Hugo’s Toy Theatre

News Page


Issue 4 – 5th August 2004




Welcome to this the fourth news bulletin for “Hugo’s Toy Theatre”.


This news bulletin has been delayed due to my hard disk crashing.  I have had to buy a new hard disk and transfer all the data I could. Luckily the old hard disk kept going just long enough to get most of my data across to my slave drive. All this has meant I haven’t been able to work on the website for a couple of weeks.


It could have been a lot worse, as I hadn’t made sufficient back-ups and all my work on this website and much more was nearly lost forever.


*** Let that be a lesson to us all – Back up your data or loose it!!!!! ***


One area I was not able to back-up in time was my e-mail, so if anyone out there has e-mailed me within the last 6 months, would they be so kind as to drop me a line, just so we can re-establish contact. My e-mail address is given below, just substitute the “-at-” with the “@” sign. I get so much spam and less desirable e-mails, and this appears to be one way of stopping it (apparently it stops automatic web-crawlers discovering your e-mail address published on your web-site).


Anyway, here I am again.




I had intended to inform all viewers of this website of the new plays I had uploaded, BUT a very frank discussion between my two main supporters and myself has led me in a different direction.


Initially when I set up this web-site I wanted to provide as comprehensive a collection of JK Green’s work as was possible in one place. A collection that was free to viewers. But in so doing it might just be possible that this was leading to a significant diminution in the value of the collections of my main supporters. This cannot be allowed to happen. So there will be no more complete plays and the ones here now will soon disappear.




What will replace the complete plays? – My aim is to have the frontispiece for every play. There will be certain other sheets to view for most plays. These sheets will display some interesting aspect of their make up. Items like the “N” engraved by George James Green (JK Green’s son and my 2x Great Grandfather) on Side Wings No.3. There will also be comparisons between Penny plain and Tuppence Coloured images and between JK Greens work and work produced by other engravers.


So, in time, there will be a complete set of Frontispieces. I will also display the complete set Side Wings. There will also be many other sheets, just no complete plays. I will include complete transcripts to the play books, with examples of some of the more elaborate engraving used within each play book. Finally I hope to encourage a few collectors and other interested parties to write a few words about their favourite plays and add other historical content to each play.


In some ways this will be better because I can spend more time investigating the family history aspects and the general history aspects of JK Green and the toy theatre, rather than the creation of an image bank.




Some of the images are a little hard to view. I make no apologies for this, as this is how they really appear. Most of these “mottled” prints were direct prints made from the original plates in the 1950’s, but many of the plates had deteriorated, especially those made of zinc. These had become pitted, due to the way they were stored. The storage method worked fine for the copperplates, but had an adverse effect on the zinc plates. This is where the power of today’s computers steps in. I have taken the coloured print for Uncle Tom’s Cabin frontispiece and spent a few hours repairing it. I think result is quite amazing. This will appear shortly on the website.


The last few months have been a fascinating time for me. Scanning the various images has allowed me the time and ability to examine each image in fine detail. Although each image would not be considered a great work of art, the quality of the engraving is still excellent. When you consider that between 1839 and 1842 JK green was producing 4 plays a year including the playbooks and everything was done by hand, I have to commend him for the extraordinary effort he must have made. Even more so when you remember there was no electric light to work by. It must have extremely difficult working in the short days of the winter months.




The History Section has been split into Chapters and Appendices and has been updated. The History Section will be added to at regular intervals as I find out more and more about my 3x Great Grandfather.




It saddens me to announce that the Pollock Museum website has closed for good. For a short time it had been run as an archived website, but sadly it is no more. This is a great loss to the Toy Theatre world and I would like to thank David Johnson (the web-master of the site) for all the effort he put in and fine comments and suggestions he gave me concerning this website. Good luck to David and Gabrielle in whatever life throws at them.


More news in a month’s time.


Hugo Brown

3x Great Grandson of JK Green.