All the new puppets are hand-made from David Leech’s premises in Ilfracombe, North Devon. David learned the craft from the company’s founder, Bob Pelham and by working across various departments of the Pelham Puppet factory in the 1970s.
Several retailers across the country will be stocking the figures right away, including Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop in Covent Garden, Toycraft in Chester and Pinocchio Toys in Edinburgh. Buyers in the USA and Germany have also expressed an interest in the new range.
Originally the company was based in Marlborough, Wiltshire for over 30 years and enjoyed a gradual expansion over three decades. Trade reached a peak in 1979 when every puppet produced in the first six months of the financial year was exported to the United States.
By this time Pelham Puppets was the largest employer in Marlborough with over 200 employees.
Since the death of its founder in 1980, Pelham Puppets have not been available to buy in toy shops, although many of the original puppets are now collector’s items.
Leech said of the revival:
“There appears to be an increasing demand for more traditional toys by discerning parents today and a steady revival in the art of puppetry too, particularly in schools. Never has the appetite for the retrospective and nostalgic been greater.”