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teddy bear

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1930s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Chiltern Toys (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stuffed and stitched mohair plush bear with velvet paws and pads

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Gillian Munrow in memory of her husband David Munrow

  • Museum number:

    B.536-2016

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This well loved Hugmee bear was made by the English company Chiltern Toys in the 1930s. It was made out of golden mohair plush though it has suffered major fur loss over the years, leaving large areas of the cloth exposed. This is one of three bears that exist from David Munrow's childhood and is part of a larger group of objects relating to the imaginary world that David created around his beloved bears. David wrote four plays for ‘Humph’, ‘Ginge’ and ‘Eddy’, casting the bears as some of the principle ‘actors’ in his plays; he also wrote a series of affectionate, newsy letters to them whilst on holiday with his family in Cornwall. Of the three named bears it isn't known which bear is which, though it is clear that David was extremely attached to all his bears and soft toys.

The teddy bears, along with the plays and letters, provide a wonderful insight into the early interests and imagination of a child who went on to become a well-known musician and broadcaster.

Physical description

Large jointed teddy bear which has major fur loss, leaving the cloth exposed. The original golden coloured mohair plush is only visible inside the ears and in patches, mainly around the inner thighs and side seams of the body and on the back of the drumstick shaped legs. There is a large hole at the front top of the head through which most of the wood wool and kapok filling has been lost, leaving the head disfigured. The body and limbs are stuffed with kapok. Numerous repairs are visible, especially noticeable around the nose and on the centre of the stomach. Black leather on proper left eye; proper right eye and mouth missing. Nose embroidered with black thread, though some of the stitching is worn. Cream coloured velvet feet and paw pads; very worn on the proper right paw. One black claw stitch remains on proper left foot; two black claw stitches on proper right foot.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1930s (made)

Artist/maker

Chiltern Toys (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Stuffed and stitched mohair plush bear with velvet paws and pads

Dimensions

Length: 63 cm, Width: 30 cm

Object history note

Chiltern Toys first started making teddy bears in 1915, beginning production with the Master Teddy. The Hugmee range of bears were introduced in 1923 and featured jointed arms and legs, glass eyes and embroidered noses. They were made in a variety of patterns until the 1960s, with some designs influenced by post-war fabric shortages. The original toy factory was based in Chesham, at the base of the Chiltern Hills, from where the company got its name.

David Munrow, the owner of this bear, was born in Birmingham on 12th August 1942, the only child of academic parents. It's thought the bear was given to David by an aunt; a photo exists of David as a child, holding the bear, which even then looks worn. David attended King Edward's School in Edgbaston, where he excelled both academically and musically. After attending Cambridge University, then studying for a Masters at the University of Birmingham, David became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company's wind band, providing incidental music at their performances between 1966 and 1968. David founded the Early Music Consort of London during this time, an ensemble with which he would be associated for the rest of his life. He also taught at the University of Leicester and the Royal College of Music. Beginning in 1971 David Munrow presented the BBC Radio 3 series Pied Piper, Tales and Music for Younger Listeners. Through the show David introduced children to a wide variety of musical genres, and during his five years broadcasting the series he attracted large audiences of child and adult listeners. In addition to his broadcasting and academic careers, David performed on more than fifty recordings of early music.

Descriptive line

Hugmee teddy bear, with very worn golden mohair plush, made in England by Chiltern Toys, 1930s

Materials

Mohair; Cotton; Cotton fibre; Wood wool; Kapok

Techniques

Stuffed; Sewn; Technique; Embroidered

Categories

Children & Childhood; Soft toys

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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