bulbs making a well-filled circular bed.
  • 15 M.G. A similar collection but to form a square bed.
  • 16 M.G. A variety of flower beds and bulbs making some very attractive layouts.

Nos. 17M.G. to 22 M.G. are small beds well filled with flowers and suitable as beginners' sets, or for placing on Miniature Gardening Lawns to form centre beds. Each in an attractive box.

  • 17 M.G. Round bed filled with Hyacinths and Crocuses.
  • 18 M.G. Round bed filled with Tulips and Crocuses.
  • 19 M.G. Round bed filled with Geraniums, Gladioli, Foxgloves, and Red Hot Poker.
  • 20 M.G. Round bed filled with Geraniums, Aster and Delphiniums.
  • 21 M.G. Square bed filled with Lobelia, Sweet Alyssum and Chrysanthemums.
  • 22 M.G. Square bed filled with Lobelia, Gladioli, and Bush Rose.

Rockery and Rock Garden Boxes are quite complete in themselves, but are equally useful in conjunction with all other Miniature Gardening Series

  • 23 M.G. A large collection of rockery, with blocks for terracing, flowers and flower beds, crazy paving, lawn, balustrading, etc., providing sufficient pieces for many pleasing layouts.
  • 24 M.G. A collection on similar lines to 23 M.G. but not quite as large.
  • 25 M.G. A collection of rockery pieces and accessories that will make many pleasing designs.
  • 26 M.G. A varied assortment of rockery with flower beds, and a good range of flowers.
  • 27 M.G. A collection on similar lines to No. 26 M.G., but with a variation of pieces and flowers.

In the museum

There are Britains Miniature Garden beds (using the original pre-WW2 lead pieces) in The Farm display in Arch Two, and some of the infrastructure of The Zoo display (walls, benches, etc.) depends heavily on Britains Garden pieces. The museum's central 1930s layout also includes a lead Britains Garden Greenhouse, and a populated flowerbed.

Past displays

At one point the museum had a dedicated display of the later plastic 1960s "Britains Floral Garden" pieces, but this has since been rotated off-display and into storage, with the space then used for a display of Minic Ships.

Further reading

  • William Schmidt and Vance Gerry (pub), Britains Limited Miniature Gardening Series (The Weather Bird Press, 1973)

See also:

External links


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