Cumbrian company Herdy has created a new edition featuring bits not normally seen on a stuffed toy. The firm believe this soft Herdwick is the first “teddy with testicles” to ever be produced in the UK. This product – which has been limited to a run of and is known as My Herdy Best in Show – goes on sale today and was inspired by this year’s Matterdale and St Johns in the Vale Sheep Show, which took place last month. The company’s founders Diane and Spencer Hannah presented a special award for the overall Herdwick champion. As well as the anatomical features, the cuddly toy also includes a handstitched enamel winners rosette and the traditional raddle – a daub of colour applied to the herdwicks by sheep farmers prior to showing them. The toy is handmade in Shropshire by Merrythought Teddy Bears, the last remaining teddy makers in Britain.
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More and more Teddy Bear makers are being discovered and, although the major names are well documented many of the smaller manufacturers have now faded into obscurity. Very little indeed is known about this company. We know that it was founded in and ceased all production in The teddy bears produced were labelled with a metal button in the ear with the words “Steevans, England” written on it, along with a serial number embossed on it.
However, many of these fine old teddy bears are found without any markings at all. Because the factory survived for such a very short period of time, these bears are quite rare today.
For a couple of years, Merrythought put a button in the ear  of Teddy Bears before the 2nd WW. It almost had the same shape as the one used by Chad Valley, but yellow with a wishbone motive and written across it ‘Hygienic – Merrythought – Toys’.
This idea for a cuddly toy is set to drive collectors nuts. Cumbrian company Herdy has created a new edition featuring bits not normally seen on a stuffed toy. The firm believe this soft Herdwick is the first “teddy with testicles” to ever be produced in the UK. This product – which has been limited to a run of and is known as My Herdy Best in Show – goes on sale today and was inspired by this year’s Matterdale and St Johns in the Vale Sheep Show, which took place last month.
The company’s founders Diane and Spencer Hannah presented a special award for the overall Herdwick champion. As well as the anatomical features, the cuddly toy also includes a handstitched enamel winners rosette and the traditional raddle – a daub of colour applied to the herdwicks by sheep farmers prior to showing them. The toy is handmade in Shropshire by Merrythought Teddy Bears, the last remaining teddy makers in Britain.
Sarah Holmes, director, said: Herdy have always pushed the creative boundaries but this latest request did rather take us by surprise. Originally with a range of just three products – mugs, pin badges and keyrings – it now has more than in its range.
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About Old Teddies We aim to bring you a selection of appealing quality antique teddy bears at competitive prices. In addition, vintage teddies from the continent, USA and Australia may make their way here, hoping to find a good home. We try to source old toys mainly dating from pre through to the s, but may sometimes include more recent limited editions from the best quality factories such as Steiff or Merrythought.
From the almost pristine, unplayed with bear, to the well-loved character who has clearly meant a great deal to his previous young owner , their condition varies. While the latter type holds a special appeal for some collectors, we always give a full description, and make a point of mentioning any ‘injuries’ or repairs Ted may have had.
’s/60’s ANTIQUE VINTAGE MERRYTHOUGHT TEDDY BEAR “BILLY” Billy is a lovely chubby ’s/60’s Merrythought teddy bear, 16 inches in height, with amber/black plastic eyes, excellent nose/mouth stitching retained and good strong brushed cotton .
Established in Merrythought is one of the oldest and most prestigious of England’s toy manufacturers. For over 60 years the magic of Merrythought has delighted adults and children of all ages with a range of traditional hand crafted toys that are more than mere playthings. A Merrythought toy is a joy forever – a treasured family friend to be passed down from generation to generation – valued heirloom that’s guaranteed to give year after year of lasting pleasure.
The history of Merrythought provides a fascinating insight into early 19th Century England – a period of considerable industrial change and development. The story actually began in when Mr B. Holmes the present Managing Directors grandfather went into partnership with a Mr GHI Laxton to open a spinning mill in Yorkshire to quite simply manufacture mohair yarn from imported raw materials. Holmes and Lax ton decided to buy Lyons plush weaving company and realised they had to find something to do with the mohair yarns.
The Sales Director of the combined companies knew two men who were to play a vital role in the development of Merrythought.
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I have been a bear maker for some 30 years now, having only quite recently returned to bearmaking after a 5 year break due to eyesight issues. I returned to bear making only last year, with a whacky range of bizarre bears called Cavedwellers, named after various cave formations, designed to launch me back onto the bearmaking scene with a bang!
