The 2019 AnniBEARsary edition of Hugglets TEDDIES Festival will bring you wonderful special exhibitions with exclusive views into the past and the future of the UK Teddy Bear World.
The Return of Dean’s Bears
The origins of the Dean’s Rag Book Co Ltd. date back to 1903 when the company was founded in London. It was a new venture for a successful 1711 established children’s book publishing company. Dean’s have always been at the forefront of toy design and manufacture and were the first British company to produce teddy bears as early as 1915 and probably even earlier from 1906. During the time of First World War Dean’s stepped into the gap left in the market by Austrian and German toys, which weren’t available anymore. Their first toy catalogue ‘Kuddlemee’ included three mohair teddy bears.
Dean’s made many types of toys from rag books, for which they were initially famous, to beautifully crafted dolls, teddy bears and even Mickey Mouse and other characters.
During the 1980 toys were first imported from the far east making UK production highly uncompetitive. It has been a rough time for Dean’s as well as for many other manufacturers. In 1988 husband and wife team of Neil and Barbara Miller bought the company and refocussed the business in the popular field of collectable, limited edition bears. Most of the collections were designed by the family themselves, produced in very low limitations. They made the company one of the best loved teddy bear manufacturers in the UK.
In 2018 Dean’s Bears was inherited by Ren Lee, owner of Clemens Spieltiere Germany. With the new ownership comes new life and new energy into the traditional brand. A new collection of 48 bears is eagerly anticipated and will be presented for the first time at Hugglets TEDDIES Festival 2019 in the basement of Kensington Town Hall. Maybe you are one of the lucky winners of one of them? Because there will be a raffle with 25 of these brand new fellows.
A Journey Through Teddy History
Vectis Auctions has been at the forefront of toy auctions for over 31 years and to date have sold over a million toys. They hold over 80 dedicated toy auctions a year, with at least 4 just for teddy bears and dolls.
The Vectis experts will be presenting a display of British Bears during the 2019 Hugglets TEDDIES Festival. The presentation will lead you on a journey through the decades, from the initial years of British production through to difficult years of conflict, economic depression, threat of foreign imports, effects of new safety standards and the decline in production.
The consequences of the turbulent years are eased as we see the resurgence of interest in the teddy bear during the 1980’s, appearance of teddy artists and the development of the genre in the UK. The expedition marches on, right up to the present-day, vast collectors’ market including sensations like Charlie Bears.
A mix of bears, books, images and information boards will bring the passage of time to life. The British Bear Timeline will be presented in the basement of Kensington Town Hall.