Did you have a favourite dolly when you were growing up, or did you dream of one day owning a certain type of doll?
Take a trip down memory lane and see how many of these delightful dollies you loved to love.
Nene Plastics began manufacturing Rosebud Dolls in 1947, and by the 1950s, the advertising text read: “Britain’s prettiest and most popular dolls are all that good dolls should be… Walking dolls, talking dolls, dolls with hair that can be combed and curled, dolls with eyes that open and shut, baby dolls and bigger dolls – you’ll find them all in the delightful Rosebud range.”
According to comments posted by Spring Chicken Facebook followers, the company did indeed live up to its “She’d love a Rosebud Doll” claim:
“I still have mine. It’s a black one, and she’s still in her original clothes after 67 years.”
“My Rosebud Doll was bought for me in 1954. I still have her.”
Walkie Talkie Dolls
By 1967, American toy company Mattel had bought out Nene Plastics and sales of Rosebud-Mattel Walkie Talkie Dolls were soaring, as were sales of dolls made by Pedigree. The walkie element progressed from the doll having to be held and helped along by hand to being able to walk independently with the aid of batteries.
“I had a Walkie Talkie Doll and I named her Yvonne. I thought it was wonderful holding her hand and walking with her. Oh, happy memories!”
The talkie element also progressed from the early days of the doll saying “Mama” when turned over, to say a selection of different phrases when a cord in her back was pulled…
In the late ’60s, Rosebud-Mattel made the British version of the popular American doll, Chatty Cathy. She had a repertoire of at least 11 phrases, including, “I love you” and, “Will you play with me?”
“I had a Chatty Cathy. I remember her saying, ‘I do love you mommy’.”
“I remember my Chatty Cathy. She was nearly as big as me! My mum knitted her a brown and yellow ski outfit.”
Many in the Spring Chicken Community remember playing with a Tiny Tears.
Later models were made of plastic and had nylon hair, but if you had one of these dolls, you’ll remember her “rock-a-bye” eyes that slowly closed as she was rocked to sleep, and the little holes that allowed her to cry realistic tears.
Even the most loved of dolls needed a little repair from time to time, and many were taken to a dolls’ hospital. Doll doctors could fix broken limbs, replace missing hair, and mend
wonky eyes, making sure treasured dollies could withstand many more years of play. They still exist, but in today’s throw-away culture, they’re few and far between.
“I remember as a child, if one of my dolls broke, my dad would say he was taking her to the dolls’ hospital and she’d soon be better – and she was.”
Constant cuddling led to some dollies needing a little extra TLC, but if Spring Chicken Facebook comments are anything to go by, not all “injuries” happened by accident:
“Still got my Walkie Talkie Doll from 1952. Unfortunately, she looks like a monk as her hair was not to be combed, but I did!”
“I had a Walkie Talkie Doll, her name was Patricia. I got a telling off from my mum big time when I decided to cut her hair off – well, I was a hairdresser that day!”
And it seems that brothers were often prone to inflicting damage…
“I once got a Walkie Talkie Doll for Christmas. My brother took it apart to see how it worked on Boxing Day.”
“I had a Walkie Talkie Doll. I loved her and called her Barbara, then my younger brother poked her eyes in.”
Then Came Sindy
Sindy, Britain’s answer to the American Barbie, arrived in 1963. Made by the Pedigree Doll Company, she was sold as, “The doll you love to dress,” and with her extensive wardrobe, she very quickly became more popular than the bigger, sturdier dolls of the 1950s.
Other memorable arrivals in the ’60s include the Pollyanna Doll, standing over 30 inches tall, and Tippy Tumbles. She had a battery pack and could do somersaults and flips.
“I still have my black Rosebud doll. I had a Pollyanna doll and another smaller doll with blonde rooted hair. Loved my dolls.”
Favourite childhood dolls are fondly remembered, and so many in the Spring Chicken Community can clearly recall the names they gave them and the outfits they used to wear, even after 50 or more years. Some have long since been given away, some languish in attics, and some have pride of place in spare bedrooms to this day. But, as many have said, the years have been kinder to some than others…
“I’ve still got my Walkie Talkie Doll from the ’60s, she’s on the bed in the spare room. I absolutely adored her, but, unfortunately, she no longer walks, and her ‘Mama’ no longer works either – old age comes to us all!”