Robertson's Golly

Robertson is a Scottish company known worldwide for their range of high quality marmalades and jams.   According to Wikipedia, John Robinson, the founder's son, was touring the United Stated of America, just before the first World War.   While on a visit to the backwoods, he noticed many children playing with black rag dolls, made made from their mothers' discarded black skirts, with with white eyes made from scraps of old white blouses.  The children referred to their dollies as "Gollys".

John Robinson thought the Golly would make an ideal trade mark for the company, and Golly was introduced as a company mascot in 1910.   By the 1920's, he was popularised as a range of high quality enamelled brooches, depicting the Golly engaged in a variety of sporting activities, including Golf and Cricket; Footballers were produced in a range of team colours. Golly later went on to be reproduced as dolls, china ornaments, and even as Golly games for children.  

Robertson's officially "retired" Golly in 2002.   To quote from Wikipedia :   Virginia C "Ginny" Knox, then brand director at Robertson's commented:"We are retiring Golly because we found families with kids no longer necessarily knew about him. We are not bowing to political correctness, but like with any great brand we have to move with the times".   However, Golly's popularity with adult collectors continues even today, and the enamelled brooches are still highly sought after.

Golly is included here because, whatever the views of the collector, he was part of the history of the House of Nisbet.   We ask only that you view him as a soft toy, who though he may have had commercial connections, did not have any political motives.   He was a product of a more innocent age, and has been much loved by children everywhere for over 90 years.

The original Robertson's Golly was introduced as Catalogue number 5502, in 1979, and stood 19 inches tall.   At that time, he sold for £6.75   We believe the Robertson's Golly was last produced up until 1981, or possibly 1983.   

In 1984, the Nisbet Golly was introduced, and was remarkably similar to the Robertson's version - He even shared the same catalogue number (5022).   On his introduction, he sold for £12.95

In 1988, Golly shrunk from 19 inches to 18 inches tall.

In 1989, the small Nisbet Golly, 11 inches tall, came into production, and was priced at £9.95.   Our records show that both Gollies continued in production until 1990

(In that year, when Dakin assumed ownership of the House of Nisbet, the Nisbet (19") Golly was given a new number - 85-0220, while the small 11" Nisbet Golly was re-numbered as 85-0230.   Neither Golly appeared in catalogues after 1990, though Diane Jones International did continue making an almost identical (small) Golly)


21st September 2023


Important Announcement


My dear wife, Christine, passed away on the 8th December, 2021after 8 weeks in hospital. I was by her side, when she slipped away from me peacefully, with no pain or suffering.


Chris had been struggling with a slow decline in health, associated with a progressive, untreatable, and ultimately terminal lung disease, and finally succumbed to her old adversary, Pneumonia.


We had been friends for 55 years, together as a couple for 50 years, and married just a month short of 48 years, when she died.   


This website was Chris's idea, and I did all the technical stuff, to make it work.   After news of Chris's passing reached her close friends in the doll collecting world, I was deeply touched and gratified to hear their tributes to my dear wife, and I must thank them all for their kindness and support.   Ultimately, it was her doll friends that gave me the courage to continue with the website.


In the months before her eventual hospitalisation, Chris had outlined a number of additions and changes she wanted to make to the website, and it is my intention to honour those wishes, and to implement the changes we had considered, over the coming weeks and months.


I must apologise to all those who have written to us via the website, only to have your emails go unanswered.   Unfortunately, the email system had been hacked aroung the time Chris was going into hospital, and many emails must have been lost, as a result.


As you might imagine, I felt completely broken by Chris's loss, and it is only now, almost 22 months after her passing, that I have felt strong enough to even look at the website again.   


My aim is to continue with the website, and to implement Chris's aims for her many new ideas as soon as I can.   In the meantime, I have hopefully got the email system sorted out, and I will attempt to answer any enquiries as soon as I can, and to send replies with the same high degree of accuracy that a reply from Chris would have had.


From now on, I will be flying solo, whilst my co-pilot and guide will be soaring much higher, (though she is always in my heart, and in my thoughts).


My thanks to all our website visitors for your continued support


Dave (also known as Arthur), and Chris, (my lost love, Guinevere)


Christine Poulten

25th December 1949 - 8th December 2021