Leicester

Palitoy: Action Man's home set for green plaque honour

Boy playing with a display of Action Man toys Image copyright Leonard Burt
Image caption Action Man was launched by Palitoy in 1966

One of the UK's most successful toy factories, which created toys including Action Man and Star Wars figures, is to be remembered with a plaque.

Palitoy, which started production in Coalville, Leicestershire, in 1937, produced toys for six decades.

It also manufactured Play-doh, Care Bears, Airfix and Mainline Railways before closing in 1985.

The council behind the award said it deserved recognition for helping "stoke children's imaginations".

At the height of its success in the 1970s, Palitoy had sold more than 20m Action Man dolls and employed about 1,000 people.

Image copyright Tom Wilkinson/PA
Image caption Action Man was originally based on the American toy G I Joe
Image caption Palitoy acquired the licence to produce Star Wars figures in the 1970s

By the beginning of the 1980s, production of most of the toys had moved to Hong Kong, marking the beginning of the end for the firm.

The manufacturer was nominated to get a green plaque at its former base by Bob Brechin, the factory's former chief designer.

"It is 80 years since Palitoy toys were first made in Coalville," Mr Brechin said.

"I thought the famous toy company should be celebrated with a green plaque at this special time."

Image copyright George W. Hales
Image caption Palitoy also made Katie Kopycat, a toy where the doll would copy whatever the owner writes

Councillor Pam Posnett, from Leicestershire County Council, added: "Palitoy not only helped to stoke children's imaginations with its classic toys and figures it also helped to put Coalville on the map."

The plaque will be installed and unveiled at 14:00 at Coalville Business Park, which now stands on the site of the former factory.

Other places honoured under the green plaque scheme include the former home of engineer and inventor George Stephenson and Ladybird Books' original Loughborough base.


Palitoy

Image copyright Vectis Auctions/PA
  • Cascelloid, which manufactured plastic goods, was founded in 1919 in Leicester by Alfred Pallett, with Palitoy its toy division
  • Production of toys at Coalville began in 1937
  • Palitoy launched its famous Action Man toy in 1966
  • Following the success of Action Man, Palitoy was sold to US giant General Mills in 1968
  • Cheaper manufacturing costs in the Far East forced Palitoy to cease trading in 1985
  • Its factory in Coalville was taken over by Hasbro, but it abandoned the site in 1994

Source: Star Wars Places/Leicestershire County Council


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