About Peggy Nisbet

A short Biography

Peggy Nisbet, (nee Peacock), was born in Bristol in 1909 and moved with her widowed mother to Weston-super-Mare when only a few months old.   Peggy was educated at La Retraite Convent in Weston, and later, in France.   Her education finished, Peggy took a job as a secretary at Weston-super-Mare Town Hall.   She lived in Weston until 1929, then moved to London to work as a secretary with the London Omnibus Company.   When the company was reorganised as London Transport, Peggy became secretary to the Chairman, Lord Ashfield.

In 1934, Peggy married William (Bill) Nisbet, an accountant.   In 1939, at the outbreak of World War Two, the Nisbets moved back to Weston-super-Mare, where Peggy became the first lady cashier to work at Barclays'  Bank.   In 1952, Peggy started to make dolls, supported by her husband, who remained committed to the business until his death in 1959.

In those early days, Peggy designed the dolls and her Aunt Kitty, (an able seamstress), made the prototypes.   Peggy made figures dressed in national costumes, historical costumes and dressed as famous historical figures.   Through exhibiting at toy fairs in Britain and America the demand for Peggy Nisbet dolls grew.   One of Peggy's strengths was her talent in research - each costume and character was designed with great accuracy; there was wide variety ‑ from Henry VIII and his six wives, to Tutankhamen, and the doorman at Harrods.   Later, Peggy regularly attended collectors' conventions in America, which further promoted the dolls.   Collectors worldwide would eagerly wait to see the new dolls produced by the House of Nisbet.   At its height, the House of Nisbet was the second largest doll manufacturer in Britain.   The success of the business was entirely due to the enthusiasm and drive of Peggy.   In 1979 Peggy was awarded the MBE for her services to export trade - a fitting tribute to someone who put Weston-super-Mare on the map, especially in America.

Peggy Nisbet died on 9th October 1995, aged 86.   Tributes poured in from all over the world, and especially from within the doll making industry, and collectors worldwide mourned the passing of England’s premier dollmaker.   It is fitting that her dolls still remain as collectable as ever.   

The memory of Peggy Nisbet lives on.


31st October 2015

New updates added - We have added a new page on the Isle of Wight dolls, which were produced for the Liliput doll Museum, on the Isle of Wight.   These dolls have mystified us for some time, but an opportunity to do some research through the archives, an email from Graham Munday, (owner of the Lilliput Doll Museum), and an email chat with author and Shallowpool Dolls expert sue Brewer, have allowed a partial reconstruction of their fascinating story.   There are still some gaps in our knowledge, so if you can fill in any of the missing details for us, please do get in touch!

19th September 2015

New updates added - Our thanks to correspondent David H, who has sent us two interesting pictures - The first is of a very rare Nisbet First Doll.   This is the doll that started Peggy Nisbet's dollmaking career, and you can read all about her on this page : dolls/special-collectors-sets-limited-and-signature-editions/SCE-P1953 Replica Edition of the First Nisbet Doll.  David's picture of his original first Nisbet is shown below the article on the replica doll, and below that, is shown a unique 18" porcelain doll that also shows the Queen in Coronation robes, and was used in displays and exhibitions.   This doll is also shown in the book, "The Peggy Nisbet Story".  Other updates added today are the BOAC and BEA dolls, Madam Tussaud Dolls, Wax Dolls, and a Porcelain statuette issued as a tribute to Peter Bull, which is shown under Dolls/Porcelain Dolls/Irish Dresden - Tribute to the Late Peter Bull

12th September 2015

New updates added - Apologies to all our visitors for the long delay in adding some updates and new information - we hope that the items listed below will be of interest!   Many kind thanks to numerous correspondents, for their kind offers of pictues and other information, to fill in the gaps in various galleries :  To Barbara T, for her stunning pictures of H/214 - Queen Elizabeth I, wearing a rubber crown.   Pictures appear in Historical Gallery 1, and in "Know your Nisbets/Headgear/Crowns".   Frank T sent two excellent pictures of Vera Evelyn Samuel, and you can see the pictures and read all about her here - "Porcelain Dolls/Doulton Nisbet".   Penny D has sent in some pictures of her magnificent early P/618 - Robbie Burns - See him in Portrait Dolls Gallery 1.   We have used another of Keith P's pictures in a new gallery just added - "Know your Nisbet/Body shape and pose".   Finally, we have added a new page on Walt Disney dolls, which may come as something of a surprise to many collectors, as the dolls are not typically Nisbet in appearance!


3rd January 2015


Exciting New updates added for 2015 - Correspondent Michael A contacted us last year to ask about his mother's "Beatles" Nisbet dolls - Collectors of long standing may have heard of this almost legendary set of dolls - Thanks to Michael, you can now learn all about them here : /dolls/the-dolls-that-never-were/the-beatles/   

A recent contact from author Ian Price, who writes for the "Fashion Dolls Quarterly" magazine, (www.fdqmedia.com), enquired about Nisbet's Christmas themed dolls - We were delighted to assist his researches in compiling this article on Peggy Nisbet's "Legends of Christmas" dolls.   Ian has very kindly allowed us to make a copy of this article available for download - Please go to the Downloads/Miscellaneous/ page, and click on the link to "Styling Santa", by Ian Price, to see the article.



Thank you for stopping by to browse, or for making contact with us - We hope the website will prove to be of use and interest to you!