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By 1910 the Golly appeared on Robertson's product labels, price lists, and advertising material. Its appeal led to an enormously popular mail-away campaign: in return for 'Golly' tokens from their marmalade, Robertson's sent brooches (also called pins or badges) of Gollies playing various sports. The first brooch was the Golly Golfer in 1928. In 1932 a series of fruit badges (with Golly heads superimposed onto the berries) were distributed. In 1939 the popular brooch series was discontinued because the metal was needed for the war effort, but by 1946 the Golly returned.

Despite much criticism during the 1960s and '70s, they simply changed their logo's name to 'Golly', and continued to stand by their trusty mascot. Consequently, the collecting of Robertson's Golly memorabilia is a hobby in itself, with a vast array of promotional material and items to be collected.

In 1999 a Robertson spokesperson said, "He's still very popular. Each year we get more than 340,000 requests for Golly badges. Since 1910 we have sent out more than 20 million." Serious Robertson's collectors may have thousands of Golly badges in their collections. Nevertheless,Robertson's Golly badges still remain highly collectable, with the very rarest sometimes selling for more than £1,000, and even comparatively common and recent badges being worth £2.00–£3.00.

Other Robertson's Golly memorabilia includes such things as clocks, watches, tableware, porcelain figurines, jewelry, aprons, knitting patterns, playing cards, dolls, children's silverware sets, pencils, erasers, and, of course, the Golly tokens themselves.

Robertson pendant chains were introduced in 1956, and, soon after, the design of all Robertson Gollies changed from the Old Golly with pop eyes to the present Golly with eyes looking to the left. The words "Golden Shred" were removed from his waistcoat, his eyes were straightened, and his smile was broadened.

© Copyright 2006-23 golliwogg.co.uk . All rights reserved.

Why Robertson's marmalade golly came to a sticky end

They were once a familiar sight but, wiped out by claims of racism, the Robertson's "Golly" mascot means little to today's youngsters

  • 00:00, 2 FEB 2017
  • Updated 16:22, 28 SEP 2017

A 1960 Robertsons Golly ad on the former Hand and Sceptre pub stables opposite the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells

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For generations of children, eating marmalade on toast at breakfast or bread and jam for tea was all about saving up tokens.

For once they had collected enough, they could be exchanged for a "Golly" badge issued by manufacturer James Robertson and Sons.

These small enamel brooches came in a wide variety of figures, from cricketers and musicians to commemorative figures issued to mark national events like the 1937 coronation.

All featured the company mascot, Golly, a black-faced golliwog figure with frizzy hair, white eyes and bright red lips.

Familiar figure

By the time this advertisement appeared on a building on the lower corner of Major York's Road in Tunbridge Wells in 1960, the golly had become part of British culture.

Pinned to the wall of what had once been the stables serving the Hand and Sceptre pub across the road in the Pantiles, it would have been instantly recognisable both to children and to parents who had grown up with Robertson's Golly.

According to company history, the idea of the Golly mascot was dreamed up by Scotsman John Robertson, whose father, James, had founded the family business in Paisley in 1864.

On a visit to the United States, he came across many young country children playing with little black rag dolls apparently made from their mothers' old black skirts and white blouses. Their name for them was "gollies".

Tokens collected from Robertson's marmalade and jam could be exchanged for popular Golly badges

Mascot idea took off

At a time when growing competition made clever marketing essential, the strong identity of the popular dolls sparked an idea.

When Robertson returned to England, he began work on creating a mascot and trade mark for his company, and by 1910 it was appearing on all its literature.

However, it was a skilled Birmingham enameller who first came up with the idea of producing badges featuring Golly, and in 1928 he made the very first, the Golly golfer.

It proved a sensational success, giving Robertson's a high profile among consumers and ensuring that children everywhere became caught up in the race to collect new figures as they appeared.

As the century wore on, changing interests would be reflected by Golly skateboarders and surfers as well as American footballers and fitness enthusiasts.

Golly culture

In later years, promotional products expanded to include ceramic figures, Golly dolls, games and even Golly clothing.

