Britain's oldest teddy bear factory in Ironbridge asks fans to share memories to mark milestone 90th birthday

By Lisa O'Brien | Ironbridge | Business | Published:

Britain’s oldest remaining teddy bear manufacturer in Ironbridge is celebrating 90 years of business next month and is asking fans to share their memories to mark the milestone.

The limited-edition 90th anniversary commemorative teddy bear

Merrythought turns 90 in September and is asking its followers across Shropshire and around the world to contribute to its #MyMerrythought campaign by sharing their own Merrythought stories and photographs from the past 90 years.

Managing director Sarah Holmes is the great-granddaughter of the company’s founder Gordon Holmes.

“I have so many fond memories of Merrythought growing up,” she said.

Managing director Sarah Holmes

“My sisters always loved visiting the factory – we’d play around in the stuffing and look at all the new teddy bears being made.”

The company continues to hand-make each teddy bear from the same original factory in the world heritage site of Ironbridge.

“Merrythought is a legacy that has lasted generation after generation and we’re immensely proud that, to this day, we continue to hand-make the finest quality teddy bears right here in Shropshire,” added Sarah.

The company is asking its followers to share their photographs and memories or stories of Merrythought over the years, to mark the occasion.


Sarah said: “When I find a few spare moments, I particularly enjoy reading the many letters I receive from the Merrythought community.

“These are often about teddy bears that have been passed down for generations and are still being enjoyed 50, 70 or even 80-plus years on, while others talk about how much joy and hope someone’s Merrythought bear has given them through life.

Merrythought in the 1930s

“It is because of these heart-warming stories that we thought we’d bring the Merrythought community together for our 90th birthday.


“We’re asking our followers to share with us any photos, stories and memories of their own special teddy bears.”

The firm will display pictures around the Ironbridge shop and on social media during the 90th birthday week.

One fan will also be randomly selected to win a limited-edition 90th anniversary commemorative teddy bear.

The limited-edition 90th anniversary bear blends together the ruby and golden anniversary year colours throughout its design and has Merrythought’s 90th anniversary logo embroidered onto its left paw.

Featuring deep-brown glass eyes and a hand-embroidered nose and smile, the bear is finished with a luscious double satin bow, in the centre of which is a beautiful plated-gold and ruby crystal Merrythought wishbone pendant.

To get involved, and be in with a chance of winning a 90th anniversary teddy bear, Merrythought is asking followers to post their memory and a photograph to Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #MyMerrythought and tagging in the firm @MerrythoughtBears.

Alternatively, you can email your entry to

The deadline to enter is September 10.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.


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