The Pedigree Sindy doll was officially introduced to little girls on Sunday 6th of September 1963 at 6pm with a 30 second TV commercial in the London area. She was the first UK toy ever to be advertised on television. The advert with its catchy jingle was shown a further 25 times up to Christmas day, when her first eight outfits and eight separates were also screened. Her first outfits were inspired by 1960s fashion designers such as Tuffin and Foale, and her clothes reflected the teenage fashions of the day. She was an instant success and Pedigree had to work all possible shifts to keep up with the demand. By the end of the year their factory had produced over 40,000 dolls and all the accompanying outfits, some say as many as 200,000 products in just three months.
Her blonde, brunette or auburn (red) bubble hair cut was, according to a Daily Mail article published in 1964, created by Michael of John of Knightsbridge. She was Britain's answer to America's much more glamorous (and some would say brash) Barbie. She was sold in her famous 'Weekenders' outfit of a red white and blue matelot top, flared jeans and sneakers. She was the 'girl next door' with her wholesome English rose looks, sensible size 10 figure (her measurements would be 33-24-34) and range of fashions and accessories. She quickly became Britain's best selling doll and was awarded 'Girls Toy of the Year' in 1968 and 1970.
Over the next 20 years Sindy and her outfits and accessories reflected the fashions and lifestyle that every little girl wanted. Her clothes were detailed replicas of the fashions of the time and were made from the same material. Sindy wore mini skirts, maxi dresses, hot pants, pedal pushers and gypsy dresses. She carried hats, handbags, scarves and umbrellas. Her clothes were made from cotton, wool, nylon, crimplene, tweed, lycra and lurex. Sindy had an outfit for every occasion, work wear as a nurse or an air hostess, formal gowns for dances and parties, and everyday casual wear.
She was given a huge number of "scenesetter" items including:
- her own horse with stables, horse boxes and horse care kits
- cars from her 60s open top MG to her 70s beach buggy and 80s Land Rover
- comfortable bedroom furniture, smart kitchen units and with wall ovens and eye-level grills, bathrooms mirroring the fashion for coloured suites (Sindy's 70s bathroom was a garish amber-yellow and brown), lounge and dinning room furniture, wall units, hostess trolleys and comfy sofas all reflecting the tastes of the time
- her four storey townhouse – the iconic Sindy Superhome.
Everything was faithfully reproduced in miniature with appropriate additional accessories like horse blankets, brushes, combs, pots and pans, crockery, cutlery, pillows and quilts.
By the middle of the 1980s Pedigree was finding it hard to cope with the competition particularly from abroad and with the drift away from traditional toys to the newer electronic games. Despite their best efforts with new designer outfits designed by the Emanuels (who designed Princess Di's wedding dress) and intricate and beautiful accessories and scenesetters, even a remodelled and relaunched 'new look' Sindy, Pedigree lost its grip on the market.
In 1986 it sold the rights to Sindy to the American toy giant Hasbro Inc. Hasbro remodelled the doll to look more American. But as Mattel's Barbie continued to grow in popularity and enjoy continuing market growth, Sindy's declined which eventually led to her being delisted from major retailers in 1997 and Hasbro returning the doll's licence to Pedigree.
This museum shows our research into Pedigree's much loved doll from 1963 to 1985 and the outfits that were available for her. We do hope you enjoy it. If you think we have got something wrong, please let us know and we will put it right.