This was pure nostalgia for me. These automata used to be downstairs at Covent Garden where, being fun and free, they were an intrinsic part of a teenage day out along with buying hand made silver earrings from students at the market and hanging out by the street performers before filling up on cheap and fabulous veggie stir fry at Food for Thought.
If you're making a special journey, be aware that the selection here is quite small; the exhibition space is basically the size of a shop and you'll be here fifteen to twenty minutes tops. However, size isn't everything. These wonderful and ingenious contraptions are great fun and guaranteed to raise a smile; there is something about pressing the buttons and making them whizz into action, be it rowing pirates, kissing couples or a lion-tamer retrieving his head from the lion's mouth just before the jaws clamp shut, that is very satisfying in a toddleresque kind of way.
I can't decide if my personal favourite is the man eating spaghetti from his bathtub or the waving Queen, but I marvel at the imagination and workmanship in them all.
I didn't have time on this particular visit. but if you are trekking out to the area, Dulwich Picture Gallery is a short bus ride away and is on my hit list, so watch this space. There are plenty of places to grab a bite or a caffeine fix in the nearby High Street, which incidentally has some very nice charity shops worth browsing for a pre-loved bargain or two.
One word of warning; I nearly pitched up at the Kennington branch of Space Station 65, which doesn't have an exhibition on at the moment, having glanced at their website and just seen a tube station within walking distance. This exhibition is in the East Dulwich site - check their website for details.
Delightful, amusing and free. What more do you want? Go push some buttons.
Yours, making things happen,
Girl About Town xx