Remember when you could be left in a room filled with Legos for hours on end without getting bored? Or when a Barbie or Action man was the only friend you needed? Those days are long gone. All over the world the rise of video games has driven traditional toy manufacturers bankrupt, leaving their once charming stores to plunge into a state of decay.
It’s the most innocent things in life that are the creepiest. While there’s nothing sinister about old toy factories, the sight of shattered doll heads and limbless teddies is quite disturbing. In fact, most are so creepy that even the most daring urban explorers would think twice before entering. In these 10 abandoned toy factories the sounds of laughing children, merrily anticipating their next Christmas or birthday gift are now a distant memory. While they are no longer the happy places they used to be, through the mildew ridden walls and graying haze of dust and debris, you can still picture the cheerful colors decorating the aisles, or the blissful tune of a spinning music box.
10. The Filature Dollhouse, France
Built into a beautiful Victorian-era factory, walking through The Filature Dollhouse is like stumbling straight into the industrial age. At the peak production the company operating inside these walls employed in excess of 2,000 people; however, in 2008 they went bust, leaving half of the local community jobless. While the newer machines were sold off to Italy, all of the old machines, some of which date back to the 19th century, are still rusting away at the site. Right next door is an equally spooky abandoned hemp textile production factory, which was also run by the same business.
9. The Matador Toy Factory, Pfaffstätten, Austria
Back in the day, wooden construction sets were the must have Christmas gift for young, aspiring builders. Almost every little child in Europe had some form of Matador wooden structure proudly displayed in their bedroom window. But times have changed. Now kids would rather sit in front of the television than play with little colorful wooden blocks. Due to changing recreational interests, popularity weaned, production costs went up, and this Matador toy factory died a slow and painful death. Now all that’s left is an empty warehouse with a few dozen overturned boxes and a very ominous looking cage.
8. The Frank Beech Toy Shop, Holywel, Wales
After over 70 years of service, the Frank Beech Toy Shop closed its doors in 2009. Amazingly, during the following five years the store was left completely untouched — perhaps it’s shady exterior put off the would-be thieves? Although the damp started to permeate some of the boxes, most remained in mint condition, and when an auction house discovered what was hidden in plain sight, they knew they’d struck gold. In April 2015, the stock was sold off to various collectors from all over the UK. One figurine – a Boba Fett Star Wars toy – collected £18,000, while a single pallet of toy cars amassed almost a quarter of a million!
7. The Toastmaster Factory, Illinois, USA
The Toastmaster Factory was once a prime employer for the Algonquin area as a manufacturer for small home appliances and children’s toys. However, in the early hours of October 18th 2010, a fire swept across the building, creating a blaze so powerful that firefighters were forbidden from going inside. The building subsequently burned to the ground, leaving only a blackened shell behind. Although an investigation took place, the cause of the fire was never determined. Due to the excessive vandalism that took place in the two years prior, local residents believed it to be the work of vandals.
6. The Kanga Toy Factory, Perth, Australia
To the current generation, wooden toys seem somewhat ancient, but in older, simpler times, Kanga were so popular that they had a worldwide distribution network. This old factory went out of business long ago and served as nothing more than a blank canvas for amateur graffiti artists before it met the wrecking ball in 2010. While it was once a hub for artisans to express themselves through the magic of toy making, with all the religious symbolism and dollar signs plastered across the walls, it resembles some kind of cult headquarters for a strange unknown religious order.
5. The Matchbox Factory, London, England
Renowned for making toy cars, the Matchbox Company – part of Lesney Products – had to say goodbye to their primary manufacturing plant in London, in 2010. While the decline of the traditional toy market contributed to its failure, it was the 2012 Olympic Games that put the final nail in the coffin. The Hackney Council needed the space to build a new arena and chose to demolish the building. Before it was leveled, the factory had been left unused for many years, which turned it into a dark and dangerous place on the brink of collapse.
4. Unknown, Russia
This abandoned Russian factory was part of the former USSR. Although the roof has fallen through, the machinery has rusted beyond repair, and the floor is piled with rubble, the bright interior manages to make it look like quite cheerful! According to the photographer, the building was found in an obscure location in the middle of nowhere, with no traces of civilization. The strangest element is the common room, which has a large mosaic image of Vladimir Lenin – in perfect condition – overlooking the room. It’s almost as if someone has been protecting it all these years.
3. The Doll Shop, Arizona, USA
This abandoned shack-like building is located in the middle of the Arizona Desert, on Cactus Forest Road. If it weren’t for the hand written sign at the front of the building that reads The Doll Shop, one would assume it was simply an old gas station – given the location. The discoverer stated that the interior was so dark and dingy, he had to use the flash from his camera to navigate the building. Although he found remnants of half-made toys in the dust ridden workshops, there were no business documents to find out who worked there, or what company operated under the “Doll Shop” moniker.
2. The Toy Loft, Connecticut, USA
The Toy Loft was a once booming factory, store and park. Built into an old mill, the premise was pretty eerie, even in its heyday. Remnants of a wiffle ball court, sword fighting school, laser tag arena and miniature golf course now sit in ruin, along with 50 year old toys which still stand in the storefront window. While the old owner of Toy Loft no longer holds the lease to the property, traces of his existence are still present in the form of threatening notes stuck across arcade machines, which he wrote to ward off vandals.
1. The Porcelain Doll Factory, Valencia, Spain
This Spanish doll factory is spread over three stories and has been untouched for over 50 years. Almost everything is still in order and left exactly how it was, suggesting that it closed in the middle of a working day. The plant was originally used to manufacture bisque dolls, which are created to resemble adult women and adorned wigs made from real human hair. Many of the dolls are still intact and remain highly valuable; however, the old building is so creepy that even the opportunity for financial gain hasn’t prompted people to venture inside and rummage through the boxes of limbless torsos and eyeless heads.