Behind a toy shop, in Sydney, Australia, there is a hospital where employees stitch up fingers, restore vision, and take their marching orders from a surgeon-in-chief. Many of the specialists are veterans of the hospital, having worked there for decades.
But this family-owned infirmary doesn't save human lives. It tends exclusively to dolls, teddy bears, and other childhood toys. For more than a century, the Doll Hospital has nursed these cherished best friends back to health.
While it sounds downright precious, a Doll Hospital in action can be jarring at times — there's a reason Chucky is so frightening. In one corner of the workshop, disembodied arms and legs dangle from a line. In another, an employee pulls a toy head from a steaming vat of water. Meanwhile, a doll having its leg fixed appears to look off into the distance with glazed, heavy-lidded eyes.
But fear not, the hospital specializes in Toy Story-esque endings, not those that will keep you up in the middle of the night.
"We've had customers who've burst into tears [when they see a restored toy]," Geoff Chapman, the 67-year-old "surgeon-in-chief" whose grandfather started the business, told Reuters.
Below, see the happiness come creepily together in one of the world's last remaining full-service doll hospitals:
A young customer looks over the counter at a doll she brought in for repair. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
A teddy bear sits in two pieces on the workshop floor prior to its restoration. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
An employee pulls a doll's plastic head out of a bowl of hot water, which is used to soften the material before removing and replacing its old eyes. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
Hundreds of doll limbs sit on shelves. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
A restorer adds fingers to a damaged doll's hand. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
A worker matches a pair of eyes. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
Geoff Chapman, "surgeon-in-chief" and third-generation owner of Sydney's Doll Hospital, inspects the glued leg of a doll that was brought in for repair. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
A plastic doll's head is exposed to ultra-violet light to temporarily soften it, before workers re-attach it to its body. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
A repairer puts the finishing touches on a doll at her workbench. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
Customers Allan and Sue Paviour smile as they pick up their repaired teddy bear from the Doll Hospital. | (REUTERS/Jason Reed)