Inside Britain’s final teddy bear manufacturing unit that impressed Winnie the Pooh and helped have a good time arrival of Prince George
- The Merrythought manufacturing unit in Shropshire launched 9 a long time in the past in 1930
- Firm was based by Gordon Holmes who owned a mohair spinning mill
- The corporate has been handed down via generations of the Holmes household
Terri-ann Williams For Mailonline
The UK’s final teddy bear manufacturing unit, which helped to have a good time the arrival of Prince George and impressed Christopher Milne’s Winnie the Pooh character has opened its doorways to disclose the craftsmanship behind probably the most bespoke handmade toys in Britain.
The fourth-generation family-run Merrythought manufacturing unit in Shropshire launched 9 a long time in the past in 1930 and its conventional bears have been a cult basic ever since.
The recognition of the bears has meant that they’ve often been gifted to royals in addition to inspiring the design behind Winnie the Pooh.
The lovable Merrythought bears are hand crafted and embellished with a ribbon
The family-run manufacturing unit provides probably the most bespoke teddy bears within the UK
The precise materials (pictured above) used to make the bears is thought for its excessive luster and sheen
Because the firm’s launch by authentic founder and CEO Gordon Holmes, who owned a mohair spinning mill, the corporate has been handed down via generations of the Holmes household and is now below the care of Mr Holmes’ nice granddaughter Sarah Holmes.
Merrythought opened its doorways to the general public to disclose the scenes going down – with employees busily stitching noses, eyes and stuffing the bears, which promote for between £50 and £280.
Firm director Miss Holmes mentioned: ‘Gordon found a fantastic brick foundry constructing within the coronary heart of Shropshire, and with the assistance of a small workforce of extremely expert native seamstresses, Merrythought was born.
‘This authentic workshop stays our house to at the present time.
The proprietor of Merrythought, Sarah Holmes (pictured above) mentioned the manufacturing unit is an ‘enchanting place’
The manufacturing unit has tried to maintain its procedures as conventional as potential
There’s a particular course of concerned within the creation of every bear from stitching its eyes on (left) to stitching limbs collectively (proper)
‘It is a fascinating place the place every smooth toy is expertly dropped at life utilizing luxurious supplies and conventional craftsmanship.
‘We’re extraordinarily pleased with our British heritage, and it is crucial to our model, significantly in territories reminiscent of Japan, Australia and the USA the place we’ve got sturdy fan bases.
‘It is one thing which means rather a lot to us, and our clients.’
The corporate makes bears to order and retains a big inventory of supplies
Sarah Holmes (left and proper) had the manufacturing unit handed all the way down to her after he father Oliver died
Miss Holmes mentioned the corporate is famed for its British heritage and so they pleasure themselves on being the final remaining firm within the UK to make the basic British teddy bear, which means every bit of fabric used to create the toy is British-sourced and handmade in Shropshire.
The icing on the cake for the nationwide establishment got here in 2013 when employees have been commissioned by The Royal Assortment to make a limited-edition bear to have a good time the arrival of Prince George.
Now with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle’s new child anticipated in Spring 2019, they’re hoping to be bestowed the identical honour to have a good time the new child’s arrival.
Sarah mentioned: ‘The prospect to design the royal bear got here not lengthy after my father Oliver handed away, so it actually meant rather a lot to myself and the workforce.
The skin of the Merrythought bear store in Shropshire, Ironbridge
‘Quantity one of many version was handed over to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.’
The Merrythought bear ‘Edward’ additionally shaped a part of the inspiration behind Christopher Milne’s Winnie the Pooh character, after his spouse purchased the bear for his or her son.
And Miss Holmes mentioned the corporate imagine within the significance of workmanship and the fabric used to create timeless teddies that lasts generations.
The fabric cutters (pictured above) that are used to chop the shapes of the limbs for the bears
Sarah mentioned: ‘Solely smooth toys of the very best high quality are allowed to hold the trusted Merrythought label.
‘We make sure the utmost care and a focus to element in all the pieces we do, proper all the way down to the hand-embroidered nostril and pleasant smile that makes every teddy bear so distinctive.
‘A Merrythought isn’t just a teddy bear; it is an beautiful piece of British heritage to cherish and cross on to the subsequent technology.’
A employees places the ending touches onto the Merrythought bear
The historical past of the Merrythought teddy bear
Regardless of the teddy bear being virtually a mascot for Britain, with characters reminiscent of Paddington Bear and Winnie the Pooh, the primary teddy bear was truly made in Germany.
Teddy bears have been first invented in Germany and the US in 1902, nevertheless it was the British who fell in love with the teddy bear and opened bear making factories everywhere in the nation.
Nonetheless, imported items from China and different exporting international locations meant that by the tip of the 20th century the standard bear makers couldn’t compete with the hovering prices and manufacturing targets.
The Merrythought bears (pictured above) are handmade on the manufacturing unit in Shropshire
This result in many of the factories throughout the UK being closed down. There had been round 30 factories throughout the UK, however now just one stays, the Merrythought manufacturing unit in Shropshire.
The manufacturing unit has tried to maintain its course of as conventional as potential and never a lot has modified because it began making bears within the 1930s. The one distinction now’s that there’s additionally a mechanised stuffing machine.
The employees use a specialist course of to fabricate the bear which begins with materials choice.
As soon as this has been chosen the arms legs and heads are reduce with slicing shapes. The components then go to the machinist who sews them collectively so the bears can begin to take form.
The limbs of the bear are then hooked up and the eyes sewn on. The bears are then despatched to the stuffing machine to make them additional cuddly.
Noses and mouths are then sewn on earlier than a cute smile is stitched onto the bears. The bears are then groomed and brushed earlier than being accesorised with a ribbon round their neck.