Vintage Pelham Puppets

The name 'Pelham' is taken from the creator Bob Pelham who was the founder of the company and continued to head the company until his death in 1980 assisted by his wife Ann Pelham who continued with the business until 1986.

Pelham Puppets were first made in the United Kingdom from 1947 onwards under the title Wonky Toys Ltd the company changed its name in 1948 to the now better known Pelham Puppet brand. Mainly known for making Pelham marionettes the company also manufactured glove puppets, rod puppets and ventriloquist puppets.

Pelham ranges

There are many ranges in Pelham Puppets but the main ones are The LS range 12 inch puppets with half wooden ball feet, wooden heads and waxed string holding the parts together. The SS range, similar to the LS range but with wooden toggle feet and screw eyes holding the body together. The SL range, usually with moulded heads and either held together with string or screw eyes. The SM range with moving mouths usually made from larger wooden balls for heads but some have molded heads. The JC range, a smaller simpler puppet intended for younger children. The Jumpette range, smaller puppet again, much simpler and intended for infants and toddlers. The A or Animal usually non anthropomorphic versions of animals. The Minipup a range of smaller animal puppets. The WH range, same size puppets as junior control pelham puppets except these tended to have larger heads and were the first pelham puppets to have printed faces. The Vent range, a simple ventriloquist puppet range of pelham puppets made from 1968 onwards.

Type SM Puppets. These are the puppets with moving jaws.

Type LA, LB, LD and A Pelham Puppets: These are early animals and birds made from wooden components and have the plywood 't-bar' controls.

Type GL Pelham Puppets: These are the glove puppets that were in production in the mid 1950s and 1960s.

The '1963 range': In 1963 a new series of animal and fairy tale characters were released. The animal characters were designed by Peter Carter-Page using Bob Pelham's sketches as a basis and the fairy tale characters, such as the King and Queen, were designed by Bob Pelham himself.

Type MR: These are the glove puppets and the string of the Magic Roundabout characters that appeared in 1966 onwards.

Type V: These are the Ventriloquil Pelham Puppets that appeared from 1968. Referred to as 'Vent Puppets' by Bob Pelham

Type No 2 Pelham Puppets: these are the 24" tall Pelham Puppets made using the heads originally made for the Vent puppets and fully strung in the same manner as Type SM Pelham Puppets. They began to appear on a regular basis from around 1977.

Type DL Pelham Puppets: This range introduced in 1981 include a number of Type SM and SL Pelham Puppets. They were more costly to produce than other puppets, so were separated from the Type SM and SL ranges for this reason only.

Liquidation and revival

The factory was initially based in Marlborough, Wiltshire and a fire in 1961 created a hiatus during manufacture and led to new ranges being introduced and old lines being stopped. The factory was rebuilt and grew in size on the same location until it was sold and moved in 1985 to Collingbourne Ducis also in Wiltshire and then again sold and moved to Gloucestershire in the early 1990s but went into liquidation in 1993. In 2008 the Pelham Puppet company was revived by a former employee and the authorised historian of the Pelham Puppet company, David Leech of the original factory and now produces a new line of Pelham Puppets some echoing former styles and new characters also.

The boxes the puppets were packed in usually denote the time period that the puppets were made. 1947 - 1955 early boxes were two part trays with lids made of brown card and a label glued to the lid 1955 - 1961 yellow two part tray boxes with printing showing various puppets on one side with the Witch it shows the Mad Hatter in the centre 1962 - mid 1980's a yellow two part box with a snake charmer replaces the Mad Hatter on the side with a Witch 1963 onwards the larger yellow two part tray box has the three bears on the side 1968 onwards the box has a sleeve with cellophane window cut into it showing the puppet inside initially the window was the whole length of the box but later in... 1969 it was divided in half to create two windows with the logo between. 1980The deluxe box was created with a central window and a dragon on the side 1987Saw the appearance of the red and yellow candy striped boxes reminiscent of a Punch and Judy booth and also the blue 'collectors' series.

Professional market

Pelham Puppets also made puppets to order for the professional market and have been used by various companies in their shows.

Puppets that are very common due to mass manufacturing are the SS Gypsy, SL Wolf, SS Clown, SL Bimbo, SS Tyrolean Boy & Girl, SS Mitzi & Fritzi, SS Dutch Boy & Girl, Sl Bimbo SM & SL Witch.

Some of the rarer Pelham Puppets include The Alice in Wonderland range from the 1950s (not to be confused with the later 1980s Alice), SM Hank, Mr Turnip, Sarah Swede, Colonel Beetroot from the television programme Whirligig. Lettuce Leefe, Harris Tweed (character), SL Bull, SL Cow, SL Fox, SM Huntsman, SM Villain.

