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History of Bluebird Toys, Swindon, England UK

*this section is still under construction - I will add further detail as researched*

Bluebird Toys was started in 1980 by businessman and innovator Torquil Norman. A financier, Mr Norman worked in banking in London & New York before embarking on a career in toy manufacturing. His first major success was the Big Yellow Teapot, of which 60,000 rolled off the production line at the Swindon based factory in 1987. This was followed up by the Big Red Bus, which was also an instant success. By 1988 Bluebirds sales had rocketed to the extent that their toys were top of every childs christmas wish list, and resulted in company expansion to include a new factory based in Wales. Along with the toys listed on this site, Bluebird were also responsible for manufacture & marketing other childhood favourites, including, Plastercine, and the fun but frustrating, Etch-a-sketch.

A slump in share prices in 1998 brought about an hostile take-over attempt by the then, 22% shareholder Guiness Peat Group (GPG). At the time Bluebird had distribution arrangements in place with USA toy giant Mattel. Mattel bought up Hasbro's shares in the company, and in doing so became the biggest share holder. Mattel then also put in an offer for the UK company. The Mattel offer was the preferred option of the Bluebird Toys' board and shareholders, and thus Mattel became the new owners of the Bluebird marque, finally taking over the company in May/June of 1998. Unfortunately this soon saw the demise of the Swindon based firm, as toy production switched to North America, Mattel taking up on their 9 year option to re-release the Polly Pocket & Disney Tiny Collection ranges. There is a confusing period for collectors in 1998-99 when some of the toys produced were still branded with Bluebird logos, but manufactured by Mattel. Disney & Polly Pocket, the latter of which has been re-modeled, are now solely produced by Mattel.

Here are links to sites which feature other Bluebird toy collectables

Polly Pocket

Mighty Max

Mimi & Goo Goo

Polly Pocket World

Tiny World Message Board

Only Polly

Polly Pocket at Home

Spectrum Planet - Mighty Max Info

Virtual Toybox

Mimi & Goo Goo collectors site