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Celebrating 90 years of British Heritage with a visit to Merrythought Teddy Bears

January 29, 2020

Celebrating 90 years of British Heritage with a visit to Merrythought Teddy Bears

In Merrythought's 90th Birthday Year, we were thrilled to get an invitation to the factory in the iconic Shropshire World Heritage site of Ironbridge Gorge. The factory where each and every bear is handmade, is in the view of the Ironbridge built in 1779 and is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Passing through the factory gates with their specially made teddy bears on the top, we were walking through 90 years of British Heritage. 

  Merrythought Factory Merrythought Teddy Bear Factory 1930

 

We were met by the Great, Great Grand daughter of the original owner of Merrythought who is carrying on the family tradition of making these luxury bears which are collected throughout the world.

  Merrythought Bear Royal Visit Merrythought Factory 1930

 

We were privileged to get a behind the scenes tour of how these delightful bears are made, starting with the cuddly Mohair.  Merrythought have all their Mohair fabric made especially to order and carefully choose the most appropriate for their bears.  Larger, bespoke customers can even choose their own!

 Pattern cutting Merrythought bear 90 year Merrythought logo

Once the Mohair is chosen it is then individually cut and then each piece carefully sewn together by talented seamstresses, who also sew Merrythought logos onto each bear.

 Merrythought Logo

Merrythought Bear with bow

As we watched the teddies being lovingly handled, it wasn't until the eyes were put in the bears that they really came to life.  Some eyes are glass and are for adult collectors, whereas plastic is used for Merrythought teddy bears destined to be cuddled by a lucky boy or girl. Each Merrythought bear is jointed by hand  and it was fascinating to see how they were skilfully assembled. The Production Manager, Ian told me that they have looked at many different ways of trying this process, but by hand gives the best results.  

 Hand stitched Merrythought bear Sewing Merrythought Bear

Once stuffed the bears are ready to be completed and are hand stitched by Penny an expert seamstress who has been with the company for 31 years!  She cross-stitches the back to make sure everything is secure and then hand stitches the nose and mouth, which really does give the bear it's final personality.  Penny did say to us that it can depend on her mood what personality the bear finally ends up with! The Merrythought bears all looked very jolly when we were there!!!

Merrythought Shop

One of our favourite parts of the day was seeing a  little bear having its hair brushed and then trimmed from around its eyes and mouth, it came alive !  We were all quite taken with it..... and yes one did come home with us! 

 Merrythought Bear

 

But not this one!

Large Merrythought Teddy Bear.

Talking to members of staff, it was obvious to see that the last British Teddy Bear Manufacturer is a popular place to work with family members working together, sisters, gran and granddaughter. From Ian the Production Manager, Tina who showed us around to Christine and Carol in the shop they were all passionate about their iconic bears.

Merrythought Christopher Robin's bear

 


It can take up to 2 hours for each Merrythought bear to make its way around the factory and seeing our little bear take shape was a privileged experience.  It was very easy to see why these hand crafted teddy bear, made in the English countryside, next to the beautiful River Severn are collected throughout the world.

This year is even more special as Merrythought are celebrating their 90th birthday and have just launched the charming, limited edition 90th Anniversary bear, which is sure to become a collectors favourite.  You can reserve your special bear at www.goviersofsidmouth.co.uk/merrythought.  You can view our entire Merrythought bear collection on our website or request a catalogue at customerservices@goviersofsidmouth.co.uk







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