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The Story Of Merrythought Began In 1930

Four Generations Of The Finest Teddy Bears

The story of Merrythought began in 1930, when Gordon Holmes, owner of a mohair spinning mill in Yorkshire, recognized an opportunity to make beautiful soft toys from this special Angora fleece. His wish was to create the very nest teddy bears that would be cherished by children and adults for years to come.

Gordon discovered a beautiful brick foundry building in the heart of Shropshire, and with the help of a small team of skilled local seamstresses, Merrythought was born. The original workshop remains our home to this day; an enchanting place where each soft toy is expertly brought to life using luxury materials and traditional craftsmanship that has been handed down the four generations of our family business.

Only soft toys of the highest quality are allowed to carry the trusted Merrythought label. We therefore ensure the utmost care and attention to detail in everything that we do, right down to the hand-embroidered nose and delightful smile that makes each teddy bear so unique.

A Merrythought is not just a teddy bear, but an exquisite piece of British heritage and a loyal companion through life.

Today Merrythought is the last remaining British Teddy bear manufacturer!
Merrythought's talented team of Teddy bear makers use traditional methods and premium materials to craft the finest Teddy bears and animal friends in the world. Each and every Merrythought creation is made from start to finish in the famous Ironbridge factory in Shropshire, England, a tradition of almost nine decades!

The Tag Everyone Recognizes
Merrythought wishbone

The World-Famous Merrythought Footlabel

Merrythought bears can be easily identified by the distinctive label on their footpad - traditionally on the right foot although some earlier bears may vary.

The Traditional Merrythought Teddy Bear Crafted By Artisans In England

Hand-Making The Perfect Teddy Bear

Merrythought sources only premium materials to lovingly create their Teddy bears. The best quality mohair plush is selected and neatly cut to each soft toy's unique set of patterns, many of which are based on original templates from the earliest years. Incorporating other natural fabrics, such as wool felt and cotton, the pieces are expertly worked with traditional needle and thread to form each part of the bear.

The eyes, legs, arms and joints are skilfully sewn and assembled by hand, gradually creating the recognisable characteristics of the Merrythought bear. Taking time to fill the toy to an optimum weight, it is then ready for the finishing touches; a carefully hand-embroidered nose and smile, a thorough brush and trim, and a neatly tied ribbon bow.

As a signature of quality, Merrythought's exceptional soft toys are finished with a prestigious stamp of approval - the famous Merrythought gold-and-black label stitched to the right paw. The Teddy bear is then ready to start its journey as a lifelong friend, continuing the magical Merrythought story for another generation.

Merrythought is the last remaining
British Teddy bear manufacturer!
All Merrythought bears are made from start to finish in the famous Ironbridge factory from a variety of bespoke mohair and other fabrics including alpaca, other wools, silks and cottons.


 
A Curious Story Of Luck

Merrythought wishboneWhy The Merrythought Emblem Is A Wishbone

The origin of the name Merrythought derives from an archaic name for a wishbone, a symbol of 'good luck'. The wishbone has been the company's emblem since 1930.

 
Merrythought Throughout The Decades - The 1930s

Merrythought In The Early Years - 1930s

Merrythought Founding

1930, And So It Begins...

With the assistance of Clifton Rendle of Chad Valley and Henry Janisch of J. K. Farnell (two leading British soft toy manufacturers) Gordon Holmes diversifies his textile businesses by founding Merrythought Toys. Production begins at a factory owned by The Coalbrookdale Company in Ironbridge, Shropshire - the home of the Industrial Revolution (now a World Heritage Site).

 

Merrythought Catalog


Early Printed Catalogs Spread The Word

Expressed in the company’s first catalogues is Merrythought’s promise of ‘Quality, Courtesy, Service and Economy’. The high end retailers, such as, Harrods, Hamleys and Selfridges, stocking Merrythought products were testament to the company’s instantaneous success in breaking into an increasingly competitive soft toy market.

 

Merrythought Pandas
May We Introduce The Panda

The first pandas are created just a year or two after the western world was told about these unusual Chinese animals - they soon became a hugely popular design. Over the years Merrythought has created nearly 100 different shapes and sizes of panda - they are still as popular today as they were when they were introduced.

 
 
Teddy Bears Crafted By Hand In Britian

A History Of Fine, Handmade Teddy Bears Since Before 1930

Merrythought“Merrythought has been hand-making the quintessential English teddy bear in the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge, Shropshire, since 1930 and is now the last remaining British teddy bear manufacturer. The company is a fourth generation family business founded by Mr W.G Holmes in 1930 as a diversification from his mohair mill in Yorkshire. Over the years a huge range of teddy bears, soft toys, dolls, push-along toys, rocking horses and other animals have been created in the famous factory.”

- from the Merrythought website

Merrythought 1908 first TeddyIn 1907, William Gordon Holmes (Merrythought's present Directors great-grandfather) goes into partnership with George Laxton to open Holmes, Laxton & Co., a mohair spinning mill in Yorkshire where imported raw materials are spun into high quality mohair yarn. In 1908, family firm JK Farnell & Co Ltd produced the first British Teddy bear - a fully jointed, mohair bear with hand-stitched nose and claws (shown in picture.

With the assistance of Clifton Rendle of Chad Valley and Henry Janisch of J. K. Farnell (two leading British soft toy manufacturers) Gordon Holmes diversifies his textile businesses by founding Merrythought Toys in 1930. Production begins at a factory owned by The Coalbrookdale Company in Ironbridge, Shropshire - the home of the Industrial Revolution (now a World Heritage Site)