Monkeys at The Toy Museum, Penshurst Image Rachael Hale

‘Meet the Monkeys’ – Museum objects for kids in Kent

Monkeys at The Toy Museum, Penshurst Image Rachael Hale
Monkeys at The Toy Museum Image Rachael Hale

The Toy Museum at Penshurst Place is perfect for a family day out.  As you may expect it’s filled with brilliant museum objects for kids ranging from rocking horses and dolls houses to miniature trains and puppet shows.  It also has the most amazing animated drinking bear but it’s these two little monkeys who have been causing a bit of trouble.

You see, I recently had an opportunity to talk to Verity Clarke, the museums’ curator, about some of her favourite objects and she chose this cute couple as her ‘museum object with a Kent connection.’ As almost everything inside the museum has a direct link to the Sidney family who have owned Penshurst Place for the last 463 years that wasn’t a problem. It was the story behind them that caused a bit of chaos.

The original sign stated that Lady De L’Isle and Lord De L’Isle gave the monkeys to one another after their engagement in 1980, go on, you can say ‘ah’ if you want to, and Verity clearly has some affection for them.  But when I asked what month the engagement occurred, it sadly led to an unravelling of the tale.

They certainly did belong to the family but, for now, there is the mystery of whom. For me that adds a little bit of museum magic and they remain a great museum object for kids to see.

Take a trip to see them at The Toy Museum, Penshurst Place Penshurst, Tonbridge
Kent TN11 8DG

Many thanks to Lord De L’Isle for allowing me to use this image and to Lucy McLeod and Verity Clarke for their continued support.

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Rachael Hale (Homes and History Magpie)

Freelance home interiors and Kent history writer. Frequently found in dusty old buildings and 'Kent Life' magazine. Find me via Twitter - @rachaelhale1 Read my home interiors and history blog -

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