Lincolnshire county councillor defends selling Golliwogs in museum

Councillor Paula Cooper.
Councillor Paula Cooper.

A Lincolnshire county councillor has defended selling Golliwog dolls in her museum following a social media backlash.

Conservative councillor Paula Cooper, who represents Boston West on the authority, said the dolls were “reflective of the time” and that she had only received one complaint about them.

Councillor Cooper, who runs the Bubblecar Museum in the town, said she displayed and sold the dolls to reflect the 1950s.

But, the county councillor received a backlash following an interview with the BBC on Brexit and nationalism.

Some social media users said the dolls were “racist”.

Coun Cooper said she had received “one complaint” about the dolls, known as Gollies, and that she “had no intention” of changing the display or to stop selling them because of that.

“It was what happened then,” she said.

“It is what our museum displays and there has been one person that has objected to them.

“That really is all there is to it. It is nostalgic and it is not meant in any other way.”

She added that the doll is often popular with customers who recall owning one in the past and they were “a small part” of the museum.

Councillor Cooper has run the museum for more than a decade and displays other toys and games from the era.

Gollies first appeared in children’s books in the late 19th century and became seen as a suitable soft toy for boys following the Second World War.

However, changing political attitudes have seen the dolls subject to controversy and described as “racist” and a “racial caricature”.