Doll Makers and their Marks - C

Chad Valley Button

Chad Valley Button c1920's

Chad Valley Bambina

Chad Valley Bambina Mark c1928

Chad Valley c1928

Chad Valley Mark c1928 found on second foot of cloth doll

Chad Valley c1930's

Chad Valley Mark after 1938 and before 1952, the queen being Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Chad Valley Ltd

Chad Valley began manufacturing dolls as part of England's National Scheme for employment of disabled men in 1917 although they had previously operated as a Victorian printing company. Originally, Anthony Bunn Johnson, a printer, decided to make simple picture games for childre as a sideline. Then, in 1860, his two sons Joseph and Alfred set up a business called Johnson Brothers in Birmmingham, concentrating on stationery. Thirty seven years later, the company moved to a valley near the River Chad, at Harborne on the outskirts of Birmingham, which later inspired the name, Chad Valley. Various types of cloth dolls were made. The earliest dolls were predominantly made with stockinette faces and later hand-painted felt faces on dolls of velvet or velveteen.

Chad Valley dolls varied in quality from mediocre cloth dolls with printed clothes and faces to fine dolls with hand-painted faces, wigs and glass eyes.

Some of the most famous dolls made by Chad Valley were the Snow White and Seven Dwarfs set of the 1930's and later the Mabel Lucie Atwell dolls.

In 1938 Chad Valley received a Royal Warrant as 'Toymakers to H.M. The Queen'. When Princess Elizabeth acceeded to the throne in 1952 the warrant was changed to read 'Toymakers to H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother'.

In addition to soft dolls, Chad Valley also made other toys including GWR jigsaw puzzles.

The company moved away from manufacturing toys in the Second World War. Instead they produced goods to help the war effort such as wooden instrument cases, cases for the barrels of anti-aicraft guns, hospital beds and electrical coils and starters.

In the 1950's, Chad Valley had become a well respected toy brand.

The company was one of the UK's leading toymakers for most of the 20th century, by 1960 it was operating seven factories and employing over 1,000 people. In the 1970s however it closed several factories and cuts were made in staffing and production, 1975 saw only two factories remaining. The company was taken over by Palitoy in 1978.

The brand name was bought by Woolworths in 1988 and remained in use until that company's closure due to insolvency. Home Retail Group, the parent company of retailers Homebase and Argos, purchased the brand for £5 million on 20 January 2009. The Chad Valley brand is now available exclusively at Argos.



BRITISH DOLLS OF THE 1950S (British Collectable Toys Series)

Antique Trader's Doll Makers and Marks: A Guide to Identification