Many of Peggy Nisbet's employees were outworkers. They formed part of the army of skilled needlewomen and artists who helped make Peggy's stunning dolls, whilst working from their own homes. This arrangement had mutual benefits - The Nisbet business could increase its output by taking on more workers, without the need for larger premises to accommodate them, (and all the extra running costs that would have entailed). The Outworkers had the doll bodies and ready cut pieces of the costume delivered to their door, as a kit of parts to make a set number of dolls. These would be collected as finished items, a few days on, and a new kit of parts left in their place. They could work from the convenience of their own homes, and this allowed mothers with young children, and those looking after sick or elderly relatives, to have a chance to earn some extra income. In fact, Peggy Nisbet led the way in employing the disabled, who, because of their mobility problems, might otherwise not have been able to obtain, and hold down a job.
If you, or one of your relatives was involved in the manufacture of Peggy Nisbet Dolls, we would love to hear from you, to hear your reminiscences, and perhaps to see any photographs you may have. Please get in contact, if you think you can help!
One of our correspondents, Keith, has sent us a lovely picture of his mother, Mrs Edna Peacock, (see above), working at the dining room table of their home in Exeter Road, just around the corner from Peggy's first factory, in Whitecross Road, Weston-super-Mare.
If you look carefully, you will see that she is working on a batch of H/233 Horatio, Lord Nelson dolls. Perhaps Edna's skilful hands dressed the Horatio in your collection! (This doll was in production from the 1960's, and only discontinued in 1975).
The Whitecross Road factory was burned down on the 14th May 1970, and Keith, (only a young boy at the time), remembers the fire well.
He made a very interesting and significant comment in one of his emails to us :
"I remember that homeworkers were a very important part of the recovery after the fire. All was not lost on that terrible evening, as it would have been if all work had been done in the factory. So many homeworkers, (including my mum), had so much stock in their homes, (the kits of doll bodies and fabric for the costumes), that the business was able to continue almost immediately, using Peggy's own home as a temporary base, until the new factory was found".
So you can see what a benefit it was for Peggy, that so much of her production was supported by Outworkers like Edna.