And it certainly did! The range has recently expanded to now include Changelings which are at various stages of changing from a full Cavedweller Bear through to a Surface Bear I am releasing a range of Starcatchers, Moorwalkers and Waterfall Bears in the near future. My more conventional Bear Ranges all have the word “Teds” in their range names eg:
Merrythought has handmade traditional teddy bears in the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge, Shropshire, UK since Merrythought is a family business famous for crafting the finest, jointed, mohair teddy bears adored by children and adults across the world.
Severus, whose father was neglectful and possibly even violent, began to identify with his mother’s family and created a secret nickname from his mother’s maiden name, calling himself the “Half-Blood Prince”. His unhappy relationship with his father may have been the origin of his disdain for Muggles. It is implied that Severus was friendless and uncared for by his parents.
This lack of care largely shaped Severus’s bitter disposition and cruel behaviour later in his life. Severus grew up at Spinner’s End , a shabby suburb of Cokeworth. Through the rest of his life, Severus continued to return there when he was not at school. The young Severus is depicted as being unwashed and wearing ill-fitting clothes “that were so mismatched that it looked deliberate”.
As a child, Severus was neglected and his parents often fought with one another. He could not wait to leave for Hogwarts at the end of the summer. Snape telling Lily that she is a witch Lily Evans and her family lived in the same town, close to Spinner’s End. After watching her for some time, Severus noticed her evident magical abilities and began making friendly overtures.
The two bonded quickly and it appears that he was very interested in Lily right from the beginning, though she only regarded him as a good friend. During this time he also developed a contempt towards her older sister, Petunia. This was most likely because she made disparaging comments about his clothes and residence, but may also be because she was a Muggle.
Cumbria company creates cuddly sheep thought to be first “teddy with testicles”
In , his daughter Agnus began making soft toys. In , after their father’s death, the company moved to Acton where Agnus and her brother Henry Farnell set up a soft toy business in a leased 18th century house in The Elms, initially using rabbit skins. It is believed that they produced their first teddy bear in In , J K Farnell became a private limited company and set up the Alpha Works next to the existing factory and produced teddy bears.
In their Alpha trademark was officially registered, used on all Farnell bears since the ‘s. From my own personal Teddy Bear Collection, this is a J K Farnell bear c ‘s to possibly early ‘s, with the Alpha trademark label on his foot.
Merrythought Dating and Identification. Browse: All items 13ins label Merrythought The trademark Merrythought is a 17th century word meaning wishbone which is a symbol of good luck.
In , one of the Deans family, a certain Captain Henry Samuel Dean, together with a fellow director of the firm had produced a rag book. This was a fairly simple affair — a single colour print except for the cover which had two colours on calico. It had the benefit that when soiled by a child, it could be washed rather than expensively replaced. Diversification followed and rag books in all sizes were made — and in colour.
Photograph Albums, postcard albums, cut-out doll sheets, kites, blow-up toys and rag dolls were just some items produced over the next ten years. We know of no-one who has seen these bears in recent times. Pictured left is Master Bruno — c. Pictured left is Nigel — c. In the s, the introduction of cheaper toys from the Far East made it impossible to to carry on as before.
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I am now honored to reach out to the collectors and owners of unidentified bears, stuffed animals and vintage toys. Ken did this for years and was an expert appraiser. I was his understudy or apprentice and together we viewed and enjoyed each and every request that came our way. Appraising bears online will be a fun adventure for all of us. We will share our discoveries here on this web page.
Meeting new faces, in teddy bear form, and sharing the knowledge I have gathered, will be a joy.
Shortly after the founding, Merrythought began to make new designs. The company manufactured a series of soft alpaca bear cubs, and in the mid ‘s Chubby Bear. Bobby Bruin and Teddy Doofings represent that new direction.
It was begun in by Margarete Steiff, who was later assisted by her brother Fritz. Steiff produced black bears after the Titanic disaster Margarete Steiff contracted polio as a baby, leaving her wheelchair bound. Finding employment as a seamstress, she started making stuffed animals as a hobby. These toys began as elephants, which were originally a design Steiff found in a magazine and sold as pincushions to her friends. However, children began playing with them, and in the years following she went on to design many other successful animal-themed toys for children, such as dogs, cats and pigs.
She designed and made most of the prototypes herself.