The toy shop which made your childhood extra special

Joseph's toy shop in Sunderland shortly before its closure.
Joseph's toy shop in Sunderland shortly before its closure.
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It was magical, it was amazing and you wish it was still here.

That’s Joseph’s toy store - a huge favourite of Sunderland children until its closure in the late 1990s.

Josephs toy shop in 1976.

Josephs toy shop in 1976.

We asked you what you liked most about it. The response on social media was phenomenal.

We posted a 1997 photograph of the store and nearly 99,000 of you saw it. A superb 4,000 gave a reaction and 554 left a comment. Here are some of them.

Mic Curran said: “At least 12 subbuteo teams available at all times on the rotating display upstairs!! 11 of them Liverpool, one Porto!! Still got Porto!! Might’ve kneeled on the keeper!!”

Ian Roberts was another sporting type. “Used to buy a Wembley Trophy plastic football from Josephs, they were orange with black lined panels and always £1-99, perfect weight for football in the back lane when we were about 10 years old, if they burst we’d try to melt over the puncture with a hot poker from the coal fire, failing that, back down for another one. Happy days.”

I remember coming out of there fully dressed in plastic armour - sword, shield and battle axe in hand

Richard Gill

Alan Clark described it as “a true toy shop ! It was always amazing when we were kids just to go and look around - sadly the kids now do not know what they missed - perhaps one day another toy shop with the Josephs magic may appear.”

John Usher said he “went there almost every saturday when my mam went shopping. It’s where my brother, James Usher got most of his airfix from, upstairs and to the right.”

Elaine Talbot loved it. “Brill shop - real toy shop “magic” which my children loved as did their nanna & mummy.”

Richard Gill said: “I remember coming out of there fully dressed in plastic armour sword shield and battle axe in hand.”

Kay Matthews remembered how her visits would pan out. “My nana always took me here when we went shopping we’d go to louis for fish and chips then go to josephs to get some clothes for my barbies.”

John Armstrong commented: “I always went there as a kid to watch the train sets. So many happy memories. I was a bit gutted when I found out it was closing. Don’t have toy shops like that anymore. Proper toy shop.

Janice Hawkes remembered: “I always got my reeves paints from there for Christmas fab shop the towns never been the same since they closed all the old famous shops down Finns and joplings so sad.”

Sean Wallace-Docherty told us: “I got all my birthday and xmas toys with money i got from here as a kid, Matchbox Motoway and Intercom City, plus lots more loved this shop i did.”

Mark Reed remembered the wonderment of it all. “It felt completely unreal as a kid, like a magical toy store you only see in the movies. Honestly the town never felt the same once it went.”

Joyce Nemeth was impressed by the customer service. She said: “My son saved up for a remote controlled car .The gentleman who served us wasn’t upset by loads of change .He just got a board and put it on the counter and we counted the money .That was good service wouldn’t happen now.”

Sharon Emery was another to go there with her nana. “Took me there every Saturday and then we went to Binns for a cream cake.”

Joseph’s made it a perfect festive season for John Wright, one year. “Got my first Hornby train set from there in the 70s ,best Christmas ever.”

Maxine Buist similarly said: “loved Josephs...they made our Christmas every year.”

And the same with Christine Hope who said Joseph’s solved her nightmare of fruitless searching for that must-have toy. “Tracy island. It was the last resort after looking everywhere and they had one left.”

Paul Davis remembered: “Won a competition there to meet Darth Vader..... so many memories of that shop.”

Christopher Stonehouse loved to race upstairs “to put two pence in the slot to watch the trains go round.”

And Gillian Lambert told us: “Loved this shop used to go every week and buy a different schleich plastic animal.”

Thanks to everyone who responded.