This post should really be called “A beautiful story” or “The big challenge” because
it really wasn’t just an over 100 year old Steiff Bear restoration…

Steiff Button in the ear

“Button in the ear”

The story begun in August 2014 at our local Taste of Cavan event. We were holding a Build Your Bear workshop when Carmel arrived with a large bag holding a huge teddy bear that belonged to Richard, a relative of hers, living in London. Looking at the head, peeping out of the bag, you could just but imagining what beautiful colour of reddish brown this mohair bear once has been. But his face made a big impression on me. He looked as sweet as he would have been looking over 100 years ago and yes he was able to proof it “He was a real Steiff Bear”!!!

I took him out of the bag and put him carefully on the table. Everyone around us had a good look at him. It is not every day that you meet such a beautiful and legendary old bear. The question was put to me “What can you do with him?”

At first I didn’t answer but my thoughts were…“I cant do anything with him” because I was to afraid to touch him, worried that he would fall apart under my hands. For the past years we never had turned anyone away but I could see that this bear was more than just a challenge.
After we all had admired Mr Steiff Bear I suggested to put this poor fellow into a freezer for a while. My thought on this was “whatever is killing the material from the inside will be killed by the cold temperature”.

This is really where the story should have ended, but it didn’t.
It really started at the 10th of April 2015 when Richard arrived at Bear Essentials Teddy Bear Shop with something very familiar looking. Richard & Rose greeted me with the question “Has he been long enough in the freezer”.Richards 100 year old Steiff Both of them were over from London visiting relations and wanted to make another attempt to see if this bear could be restored. My initial reaction again was “no no no – he can not!” But than my inner voice reminded me that I always told my children that there isn’t such a world as “cannot”.

What really made me change my mind was a photograph Richard & Rose brought with them showing his aunt with Mr Steiff Bear around 1913.
The first ever Steiff Bear was produced in 1902.

And this is Richards which is also Mr Steiff Teds story.

Richard explained: “This is the bear with my paternal Aunt Nora (born 3rd May 1906). Her family were musicians and surgeons and she herself was a talented pianist. This photo would have been taken in approx 1913. It is assumed that Nora’s family were wealthy enough to purchase a Steiff bear and have this professional photograph taken.
The bear survived the blitz in London despite having to move house during the war. At that point he was near Clapham Junction which was being heavily bombed as it was the busiest railway junction in the world and at that time was essential to the movement of troops and supplies. Old Bear imageTeddy moved with the family to a house 2 miles further out but on the day of the move they had to climb over rubble of a house in their new road. If Teddy had moved a day earlier, he may not have survived!
Nora died in London on 19th April 1996 and willed the bear to me, her eldest nephew. The bear now lives at my home which is just 7 miles from Nora’s last home in Wandsworth, South West London”.

Now you know why I couldn’t say no to this precious Mr Steiff Bear, but he became quite a challenge and a rather long project…

 

 

We like to thank Richard to trust us with his bear and also for all the memories he shared with us.
May Mr Ted live for at least another 100 years…

Enjoy the picture journey…

About Bear Essentials :

We are proud to be Margarete Steiff partners in Ireland. We also design and make our own limited edition collectible Irish Teddy bears here at our Silver Bear Centre in rural West Cavan. To view all our Steiff Bears in stock at the moment click here…

Like to see Bear Essentials Unique Irish Made Products…