North Devon in 100 Objects 74

74. Peggy Lines’ Coronation Coach

The little coach is the star piece of the Peggy Lines model collection.  It is a replica of the royal family’s Gold State Coach, made by the celebrated toymaking company W. Britain, founded in 1893 and still trading today. 

Henrietta (Peggy) Lines (1925-2011) was the daughter of Walter Lines, one of the three Lines brothers who founded the hugely successful toy manufacturing family which traded as Tri-ang Toys (three lines forming a triangle).  The business manufactured an array of popular items including doll’s houses, railway sets, model cars, lorries and boats.  At their peak in the 1940s, they owned toy companies worldwide including Hornby, Meccano and Dinky and claimed to be the world’s largest toy manufacturer.

Peggy originally pursued a career in teaching until her father Walter convinced her to become Chairman of their recently acquired flagship store Hamleys in London. During her successful career there Peggy designed the little red men with the black hats which went onto become the official logo for the store. 

Peggy retired to Instow in North Devon in 1976. Her parting gift from Hamleys was a collection of over 400 hand-painted lead models which had previously been used in Hamleys’ shop window. They include historical figures, dozens of commonwealth soldier regiments, and this beautiful model of a coach.  On the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 tens of thousands of spectators on London’s Regent Street would have seen this very coach glittering in the window of the world’s oldest toy shop. 

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