Manufacturing Processes

Factory scene - Painting dolls' faces

Probably the most daunting aspect of the business, once the dolls became increasingly famous, and demand grew, was the skills and organisation needed to control the manufacturing processes.   At first Peggy and her Aunty Kitty, who was a beautiful needlewoman, produced the prototypes and satisfied orders from her home in Shrubbery Avenue.   Then, with the increasing demand, support was gained from friends and business people.   For some time, Peggy rented a disused water tower from the local council, and this became her first dedicated production facility.   Later on, Peggy was able to buy the tower, and converted it into her family home – the well known “Tower House”, home of the earliest “Tower Walk” dolls.

Peggy decided to turn the business into a limited company, Peggy Nisbet Limited.   The business moved into a factory in Whitecross Road where forty staff were then employed,  plus more than one hundred outworkers.   Everything was now done in the factory, and although Peggy oversaw the production, she still managed to find time to research and produce the prototypes.   All the while, Peggy was ably assisted in every matter concerning the running of the business by a team of dedicated people, including her daughter, Alison, along with Mabel Perry, Malcolm Bowman, and Sylvia Bird, who were to form a strong and dedicated team of many years standing.

Directly the doll bodies were received they had their faces painted.   They were then assembled ready for production runs, normally in units of twelve dolls, which were placed in a small tote bin, together with all the materials and accessories required for the dressing of the doll.   With up to one hundred models in production at any one time - each having to be dressed differently - the diversity of fabrics that had to be sourced, held in stock, selected, and cut into lengths to dress each batch of twelve dolls was mind boggling!

The tote bins, each with the twelve dolls and materials, were then taken to one of the several outworkers for them to clothe the dolls; there was a set weekly routine for this.    The work would be delivered on a certain day, then a week later the finished work would be collected, the outworker paid and a further week's work delivered.   The outworkers, all skilled needlewomen, all lived within a twenty‑five mile radius of Weston‑super‑Mare, and there was a constant delivering and collecting service operated by van.

The dressed dolls, once back at the factory would have to be wigged.   The wigs were glued and tied round the head with string, whilst the glue set ‑ seeing rows of these dolls, seemingly blindfolded, was quite a sight.   The dolls then had their "blindfolds" removed, were finished, inspected and finally boxed, ready for dispatch.   During the 1960s and 1970s over 1,500 dolls were being dispatched every week.

All these processes were running on a large scale, and were very complex.   They required a high degree of experience, organisation and co‑ordination for their successful operation.


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