were commercially manufactured puppets, produced in
from a factory set up by
in 1947 and sold in Toy Shops all over the world.
The vast majority of the puppets produced were 12-inch
string puppets, but limited ranges of glove, rod and
ventriloquist puppets were also produced, along with
large display marionettes and specially commissioned or
promotional figures in a wide variety of sizes (and
weights), up to 7 feet tall.
Advertisement for Pelham Puppets from 1955
The Company remained in the Pelham Family ownership
until it was sold in 1986 and subsequently ceased production
Pelham Puppets became incredibly popular, with
production peaking in the mid-1960s, when around 225,000 puppets were
being manufactured per year.
1950, Bob Pelham introduced "The Pelpup Club"
for members to share their ideas and
interests in everything to do with Pelham Puppets.
At first, Bob's Secretary hand-typed invitations to join
the Pelpup Club and inserted one invitation in each
puppet box. The Club eventually reached a membership of 40,000 by the 1970s.
The Club Magazine - "Puppet Post", which later
became "Pelpup News", had a playwriting
competition, a photographic competition, letters from
readers and many interesting articles and news items,
along with photographs and illustrations.
Reading the names
of contributors to the letters pages of Pelpup News
reveals many current luminaries of British Puppetry (and
one Opera Singer). Contributors of articles
included Jan Bussell, Ray DaSilva, Jane Phillips and