Dating harder nowadays

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This long established British toy company has its roots set in a stationery business set up by Joseph and Alfred Johnson (Johnson Bros.) in 1860 on George Street, in Birminghams’ city centre although its origins date back even further to a printing and book binding business set up by their father Anthony Bunn Johnson sometime around 1820.

In 1897 the company relocates to a new purpose built premises in Rose Road, Harborne, a district of Birmingham, a mere 3 miles from the city centre close to the Chad Brook and adjacent to a branch-line railway.

Dating to around the 1920′s is this Chad Valley GWR railway racing board game.

An attractively illustrated board showing a map of Great Western railway tracks covering the West Country and Wales.

Without doubt the table top horse racing game of Escalado was one of those iconic games produced by Chad Valley.

Fortunately for Chad Valley the dolls proved an instant hit, selling in large numbers not only at home but right across the then British Empire and so for the next fourteen years all Chad Valley toys carried the words ‘Toymakers to H. The Second World War resulted in production of toys being dramatically cut as the Chad Valley factories concentrated their output to the war effort with government contracts for the production of such items as wooden instrument cases and cases for use in anti-aircraft guns, hospital tables and tent poles, auto-pilots and charts.

However one factory was retained by the government for toy manufacture, specialising in the production of jigsaws, chess sets, draughts and dominoes for use in military hospitals and the Forces generally.

It was this attention to detail which set them apart from the competition but they were not cheap, typically selling for somewhere between 5/- and 30/- which would equate to around £20 – £100 in todays money.

In 1938 Chad Valley were granted the prestigeous Royal Warrant of Appointment – ‘Toymakers to Her Majesty the Queen’, a relatively rare honour for a toy maker at this time. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’ when Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne in 1952.

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