The figure itself changed over the years, with the original "pop eyes" replaced by more subtle side-glancing eyes in the 1970s, but by the end of the 20th century over 20 million gollies had been sent out, ensuring them a place in British culture for many years to come.

However, the Millennium signalled the start of a very different era. It was over 20 years since the BBC's Black and White Minstrel Show, for so long an award-winning part of weekend TV, had been cancelled following widespread criticism of the singers' blacked-up faces and stereotypical behaviour.

In 1983, the Greater London Council opted to boycott Robertson's products as offensive, and five years later the golly disappeared from TV advertising.

End of the line

When Robertson's retired Golly in 2002, however, the company insisted that the decision had nothing to do with charges of racism.

Commenting, "we are not bowing to political correctness", it said: "We are retiring Golly because we found families with kids no longer necessarily knew about him," adding: "We have to move with the times."

Instead, it co-opted characters from popular writer Roald Dahl to promote its jams and marmalade.

Robertson's showcased their new, modern Raold Dahl mascots in 2002.

First golliwog dolls

The first so-called "golliwog" toys, upon which the early American rag dolls spotted by James Robertson may have been based, appeared in children's stories in the late 19th century.

Hugely popular with generations of children, the eye-catching figures were widely-available commercially and also popular with amateur makers.

Generally male figures, they appealed to boys as well as girls and many children's writers, including Enid Blyton, incorporated them into their stories.

Robertson's jam disappeared in 2008 when owner Premier Foods decided to focus solely on its ever-popular Golden Shred Marmalade, the very first product cooked up in the Robertson family kitchen 150 years ago.

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IMAGES

  1. AJAX NOUVELLES PHOTOS

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  2. Robertson's Golliwog, 1910-2001

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  3. Golliwogs Robertsons golly 1960s jam golliwogs golly

    robertsons golly yacht

  4. A collection of Robertson painted golly figures, comprising seven

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  5. Ohlson 38 for sale UK, Ohlson boats for sale, Ohlson used boat sales

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  6. Lot 776

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  6. Надежный Оффшор. Altena DOGGERSBANK 66 OFFSHORE

COMMENTS

  1. Golly Corner: Voyage in The Robertson's Golly Yacht

    The yacht is registered as the Robertson's Golly, so the name itself is not an issue. Clare worked for James Robertson & Sons in the marketing and market research department from 1972. Later, having concentrated on her sailing and looking for sponsorship, Robertson's as her previous employers offered her their support. ...

  2. My Classic Boat: Claire Francis boat, Robinson's Golly Up For Sale

    Robinson's Golly, a 1974 38ft Ohison once owned by Claire Francis is being sold... A classic boat with a history is up for sale at a massive knock-down price. Robinson's Golly, a 1974 38ft Ohison ...

  3. For Sale: "Robertsons Golly" Ohlson 38 £7000

    Project yacht. 1976 Winner of Royal Western / Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race Built in 1974 byTylers of Maidstone. Some of the photos are historical- be aware! Robertsons Golly was undergoing a refit and repair by a charity but this was abandoned but to Covid lockdowns and personal circumstances.

  4. Ohlson Yachts for sale, used Ohlson Yachts, new Ohlson yacht sales

    Project yacht. 1976 Winner of Royal Western / Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race Built in 1974 byTylers of Maidstone. Some of the photos are historical- be aware! Robertsons Golly was undergoing a refit and repair by a charity but this was abandoned but to Covid lockdowns and personal circumstances.

  5. Golly Checklist

    The Golly Guide by Colin Dodds is the recognized authority on all genuine Robertson's Golly related material with details on thousands of items covering badges, pendants, adverts, shops display items, tableware, games, puzzles, figurines, jeans patches, key rings, school equipment, clothing, jar lids, signs, tokens and much, much more.

  6. For Sale: "Robertsons Golly" Ohlson 38 £7000

    Project yacht. 1976 Winner of Royal Western / Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race Built in 1974 byTylers of Maidstone. Some of the photos are historical- be aware! Robertsons Golly was undergoing a refit and repair by a charity but this was abandoned but to Covid lockdowns and personal circumstances.

