The Chad Valley Toy Company had its origins in a printing and bookbinding business that was set up in Birmingham by Anthony Bunn Johnson. Very little is known about this firm, but an original letterhead dated 1850, claims that it had already been established upwards of thity years.

Chad Valley toys

In 1860 Anthony's two sons Joseph and Alfred, set up a similar business trading as Messrs. Johnson Bros. in George St, Birmingham. By 1897 Joseph was running the firm alone with his eldest son Alfred, J. Johnson and they had relocated the business to a newly erected factory in the village of Harbourne, just outside Birmingham. A small stream, the Chad, flowed close by the new factory and it soon aquired the name of The Chad Valley Works, from which the registered trade mark "Chad Valley" is derived.

Johnstone Bros. (Harbourne) Ltd, continued to sell stationery but in addition also began to produce a range of cardboard games and toys which was gradually extended over the years. In 1904 Joseph Johnson died and his eldest son Alfred. J. Johnson took over as chairman and managing director.

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 the imports of toys and games into this country stopped. Despite restrictions of material and available personnel Chad Valley used this opportunity to increase its range of products and to expand. The company produced its first soft toys, a range of traditional, jointed, plush Teddy Bears in 1915. By the early 1930's they were advertising a range of bears in fourteen different sizes. 1920's - 30's bears were marked with a printed, celluloid-covered, metal button and/or woven label.

In 1938 the Chad Valley Company was granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment, "Toymakers to Her Majesty the Queen". In 1953 upon the succession of Queen Elizabeth 11 this warrant was changed to "Toymakers to Her Majesty the Queen Mother".

During the Second World War the Chad Valley factories were used for government contract work and the production of soft toys was drastically cut. Wartime products manufactured by the company were varied but included small wooden instrument cases, cases to contain the barrels for anti aircraft guns, electrical coils, electric starters, auto pilots, children's clothing, hospital tables, tent poles and charts. One factory did continue to produce a limited number of toys, staffed by the firm's oldest employees. They made items such as jig-saw puzzle's, chessmen and dominoes to be used by armed forces and military hospitals all over the world.

At the end of the war the Chad Valley Companies were quickly switched back to toy production. In 1950 the firm was declared a Public Company and expansion continued, but now by taking over other toy firms.

Firms aquired by Chad Valley during this period included:

1951 Hall & Lane Ltd., of Birmingham, a firm that among other things manufactured metal toys;
1954 the family business of Roberts Bros. (Gloucester) Ltd who made the range of Glevum toys.
1958 Acme Stopper & Box Co. Ltd., Birmingham, maker of metal toys.
1967 H.G. Stone & Co. Ltd., Chiltern Toys.

By the 1970's however Chad Valley itself began experiencing problems. Restructuring took place between 1973-75 which saw all but two of the factories owned by the firm closed down. All soft toy manufacturing moved to Pontypool.

Finally in 1978 the firm was taken over by the Leicester based firm Palitoy and in 1988 the chainstore Woolworth's acquired the trade name Chad Valley.

Chad Valley value

What's it worth? Take a look at this Chad Valley price guide: sold listings for a value indication.

Chad Valley forum (8 comments)

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Alison - September 14, 2017

Hi Just wondering if anyone has any info on a chad Valley washing mangle .Its made of cast iron i think and its red and cream in colour
►reply: Nice! I found this video, you have probably the same. Don't know the value though, probably around GBP 40-50 depending on state.

Larry - May 21, 2017

i have stumbled across a remote control car made by chad valley co.ltd. it is a blue 1946 vehicle. does anyone know of this type of toy?

Gary Barker - February 12, 2016

I have a Chad Valley Build A Beetle Game and have lost a few of the parts. Is there a spare parts service to get hold of replacements.
►reply: Well, I found these: Chad Valley Beetle Game parts.

Janita - August 12, 2015

I have a toy top, I want to sell, but can't seem to find any to compare to for pricing. Can I send you a pic and perhaps you can give me a rough estimate
►reply: We can always try, send the pic to fabtintoys gmail com.

Trisha - January 15, 2015

I have a Chad Valley 'Bowl 'em Over' game in excellent condition, stickers all in place though box is rather battered. Can't find them for sale on ebay, amazon etc. and am wondering what tody's value would be. Very sturdy toy that will last for years.

Evelyn Williamson - July 1, 2013

I have a Chad Valley plush toy of Fiver from Watership Down - he still has his label attached. I bought it in 1981. I've tried to find reference to these toys - I believe five of the characters were made into stuffed toys. Does anyone have any idea on what my rabbit may be worth to a collector? Thanks
►reply: Very difficult to find info on them. I read messages where people are willing to offer 600+ USD for all five of them. But since they are rare I bet you can get much more than 125 USD for your Fiver. In regarding to these toys I also found reference to Knickerbocker (USA market) and Royal Orleans. Hard to find more info, sorry.

Jim - June 5, 2013

I have one of my old toys by Chad Valley and would be interested to know more about it.On the underside it says Wee-kin toy.It is a black saloon car and I think it used to have a police sign on the roof as there are two small slits where it used to fit.The number plate is C.V.1949.It is a wind up toy but alas no key now.Has it any value?RegardsJim Howell
►reply: I think I found your car on this page.

Frank - July 31, 2011

i have aquired 13 tinplate cube shaped play bricks each depicting a different nursery rhyme in coloured pictures.i have searched for any information regarding these and have so far been unsucssefull in finding anything of any use to me. i was wondering if you could shed any light on my querie?
►reply: No sorry, no info on your querie... Try looking in: Google images to see if they show up.