Object Number 23

Object Name: Rupert Bear
Accessioned: 2012
Donor: purchase
Notes: vintage Pedigree Rupert Bear

Comments: Rupert the bear featured largely in my childhood. I was never an avid fan of the comic but an actual bear was one of my most treasured soft toys as a child. This is not the bear I had when I was little, but he is a very close replacement for the Rupert that I loved so much and for many years. Rupert was around as long as I remembered as the original bear that went to bed with me every night was one that my aunt owned as a little girl. Rupert Bear, just like this one, was made by the British firm Pedigree in the 1960s on the back of the popular comics.

When I had the original Rupert all those years ago he was in his twenties and was the largest bear I owned. My father told me many years later that I slept every night with so many soft toys that he sometimes feared he’d find me buried underneath them all. I would arrange them every night from the largest, Rupert, right down to the smallest toy. He was so well loved that my mum repeatedly darned him and patched him up. He was worn and battered and his nose was entirely flattened into his face, unlike this happy fellow above.

After so many years in our house my mum returned Rupert to his original owner, my aunt. Having children of her own, she thought it might be a good idea to give him a wash. Sadly Rupert was just too old to survive such a clean and he didn’t make it though his treatment. When my mum broke this news to me, very gently, I had a quick look on Ebay on a whim. There he was, a near perfect Rupert Bear with a scarf, prominent nose and all! Well he was an impulse buy and I was delighted to get him. He is about half the size of the original Rupert but I’d be very surprised if he was ever owned by a child. I couldn’t leave the family Rupert-less, and it wasn’t for long.

You may have noticed he’s not the only teddy in the picture. Rainbow Pup in the background was an equally well loved toy of mine. For as long as I remember his ear was held on with a Bandaid, but when my mum found him she carefully stitched his ear back on. The little bear suffered the fate of having his leg pulled off, which I only repaired recently! So I don’t think I’ll ever live a soft toy or teddy bear free life, the big kid that I am.