British National Dolls of London


It has been more than five years since I wrote a post about Christine, the walking doll that I received when I was about four years old. In that post, I wrote that I did not know for sure who had made Christine as she was unmarked but I believed that she was either a BND or a Roddy. Since that time I have seen a couple of dolls on eBay described as BND but I have yet to find a book reference or a picture of a brand new boxed one. A swing tag or a box would help to ID her positively.

walking doll
Unmarked possibly BND. My walking doll Christine. I made her pinafore.

The subject came up again last month while Naomi was on holidays in Adelaide. One day she went to a big antique place and found a doll that she told me looked a lot like Christine. She sent me a photo and the doll looked exactly like Christine, but with blonde hair. Not only that but her dress was just like the dress that Christine used to have except that Christine’s was pink. The doll and another which I’ll talk about in another post came home with Naomi. Here are the girls together.

Here are Caroline and Christine .the BND walkers.
Caroline and Christine .the BND walkers.

 

Naturally, we started to talk about who made them again and Naomi found another picture of a doll tagged BND on eBay. BND, by the way, stands for British National Dolls. This company was based in London between 1930-60 but so far I haven’t found out a lot more about them. They made a lot of dolls and I would love to know more about the company history.

One piece of information I did run across was that BND supplied dolls to Marks and Spencer’s for their “St Michaels” brand including one called “Dollie Walker” in the 1950s and early 60s. I did an internet search for “BND Dollie Walker” and came up with an earlier version of the doll which was all hard plastic.  These earlier hard plastic dolls were marked BND on the back of the neck. Perhaps when they switched to the vinyl heads they stopped marking them.  BND doll clothing was never tagged but apparently, their original shoes were marked BND London. I am pretty sure I never saw that on Christine’s shoes, however. I have managed to find a picture of one of these dolls with her box which is clearly marked “Dollie Walker”. I will keep trying to find a picture of a boxed transitional doll who is like Christine and her new sister Caroline but I think that we have solved the mystery.

Caroline still needs a wash and a bit of a tidy up and when I have done that I will take some more photos of her.

Caroline still has her original dress but the shoes are replaced.

 

This has also made me think that the smaller all vinyl doll I have who looks rather like Christine may also be a BND. They made a similar looking doll called Marilyn who has different hair but the same body and face. I’ve left a picture in the links. See what you think.

1960s Vinyl doll
Unmarked doll, possibly a BND. Naomi found her in a shop and got her for $2.

 

Sources:

Worthpoint photo of BNDTransitional Walker

Worthpoint photo of BND hard plastic Dollie Walker

Vectis auctions photo of hard plastic Dollie Walker with box

Dolly Sisters Down Memory Lane page about BND walkers

Worthpoint photo of BND all vinyl “Marilyn”

 

 

 

 

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9 comments

    • All I could find so far was information given by sellers. I’d love to learn a bit about the company as well. They were not as big as Lines Brothers who owned Pedigree but they did make a lot of dolls.

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  1. She has a very sweet face, reminds me of a doll my mum has with curly hair… I don’t know who she is though and I don’t think she is the same. Makes me want to do some research.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello, I read your interesting post and thought you might like to know that the BND (British National Doll) company was founded by E. Ainley in London in 1928, and, rather like Pedigree, run by three brothers. Initially the company produced china-headed and composition dolls, but after the war they switched to hard plastic. As with many other British toy concerns of the time they obtained moulds from America, which explains why so many British and American dolls appear identical. Dollie Walker and Babykins were probably their most popular dolls. Eventually, the company sold most of their dolls through Marks and Spencer, which led to their downfall because in the early 1960s they were suddenly told that the stores were no longer going to sell dolls. By then, BND had lost most of their other outlets, and so the company were forced to close. I interviewed E. Ainsley’s son a few years ago, and heard the story.

    Liked by 1 person

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