  7. Auctions, golly checklist, golly checklist

    Welcome to the Golly Auction! The safe place to buy and sell all Robertson's Golly items at auction with confidence. All visitors are welcome to view the current and next Golly Auctions below. The easiest way to bid in a Golly Auction is to purchase a Golly Guide subscription from the shop. Simply sign in using the 'Sign In / Register ...

  8. Welcome to GolliGosh

    These Golly dolls became quite popular and in 1910 went into production sales were so good that by 1950 they were mass produced in Europe and the US and so the history of Golly was born. Golly is probably best known in England, appearing during the 1920s In the form of pin badges as the advertising logo for the Robertson's Jam & preserves company.

  9. Maynard

    A large nautical scene in oil, depicting the Robertson's Golly Yacht in rough waters. Signed 'Maynard' to the lower right. Well-presented in a substantial gilt-effect frame. On canvas laid to board.

  10. Robertson's Jam Golly badges and Golliwog history at Golliwogg.co.uk

    Golliwogs & Robertson's Jam. James Robertson & Sons, a British manufacturer of jams and preserves, began using the Golliwog as its trademark in the early 1900s. According to the company's promotional literature, it was in the United States, just before World War I, that John Robertson (the owner's son) first encountered the Golly doll.

  11. Why Robertson's marmalade golly came to a sticky end

    In 1983, the Greater London Council opted to boycott Robertson's products as offensive, and five years later the golly disappeared from TV advertising. End of the line. When Robertson's retired Golly in 2002, however, the company insisted that the decision had nothing to do with charges of racism.

  12. All Ohlson 38 Sailing Yachts for sale in the UK

    Project yacht. 1976 Winner of Royal Western / Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race Built in 1974 byTylers of Maidstone. Some of the photos are historical- be aware! Robertsons Golly was undergoing a refit and repair by a charity but this was abandoned but to Covid lockdowns and personal circumstances.

  13. My Golly Collection

    -The Golly Timeline - The Pre-War Era. The first Gollies from Robertsons were available during the 1920's with these pre-war designs including Fruits, Golfers, Tennis and Hockey Players and a Coronation Golly for George VI's ascension to the throne.The most ubiquitous designs though were the cricketers and footballers.

  14. Robertsons Golly locking in, GOPRO Port Solent

    second part of my first play with the GOPRO HD on the sailing Yacht Robertsons Golly, more helming by Andy

  15. Robertson's Golly Memorabilia

    Collection: Robertson's Golly Memorabilia. Remove all. Sort by: 269 products Filter and sort Filter Filter and sort Filter 269 products Sort by: Remove all Apply. Remove all. 269 products Golly its Good Jam Spoon Golly its Good Jam Spoon Regular price £12. ...

  16. Robertson's

    Robertson's is a British brand of marmalades and fruit preserves that was founded by James Robertson in 1864. The firm was run as a partnership until 1903, when it was incorporated as a limited company - James Robertson & Sons, Preserve Manufacturers, Limited.It produces the "Golden Shred" marmalade, a recipe created in 1874 and registered as a trademark in 1886, among other products ...

  17. Robertson Golly badge collectors

    Prices flew in the Golly Checklist Auction 053 ! Prices flew for many lots in this month's Golly Checklist Auction! The rare Balloon pendant making £388.80 inc commission, also the silver BA10s Quad Balloon made £109.08. The Gold Viota unsurprisingly sold for £637.20, and the Ian Craig collectors scroll at £388.80.

  18. Robertson's 1970s Badges

    Here you will find plenty of golly badges and memorabilia for sale, We also buy golly items from single badges to full collections with no obligation free valuations. ... Collection: Robertson's 1970s Badges. Remove all. Sort by: 71 products Filter and sort Filter ...

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    Moscow Oblast ( Russian: Моско́вская о́бласть, Moskovskaya oblast) is a federal subject of Russia. It is located in western Russia, and it completely surrounds Moscow. The oblast has no capital, and oblast officials reside in Moscow or in other cities within the oblast. [1] As of 2015, the oblast has a population of 7,231,068 ...

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