Jennifer Waite has fond memories of working in the Pelham Puppet factory in the late 1950’s. She told marlborough.news : “I enjoyed the friendship and how everyone worked together. It was like a big family. It was such a happy place to work.”
She worked mainly with the mini-pups (mini puppet range) of Wags the dog, poodles, parrots and various other birds and animals. She remembers Johnny Morris from BBC’s Animal Magic visiting the factory.
Jennifer’s job was to construct the puppets using little screws, hooking the bodies together with pliers. All the puppet faces were hand painted. Once the bodies were complete they moved to the room for stringing and then to the sewing room for costumes.
Some puppets, particularly the eight foot high ones, were made for display. Jennifer worked with owner Bob Pelham to construct one such puppet whose destination was Hamleys, London.
“Bob would visit the factory nearly every day, talking to everyone. He was like a God to everyone who worked there.”
Jennifer says he was generous to his staff and gave away the puppet seconds. “My children had hours of fun playing with a load of them.”
Once Jennifer had small children at home she stopped working in the factory and became one of the many Pelham homeworkers.