Chad Valley was already a well-established toy company before it started to make teddy bears in 1915. It was granted a Royal Warrant in 1938 and was one of the very few firms that continued to produce toys during both World Wars. The company expanded and bought other toy companies, Isaacs & Co in 1923, Peacock & Co in 1931 and H G Stone (Chiltern) in 1967, all of which added to their teddy and soft toy range. Chad Valley was taken over by Palitoy in 1978 but has been used as a trade name by Woolworths since 1988. In 1988 the brand was taken over by popular high street chain Woolworths. For 30 years this is where the brand resided before Woolworths’ own financial struggles saw them sell Chad Valley to Home Retail Group in 2009. Home Retail Group were interested in promoting Chad Valley via Argos and that was given as a main reason for the £5 million purchase. Following the sale of Home Retail Group in 2016, Chad Valley has been owned by J Sainsbury’s but continues to be sold by Argos.
Chad Valley bears are notable for their large ears and bulbous noses that are often compared to pieces of coal. The Royal Warrant stamp appears on the labels attached to the bears’ feet. When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1953, the wording on this changed to say Queen Mother. The shaggy mohair bear of 1955 has this later wording.
Following the take-over of the Chiltern label in 1967, bears were produced under both the Chad Valley and Chiltern trade names. The golden mohair bear of 1977 is one of the last bears made by Chad Valley before the take-over by Palitoy. The bear is entitled to wear the Design Council label as an example of good design. It is a factory sample and has been safety tested. As a result it has a large hole it its back.