Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth has gifted his extensive collection of famous teddy bears to Newby Hall in Ripon.
The range was assembled by teddy bear enthusiasts Brandreth and his wife Michele Brown, over many years and previously housed at the former Teddy Bear Museum in Stratford-on-Avon.
At Newby, the collection will be on permanent display in a new purpose-built Bear House in the extensive grounds and open to the public from Saturday, May 28th 2016.
Brandreth’s collection includes the original star of the 1970s Paddington animated TV series, Harry Corbett’s 1950s Sooty and a Fozzie Bear donated by Jim Henson himself.
The collection also includes a variety of rare and unusual bears including an early Steiff bear, early English bears from Merrythought, Dean and Farnell, as well as the Pauline Grattan collection of twentieth century Hermann dressed bears and even one bear made entirely of moss.
“Teddy bears have been popular for more than a century and the world would be a sadder and less friendly place without them," said Brandreth.
"My own childhood companion, Growler, went absent without leave many years ago and has yet to return, however he sparked a lifelong interest in teddy bears. These bears are my pride and joy, a life time’s collection.
"When I visited Newby Hall, to make a film for The One Show about its history and heritage, I discovered this beautiful house was where the King and Queen would have been moved to in the event of an invasion during World War Two and I thought ‘If it is fit for a king, it’s fit for my bears!"
Newby Hall owner Richard Compton added: “We are delighted to welcome the Brandreth Bear collection to Newby Hall in May and we thank Gyles and Michele them for choosing it as the new home for their impressive collection.
"Following on from the success of the Dolls house exhibition, we think this collection will be just as popular and prove an additional indoor attraction on damper days. We all had our own much cherished childhood teddy bears so the collection will resonate with many people. The calibre of bear is also very impressive and is sure to attract many new and regular visitors to Newby and its gardens.”