The Bears that Inspired “Winnie the Pooh”

Happy birthday A.A. Milne!

Today is also known as “Winnie the Pooh Day”. Winnie the Pooh is an iconic figure, but did you know that real-life teddy bears inspired the famous character?

The Farnell teddy bear, created by J K Farnell & Co Ltd, was the first teddy bear manufactured in Britain, and these furry friends were the actual inspiration behind Winnie the Pooh. If you’re interested in learning more about these famous toys, we have just the book for you! 

Caption reads: “Dating from the 1920s, this 17-inch golden mohair Farnell teddy has already had some restoration but his upper paw pads still need attention.” From The Farnell Teddy Bear, Remember When (2010)

Kathy Martin has intensively researched J K Farnell & Co Ltd and the Farnell teddy bear, and now reveals her finds in an informative and entertaining book.

Farnell Teddy Bears


The family firm of J K Farnell & Co Ltd occupies a position of unparalleled importance in British soft toy history, firstly because it was the very first British toy company to manufacture teddy bears, and also because it created the actual bear that inspired A A Milne to write the Winnie the Pooh stories. Yet impressive as those facts undoubtedly are, they comprise just a small fraction of the fascinating Farnell story. Founded in the Nineteenth century, for decades J.K. Farnell & Co Ltd was the most respected and influential soft toy manufacturer in Britain. Thanks to the superior quality of its products, the company experienced enormous commercial success at national and international level – even in Germany, home to its biggest rival, there was great demand for Farnell products. Surviving economic depression, devastating fire, the ravages of World War II, and other traumatic events, the company kept going until fundamental changes in the British toy market forced its closure in 1970. Since then, the Farnell name has been forgotten by all but a dedicated band of teddy bear enthusiasts and the true story of this pioneering British firm has fallen into obscurity.

About the Author

Kathy Martin has collected teddy bears for over twenty years and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject. She is the Editor of The Teddy Bear Annual, former Editor of Teddy Bear Scene and resident teddy bear expert with Collect It!. Her knowledge of this popular subject also makes her much in demand on radio and TV. Kathy’s last book for Remember When was Merrythought Teddy Bears.

A former American homicide detective, since retiring John J. Lamb (Foreword) has turned his hand to writing highly successful mystery novels set in the world of collectible teddy bears. His third novel, The Craft Teddy, centers around the theft of a precious Alpha Farnell teddy bear.

You can purchase this title on our website, in both hardback and eBook format. The Farnell Teddy Bear is also available from all fine booksellers.


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