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Merrythought Teddy Bears Parade Ironbridge

Merrythought’s First Generation

Founded in 1930 in Ironbridge, Merrythought began crafting high-quality soft toys and quickly expanded its product range. Despite World War II interrupting production, the company became a significant player in the British toy industry.

Merrythought Bear

The original Merrythought Bear was designed in 1931 by Florence Attwood as part of an imaginative range of soft toys. An authentic replica of the bear was recreated in 2017 to celebrate Royal Mail’s ‘Classic Toys’ stamp series.

The Original Punkie

From 1949 to 1956, Merrythought produced Punkinhead bears exclusively for Eaton’s department store in Canada. Designed by Florence Attwood, Punkinhead was known for its unique appearance and became synonymous with Christmas. Today, the bear, now called Punkie, is a popular collectible enjoyed worldwide.

Gordon Holmes

Founder Gordon Holmes was an innovative entrepreneur who brought together a skilled team to establish Merrythought as a market leader. His ambition and business acumen led to the company’s growth.

Florence Attwood’s Contribution

Florence Attwood, despite facing challenges due to being deaf and unable to speak, designed Merrythought’s inaugural collection, including iconic teddy bears that continue to influence designs today.

London Zoo Panda

In 1939, Merrythought created a life-sized Giant Panda soft toy for London Zoo, providing a stand-in for the zoo’s famous panda, Ming. This lifelike creation was the world’s first soft toy panda.

World War II Challenges

During World War II, Merrythought’s factory was repurposed for map-making work. The reduced workforce relocated and contributed to the war effort by making various textile items. Production resumed in 1946, though the factory faced challenges such as flooding. Merrythought persevered and created a small collection of toys, bringing joy to customers once again.

Source: https://www.merrythought.co.uk/our-history

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