Wendy Boston made soft toys
as a hobby when she was a child. It was not her original intent
to produce them as a business - she then went to art college
and later worked as a designer for Cadbury's in Birmingham.
She and her husband, Ken Williams, then moved to Crickhowell
in South Wales to escape the WWII blitz. When Ken returned
from the War he found Wendy had made numerous soft toys with
any fabrics she could obtain during the war. As there was
a shortfall of toys these were much appreciated by family
and friends so Ken then began selling them, very successfully,
to local businesses. Wendy continued to design the toys and
Ken marketed them.
Wendy developed and patented the first lock-in safety eye
which was attached by a rust proof nut through the plush fabric.
They moved to larger factory premises, in nearby Abergavenny.
The first fully washable, unjointed, bear
was developed. It was filled with foam rubber
The washable bear was launched on BBC, it was shown being
washed and put through a mangle - this marketing ploy was a
The company was registered as Wendy Boston Playsafe Toys Ltd
The company produced over 25% of UK soft toy exports - Australia
was one of the main markets
The safety features added to the cost of producing the toys
and imports from the Far East were proving to be cheaper so
company profits fell. Consequently it was taken over by Denys
Fisher Toys who continued to produce soft toys using the Wendy
Wendy Boston died
The factory closed in May 1976
Wendy Boston made a range of soft toys including various coloured
teddy bears, pandas, gollies with distinctive faces and Basil Brush
(a famous TV character). Although best known for the washable, unjointed,
ranges which were produced in relatively large numbers the company
also produced unjointed and jointed mohair bears.