The History of Chad Valley



A year by year history of the famous British toy company Chad Valley.

1823 – Anthony Bunn Johnson sets up a printing & book binding business

1860 – Bunn’s two sons of Johnson rename the business Johnson Brothers Ltd.

1897 – The company locates to Harborne (Birmingham, England) on the banks of the River Chad

1919 – The Chad Valley trademark is registered for use on toys & books.

1920 – Now specializing in the production of cartoon and animated film related promotional toys and books Johnson Brothers Ltd merged all three of their factories and rename themselves The Chad Valley Company.

1922, Chad Valley purchases Isaacs and Co, soft toy manufacturer

1925, Chad Valley purchases Warrilows Ltd and H S Hooper Ltd makers of board and boxed games

1926 Chad Valley purchases Pinit Ltd makers of wooden constructional toys

1931 Chad Valley purchases Peacock Ltd makers of wooden jig-saws and block puzzles

1933 Chad Valley purchases Skaymo Ltd makers of constructional building sets

1939 – 45 Very limited quantities of toys are produced as their factories were used for the war effort.

1945 Toy production resumes, and for the first time Chad Valley produces tin plate toys  outsourcing manufacture to Metal Box Ltd who had the machinery and skills required to make quality printed toys and money boxes. In the same year Chad Valley acquired Burnetts Ltd giving them ownership of the UBILDA trademark. Also in their new Waterloo Works factory provided by the Ministry of Defence during the war, Chad Valley now developed rubber toys and dolls.

1946 With the success of their tin plate range they decided to bring production in-house and purchased Birmingham metalworking company AS Cartwright Ltd to plate, cut & fold metal and Winfield Ltd to provide the clockwork mechanisms. In the same year they acquired Barronia Metals Ltd and True to Type Products Ltd makers of precision engineering equipment.

1949 Chad Valley acquires Ridingburgh Metal Toys Ltd makers of metal boxes for the production of money boxes

1951 Chad Valley acquires Hall and Lane Ltd owners of Cambridge Metal Stamping Co. specialists in stamping & litho printing tin plate products

1954 Chad Valley acquires Glevum Toys.

1960 Chad Valley employee numbers reach 1000

1972 Becomes part of the Barclay Toy Group

1978 Palitoy (General Mills) take over Chad Valley and all their trademarks

1987 United Overseas takes over the trademarks of Chad Valley

1990 Chad Valley trademark sold to Woolworths