Quite a large part of my doll collection is made up of dolls made in the 1960s. Dolls were still being manufactured in England then. Some of the main companies to make hard plastic and later vinyl dolls were Pedigree, Roddy, Palitoy, Chiltern, Rosebud and BND. During my childhood many dolls were transitional being made partly of hard plastic and partly of the newer, softer vinyls. Other British doll companies were still producing cloth dolls. The main ones I know about are Chad Valley, Dean’s Rag Book and Norah Wellings. The Chad Valley dolls are very expensive and collectible and so far I don’t own one although I would very much like to one day.
I’ve often mentioned my large walking doll Christine, my Pedigree walker and of course my Sindy doll collection. My other British made dolls are mostly dolls ranging in size from 10″ to 16″. Some are marked plainly Made in England, some are not so I can’t say for certain that they all were but companies like Pedigree also had dolls manufactured for them in other parts of the Commonwealth; Australia, New Zealand and South Africa all had doll making factories. This may be a reason why Pedigree dolls are not always marked as such. In the 1960s a lot of dolls were also manufactured in Hong Kong, then a British Crown Colony. “Empire Made” was a tag sometimes found on Sindy outfits made outside of England and I thought that it was an appropriate name for this page.
I do have a couple of dolls that are marked or have been identified as Pedigree. The others I call “Pedigree type” as I’m not completely sure about them but they resemble marked dolls that I do have.
Some of the British manufacturers produced dolls under licence for US companies. Palitoy for example made American Character’s Tressy doll.
Anyway here are some of them. As you can see the unmarked dolls do have some similarities with the ones marked Pedigree.They have rooted Saran hair and sleep eyes although some of them have lost their eyelashes. The older dolls either have all limbs made of rigid plastic material and softer vinyl faces or rigid legs and softer arms. Two exceptions are the one with moulded hair who is made of really thick “rubbery” material and the one in the red print dress who might be a Roddy. I remember an early doll I had called “Blondie” who was made of this type of material. Blondie was “let go” when I was a teenager. She was the least loved of my dolls even though she was one of the oldest. Blondie had white hair and as I’ve mentioned I just can’t take to white-haired dolls.
Three of the main authors of books on British dolls are Colette Mansell, Susan Brewer and Frances Baird. I’ve listed some of their books which are available on Amazon, some I think come in a Kindle version.