Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 06 November 2023

Daughter's Beach Find Inspires Sussex Parent To Masters Degree @ University Of Brighton

The chance beach find of a tiny white doll by her 10-year-old daughter has led Sally Jones to a postgraduate qualification and an invitation to speak at the Novium Museum Chichester.

The figure, a miniature porcelain doll, which was so small it fitted neatly between her daughter's thumb and forefinger, turned out to be a Frozen Charlotte and well over a hundred years old. 

This was no ordinary toy, however – Frozen Charlottes have sometimes been associated with a darker meaning bound up with the Victorian tale of a girl who froze to death on a sleigh ride to a New Year's Ball. 

Poor Charlotte, so the story goes, refused to heed her mother's advice to wrap up in a blanket against the cold and met a terrible fate.  

The story fascinated Sally to such an extent that it became the focus of her dissertation when she embarked on an MA in History of Design and Material Culture at the University of Brighton where she worked a few years later. She graduated in February this year.  

Sally says: 

"I've always loved social history and I've always been a bit of a magpie, gathering objects that tell a story or hold a memory – so studying for this MA whilst working at the University as a part-time administrator was the perfect opportunity to develop my interests further. I was extremely fortunate to qualify for the staff fee waiver scheme, otherwise postgraduate study would not have been possible. 

"For my dissertation I returned to the Frozen Charlotte, now proudly displayed amongst other beach find treasures in my daughter"s bedroom. 

"I decided to write an 'object biography,' tracing the doll's life history across two centuries to uncover her origins and explore the various meanings and uses that have become part of her story." 

Through her studies Sally discovered that Frozen Charlotte's were sold on the streets of London by poor street traders known at the time as 'gutter merchants'.  

"My research took me to local and national libraries, archives, and museums and, after graduating, I was invited back to Pollock's Toy Museum in London to guest curate an exhibition about my findings." 

Sally will be giving a talk at the Novium Museum in Chichester on 16 November 2023. 

The Novium is currently displaying an exhibition of vintage Star War toys from the 1970s and the curators were interested in complementing this with a historical look at toys that were popular over a hundred years ago.  

"My talk explores the fascinating world of penny toys – who made them, who bought and sold them, and the social and cultural meanings behind these mass-produced, everyday novelties. 

"There will, of course, be a focus on Frozen Charlottes, the dolls that first set me on a path towards my MA and a look at whether those stories about poor Charlotte are true or just a myth." 

Toy Stories: 'Frozen Charlottes' and Penny Toys from the Victorian/Edwardian Era is at 6.30pm on Thursday 16th November at The Novium Museum, Chichester. Tickets are available from:

by: Mike Cobley


Ravi Adelekan & Poundland Foundation

Ravi Adelekan, a nine-year-old boy from Brighton, was one of twelve children and their families who had their wish granted to visit the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone over the weekend. This was thanks to a £30,000 donation from the Poundland Foundation to Make-A-Wish UK.

Memory Walk is back and locals can join thousands taking part in Brighton Memory Walk - at Hove Lawns No.1, on 29th September 2024.

FareShare Sussex & Surrey has launched a new crowdfunding campaign to help charities and community groups increase their capacity for frozen food, to feed more people experiencing hunger and food poverty.

A Brighton teacher who helps struggling local families with clothes and food, raises money in charity fun runs and regularly dons fancy dress to read to children at local events has been nominated in a national Teacher of the Year competition.
Credit: Dean Koopman

The Ocean Film Festival World Tour is bringing a new collection of ocean-themed films to Brighton Dome, this autumn. 
Credit Shervin Lainez

Alt-pop duo Cults will play Concorde 2, Brighton, later this year in support of the band's fifth studio album, To The Ghosts.

Heads On, the official charity for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is announcing the launch of Living Histories - an oral history project capturing the life stories of service users and staff with experience of NHS mental health services in Sussex. The charity is seeking volunteers to be trained as oral historians to collect stories across the county.

The first-ever Brighton & Hove performance by one of the most listened-to living pianists in the world today will take place at The Old Market this November.

Immortal Apples, Eternal Eggs  - at Hastings Contemporary -  is a meeting of two of the UK's most significant collections – The Ingram Collection and the David and Indrė Roberts Collection.

Carl Cox is one of the most in demand DJs, multi award winning, with countless club dates and festival appearances every year. 

Born in the Philippines and raised in London, Brighton-bound Beatrice Laus, known as Beabadoobee, has emerged as a British indie icon.

Lighthouse Project Space - Brighton's first ever public, youth-led artspace – opens this month with a programme of public events and activities.

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