The Outworkers

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!

Mrs Edna Peacock, working on a batch of H/233 Horatio, Lord Nelson dolls

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.


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, (, 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!