Official website: www.pelhampuppets.uk.com.
Identification: www.ppo.co.uk

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Fran - June 29, 2014

yo quisiera comprar un pelham puppet CORNELIA

Bella Brauner - August 4, 2013

still looking to buy a V pelham puppet for introducing my stories.
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Hello Bella, one in particular? There are many for sale on eBay as you can see on the right side of this page.

Bella Brauner - June 27, 2013

would like to purchase a vent puppet, to use for storytelling. how do i do that??
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Maybe eBay is the right place for your purchase.

For sale on eBay USA. To change country, click on flag:
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Pelham Puppet Marionette Pretty Pink
pelham puppet marionette$35.00
details  ►
A LARGE VINTAGE PELHAM PUPPET OLD LADY WITH
a large vintage pelham puppet$30.48
details  ►
ORIGINAL PELHAM PUPPET MR JINKS IN ORIGINAL
original pelham puppet mr$160.97
details  ►
MIB David leech Pelham Puppet Princess
mib david leech pelham puppet$8.46
details  ►
PELHAM PUPPET SKELETON LS
pelham puppet skeleton ls$254.10
details  ►
VERY RARE VINTAGE 1950S PELHAM PUPPET MR
very rare vintage 1950s pelham1 bid(s)$8.47
details  ►
Vintage Disney Minnie Mouse Pelham Puppet
vintage disney minnie mouse$25.40
details  ►
VERY RARE VINTAGE 1950S PELHAM PUPPET THE
very rare vintage 1950s pelham$8.47
details  ►
FAIRY PELHAM PUPPET BOXED 1960 s
fairy pelham puppet boxed 1960$76.25
details  ►
VERY RARE VINTAGE 1950S PELHAM PUPPET WITCH
very rare vintage 1950s pelham1 bid(s)$8.47
details  ►
VINTAGE PELHAM PUPPET DISNEY PLUTO 1980 S
vintage pelham puppet disney$101.59
details  ►
VERY RARE VINTAGE 1950S PELHAM PUPPET
very rare vintage 1950s pelham$8.47
details  ►
PELHAM PUPPET CINDERELLA BOXED
pelham puppet cinderella boxed$67.78
details  ►
VINTAGE PELHAM PUPPET DEVIL DEMON KING BROWN
vintage pelham puppet devil1 bid(s)$338.83
details  ►
VINTAGE PELHAM PUPPET MICKEY MOUSE RARE
vintage pelham puppet mickey$169.37
details  ►
A VINTAGE 1970s CLOWN PELHAM PUPPET
a vintage 1970s clown pelham$33.87
details  ►
Boxed Pelham Puppet Snoopy
boxed pelham puppet snoopy$42.35
details  ►
VINTAGE PELHAM PUPPET WOLF OPENING MOUTH
vintage pelham puppet wolf1 bid(s)$254.10
details  ►
PELHAM PUPPET HORSE FOAL BOXED 1960 s
pelham puppet horse foal boxed$67.78
details  ►
Vintage Pelham Puppet Cat In original box and
vintage pelham puppet cat in$16.93
details  ►
Antique Pelham Puppet Ballarina Ballet
antique pelham puppet$67.78
details  ►
Vintage Pelham Puppet GYPSY GIRL in original
vintage pelham puppet gypsyends in 9h$16.93
details  ►
PELHAM PUPPET DRUMMER 2 GUITARISTS SAXOPHONE
pelham puppet drummer 2$1,016.65
details  ►
Vintage Pelham Puppet Marionette Hansel
vintage pelham puppet$4.99
details  ►
VINTAGE PELHAM PUPPET BIMBO THE CLOWN 1970 S
vintage pelham puppet bimbo$84.64
details  ►
RARE OWL PELHAM PUPPET GLOVE PUPPET
rare owl pelham puppet glove$67.78
details  ►
Pelham puppet Red riding hood BLOND for
pelham puppet red riding hood$16.95
details  ►
VINTAGE PELHAM PUPPET FRITZI UNUSED 12
vintage pelham puppet fritzi$16.95
details  ►
Pelham Puppet Vintage Cat
pelham puppet vintage cat$16.95
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PELHAM PUPPET CINDERELLA SLA4 WITH BOX FREE
pelham puppet cinderella sla4$33.87
details  ►
Pelham puppet Green faced witch
pelham puppet green faced$16.95
details  ►
VINTAGE ORIGINAL PELHAM PUPPET COLLECTABLE
vintage original pelham puppetends in 23h$73.87
details  ►