The Factory Returns

Britains Toy Factory on Sutherland Road and the building as it stands today

ATOMIC 50, our project for London Borough of Culture 2019, created with acclaimed live artist Abigail Conway, presents a one-off immersive theatre and workshop experience for children 7 – 11 years old this April. The event will take place at Leyton Sports Ground where we will be transforming an entire building into a ghost metalworking factory from the past, that has returned to teach us about metalworking and the use of tin in today’s world. The idea for the project arose from Waltham Forest’s rich tin toy-making heritage alongside teaching skills and processes that are no longer a core part of the school curriculum.

ATOMIC 50 (named after the number of protons in an atom of tin) celebrates and ignites pride in Waltham Forest’s heritage as a centre for manufacturing and metalworking. Home to leading toy companies Britains and Wells Brimtoy during the 1930-1960s, some of the world’s most iconic and collectable tin toys were made in the borough right around the corner from Blackhorse Workshop on Sutherland Road and Stirling Road.

Factories like these employed hundreds of workers in the area and beyond, including many female workers who took toys home to be painted and finished. The population of Waltham Forest trebled between 1890-1941 resulting in the proliferation of industry in the Lea Valley. Click here to visit the Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop website – an incredible online resource about the history of Walthamstow including interviews and information about the people who worked in the factories.

Book your tickets for ATOMIC 50 this April and become part of the experience!