Brick Built Preview at Torquay Museum


Want to feel like a kid again? Here’s how!


There are two universal truths in life and they both share a common thread; Lego.

The first of these indisputable facts is that there is nothing more painful than stepping barefoot on an upturned Lego brick. No, I’ll hear no arguments against this, you all know it to be true if your completely honest with yourselves so let’s just accept that I’m right and move on.

The second of these irrefutable veracities, is that Lego has similar restorative qualities to the Fountain of Youth. Simply place a box of the colourful stuff in front of any individual aged 21 to 101 and the results are instantaneous, with the subject immediately regressing to an age somewhere between 6 and 12 and defiantly shouting at you, “Just 5 more minutes, please!”

Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but its undoubtedly fair to say that Lego is universally loved, officially being the world’s favourite toy and rolling 2.16 million pieces out of its factories every day. The construction blocks are also famed for cultivating the architects of the future, inspiring minds and developing mechanical reasoning through play. Its names origins therefore seem pretty apt, “leg godt” or “play well”; surely playing cannot be done much better than this.

Today, a whole subculture surrounds Lego, with a seemingly infinite range of kits recreating iconic buildings, fictional worlds, historic eras and beyond. Creative minds have spawned Lego contraptions ranging from drawing machines through to fully drivable vehicles. There are board-games, computer games, colouring books and even a series of films surrounding the franchise, not forgetting the Legoland theme parks around the globe. The Lego phenomenon is celebrated around the world and now, that celebration has found a new home in Torquay.

If you’re looking for a family activity to pass off as being for the kids this Summer that’s just as enjoyable if not more so for mum and dad, then Brick Built at Torquay Museum is where you need to be. We had the pleasure of attending the preview last week for the exhibition which is the museums feature display for the Summer season, created by artist Warren Elsmore and sponsored by architects Kay Elliott; suspicion was raised that the local firm may have had ulterior motives for their support, perhaps looking to recruit the architects of the future!

Conspiracy theories aside, the exhibition is every kid’s dream with a collection of some of Elsemore’s best creations from the Brick Built and Brick City series. Constructions range from small 10-piece items of food, through to a full-scale airport scene encompassing thousands! The pieces represent what has been a lifelong passion for Warren, whose company now supplies museums and galleries throughout Europe with carefully curated shows of the Lego bricks. Why? Simple, to demonstrate that with a little time and imagination, just about anything is possible with these little bricks!


And it certainly does that. I challenge anyone to not spend an hour sat at the builder’s zone and guarantee that many will be rushing home from the exhibition to break out their own sets of Lego to embark on ambitious projects which will inevitably end up swathing large portions of the living room. Maybe you’ll even take inspiration from the model of Torquay Pavilion built especially for the exhibition and construct some of the Bay’s other iconic landmarks? Oldway Mansion perhaps, or maybe Parkfield House, or possibly Bishops Place?

Regardless of where your inspiration takes you, this is the perfect family exhibition for Torquay Museum’s Summer Season, so grab the kids and clear your afternoon for Brick Built.

I'll leave you with this. Whilst researching exciting Lego facts I stumbled across this quote in an article from an American publication: “In 2009, a man named James May in Surrey, Great Britain, constructed the world’s first full-size LEGO house, using 3.3million bricks” I for one loved James May’s “Toy Stories” series, hopefully since The Grand Tour landed at Amazon he now also has greater recognition across the pond!


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