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  • Place of origin:

    Welwyn Garden City (manufactured)
    Durham (County) (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1930s to 1950s (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kleeware (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plastic and material

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Donald Arkinstall

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This object is one of a collection given to the museum. The collection is quite important as it belonged to Dennis Arkinstall. Dennis worked in the toy industry for a company called Lines Brothers Ltd, they were mostly famous for their Tri-ang range of toys. Dennis was a sculptor and worked in the research and development of new toys for the company in particular the dolls which were produced under the Pedigree trade name. The catalogues highlight that their range of dolls are realistic and produced by a sculptor. We do not know when Dennis started working at the factory but we know that he was an influential figure in the designing of their most popular doll Sindy, which was produced in 1963.

This collected includes dolls from other manufactures as he would have collected them to inspire new ideas. They are often just heads, which was not uncommon as these were usually exported in large numbers and the bodies made at their destination as it was a cheap way to manufacture. The collection also includes moulds and experimental pieces from the factory as well as complete ones in their presentation boxes.

This doll was made by the Kleeware company. Kleeware was founded in 1938 by the Kleeman family and began producing domestic items such as combs and ashtrays. However when war broke out they started producing radio components for the Ministry of Defence. After the war ended Kleeware resumed their old productions but enlarged their line to include the manufacture of small toys and dolls. They made everything from model trucks and planes to dolls and dolls house furniture. They sold to Woolworths in large quantities as well as exporting their products around the world.
Kleeware began to manufacture in Welwyn Garden City and then when they outgrew this factory they moved to Aycliffe in Co. Durham. They used modern injection moulding machines to make their products, alongside compression moulding machines. In 1959 however they sold out to Rosedale plastics, who made the Tudor Rose dolls and were their biggest rivals.

Their most famous doll is the all-in-one hard doll that sucks its thumb, the larger version of these dolls contained beads and was sold as rattles to smaller children. The doll we have could be a version of this as its head rattles, or the ball/ beads could be a weight inside the head to help the doll stand by itself.

Physical description

Hollow moulded plastic doll made by Kleeware. has moulded hair that has been painted ginger with sideways glancing blue eyes and red open mouth. The arms of the doll are jointed and very loose. Whereas the rest of the doll is all-in-one with moulded shoes and socks painted blue and black. The doll is wearing a synthetic blue material dress that is sleeveless and tied at the shoulders by pink ribbons. The bonnet is of the same blue and is tied under the neck with pink ribbon also. The doll wears knickers of the same material. There is a rattle inside the dolls head, as though beads or small balls were inside.

Place of Origin

Welwyn Garden City (manufactured)
Durham (County) (manufactured)


1930s to 1950s (manufactured)


Kleeware (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Plastic and material


Height: 14.6 cm, Width: 7.7 cm From fingertip to fingertip when arms spread

Object history note

This item belonged to Dennis Arkinstall, who worked for Lines Brothers Ltd as a sculptor. It was given to the museum by his son after his death.

Descriptive line

Kleeware plastic doll with solid body except jointed arms. Dressed in pale blue sleeveless dress with pink ribbon to tie dress at shoulders and wearing blue knickers. Blue bonnet with pink ribbon to tie around neck.


Dolls & Toys; Children & Childhood


Museum of Childhood

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